HU Grad Abenicio Baldonado Interns for NM Legislative Council Service
New Mexico Highlands University political science graduate Abenicio Baldonado is interning with the New Mexico Legislative Council Service. He is one of only two students chosen from six state universities for the highly competitive paid internship.
Baldonado, a 21-year-old Las Vegas N.M. native, started his six-month legislative internship in July. He earned his B.A. in political science with an emphasis in law spring semester 2011. He is applying to law schools for the 2012 academic year and hopes to one day serve New Mexico as a legislator.
At Highlands, Baldonado was named to the dean’s list and received an Academic Achievement Award in 2009. He was inducted into the National Scholars Honor Society in 2008 and listed in Who’s Who Among College and University Students from 2009 — 2011.
“Abenicio has proven to be a bright, hard-working member of our staff, handling complex and mundane tasks with equal ease and willingness,” said John Yaeger, assistant director for legislative affairs. “He has fit right in with the diverse, unique legislative working environment. We’re glad to have him with us this summer and fall.”
Baldonado was assigned to the Health and Human Services Committee, the Land Grant Committee, and the Economic and Rural Development Committee.
One policy project Baldonado is working on is researching and analyzing how block grants would affect Medicaid. He will present his report to the Health and Human Services Committee in October.
Baldonado said his education at Highlands prepared him for his legislative internship, and for applying to law school.
“All the political science professors at Highlands are awesome, very knowledgeable, accessible and supportive,” Baldonado said. “My legislative process course with Dr. Elaine Rodriguez was especially helpful for my internship because it gave me an inside view of how the legislative process works.”
Baldonado said he’s fortunate to be working at the legislature when there will be a special session for redistricting, something that only occurs every ten years.
“I’ll be on the floor of the house and the senate during the special session working as an historian,” Baldonado said. “It’s interesting, and such an honor, to be representing Highlands at the legislature.”
“Abenicio is a very disciplined student, and a critical thinker who can synthesize complex material,” Rodriguez said. “He demonstrates leadership skills with his fellow students in class projects without being overbearing or dominating. He’s a good, respectful listener who works to build consensus.”
Rodriquez, who has expertise in American and Latino politics, added, “I think Abenicio has great potential to eventually take on a leadership role in government as an elected official.”
Ron Garcia, director of Career Services at Highlands, advised Baldonado in preparing his application and resume for the legislative internship.
“Abenicio is an exceptional student who is very driven and focused on his goals,” Garcia said.
Outside the classroom, Baldonado was an active leader in the university’s Student Ambassadors Club. He also worked as an administrative aide in the Dean of Students Office and the Financial Aid Office.
While in college, Baldonado coached a Las Vegas little league all-star baseball team, requesting periodic academic progress reports from his player’s principals.
“I didn’t just coach higher-level baseball skills, I also really stressed the importance of team work and doing well in school,” said Baldonado, who played varsity baseball for the Robertson Cardinals.
Baldonado is the son of Abenicio and Susie Baldonado of Las Vegas.