New Mexico Diversity Partners
Due to our multiple use mission, the BLM-New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas organization partners with many entities to recruit new employees. In the past, we have used the Direct Hire Authority to bring on interns from the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, the American Conservation Experience, the Southern Utah University / Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative, the Geological Society of America, and the Student Conservation Association. In addition, we have also used the Veterans Recruitment Authority and Schedule A authority to hire persons with disabilities.
BLM's partnership with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Intern Program is an effort to attract new, talented employees to the Bureau. HACU was established in 1986 to champion Hispanic success in higher education. Beginning with 18 institutions, HACU is now present at more than 400 colleges and universities in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America, and Spain. The Carlsbad Field Office was proud to host five HACU interns with diverse interests this summer. "Having the HACU interns here was a great experience for the Field Office," said Carlsbad Field Manager George MacDonnell. "They brought a new sense of energy and enthusiasm to the office. Each of the interns was able to contribute to the office by taking on increasingly difficult workloads. The work that they performed far exceeded our expectations. Their positive attitudes were also a real morale boost for the rest of the staff." Although HACU member institutions in the U.S. represent only 10 percent of all higher education institutions nationwide, together they are home to more than two-thirds of all Hispanic college students. HACU is the only national educational association that represents Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs).
Carlsbad's five HACU interns included the following: Colleen Cepero Rios interned as a Natural Resource Specialist. She is a senior at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, majoring in Environmental Science and General Science Education for middle-school and high-school-aged students. After graduating, she is interested in completing a Master's degree in Environmental Policy and Management or Environmental Education. She believes the HACU Internship would help her acquire new knowledge, apply what she learns throughout her academic career, and gain life skills for her future. Aramis Mendez was an Intern in GIS. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Mendez is a student at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is pursuing a Bachelor's in Geography and Political Science. The internship allowed him to dive deeper into a discourse about land and natural resources and their impacts on the local and national economies. He hopes to engage these issues further to improve his own community. Theodore Bruni worked as a Realty Specialist. This native Chicagoan attends San Diego State University, majoring in English and minoring in Interdisciplinary Studies and International Security and Conflict Resolution. Upon graduation, he hopes to attend law school and focus on Environmental and Human Rights law. Ulises Vidaurri Romero worked as a Natural Resource Specialist. From Brownsville, Texas, Vidaurri is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry at the University of Texas-Pan American. His ultimate goal is to pursue a Master's degree in Chemical Engineering. He hopes to make natural resources more accessible while reducing environmental problems in the future. Fernando Baños, who worked as a Realty Specialist, is pursuing a dual major in Environmental Science and Geography at the California State University, San Bernardino. Prior to joining the BLM, Baños worked in Natural Resource Management with the U.S. Forest Service, youth development, and community empowerment. His long-term goal is to enroll in an Environmental Engineering program. According to Carlsbad Assistant Field Manager Jeanette Martinez, "They were a great group. They were motivated, enthusiastic, and eager to learn. We hope this program continues in the future. It is a great opportunity for them, and also for the BLM."