Governor Selects Engineering Student As New Regent

SOCORRO, N.M. January 16, 2013 – Gov. Susana Martinez has selected Israel Rodriguez-Rios of Santa Fe to be the next student regent at New Mexico Tech.

Rodriguez-Rios is a junior studying mechanical engineering. He was selected from a short list of candidates provided to the Governor by New Mexico Tech administrators based on interviews in Socorro.


Israel Rodriguez-Rios of Santa Fe will be the new student regent at New Mexico Tech.


“I was definitely excited to be selected as the next student regent,” Rodriguez-Rios said. “My dad has always pushed me to be involved and voice my opinion. He’s always wanted me to show that higher education is a priority and to get involved.”

His father, Sergio Rodriguez, has run for the state Board of Education in the past and has encouraged Israel to do the same.

Others who encouraged him to apply were Sohaib Soliman, the president of the Student Government Association, and Dr. Robert Lee, director of the Petroleum Recovery Research Center.

Rodriguez-Rios currently works at NRAO where he models and documents different components for the Expanded Very Large Array.

He is also the system engineer for his Junior Design Clinic team in the Mechanical Engineering Department. He wrote that his experience on that team has given him experience in managing, communicating and decision-making that will help him serve as Student Regent.

A graduate of St. Michael’s High School, Rodriguez-Rios, he wrote in his letter of application, “Growing up in Santa Fe has made me realize that government makes decisions that impact everyone’s life; as a result I want to have a chance of making these decisions.”

University President Dr. Daniel H. Lopez said he was very pleased with all the candidates and that Rodriguez-Rios was one of several excellent students interested in the position.

“I feel very comfortable that Mr. Rodriguez-Rios will be an asset in lending a voice to the student body and balancing that against the overall needs of the university,” Lopez said. “New Mexico Tech students – and Mr. Rodriguez-Rios – tend to be mature and deliberate thinkers. I expect a positive contribution on behalf of the student body and the institution.”

Lopez said he has always been impressed with the student regents at New Mexico Tech over the years. Rodriguez-Rios will officially assume the post after the New Mexico House and Senate confirm his nomination, which usually takes place while the legislature is in session (from mid-January to mid-March this year).

Rodriguez-Rios will replace Omar Soliman, whose term expired December 31. Soliman will remain a voting member of the board until the legislature confirms the new appointment.

The board meets February 5 in Santa Fe and March 28 in Socorro.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech