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NMSU government student selected among MSNBC?s Women in Politics

New Mexico State University student Rylee Stenberg has been named one of MSNBC?s 2014 Women in Politics (College Edition).

Rylee Stenberg meets New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, a politician she said she greatly admires. (Courtesy photo)

NMSU student Rylee Stenberg (left) volunteers at a blood drive as president of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. (Courtesy photo)

A government major in NMSU?s College of Arts and Sciences, Stenberg is involved in numerous campus organizations. She served as president of NMSU?s chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and as a senator of the Associated Students of NMSU. She?s also a member of NMSU?s Model United Nations team.

?If you can find what you?re passionate about and pursue that to the fullest, that?s the most rewarding experience you can have in college,? she said.

MSNBC?s Women in Politics series recognizes ?promising women leaders in student government on college and university campuses across the country.? Stenberg was honored for ?making a difference not only through key issues on campus, but in bridging the gender gap in politics.?

Stenberg spent the past summer in Santa Fe interning for Think New Mexico, a nonpartisan think tank that works on healthcare and education policy and economic development. Stenberg?s focus was healthcare policy and food tax alternatives.

A Las Cruces native, Stenberg graduated from Logan High School in Quay County, New Mexico before returning to her hometown to attend NMSU. She started out as a biochemistry major before making the switch to government.

?I love chemistry and I love math, but I didn?t want to be stuck in a lab my whole life. I?m more extroverted than that,? she said. ?I love helping people and I thought I could really change people?s lives in government.?

Stenberg will graduate in May 2015 and plans to complete a master?s degree in business and attend law school.

Her lifelong goals include becoming a U.S. senator and opening her own law firm.

?I definitely want to come back to New Mexico and work on public policy,? she said. ?I?m interested in education because even though we are producing more high school grads, the quality is still suffering ? we still consistently perform at the bottom of the scale. I want to make sure lottery scholarship continues. I would like to see tax reform in our state.?

Stenberg cites politicians Condoleezza Rice and New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez as her role models, but she also named NMSU government professor Neil Harvey as being an important influence on her choices.

?He?s probably been the biggest influence on my college career,? she said. ?Not only did he consistently advise me, but he mentored me on immigration policy when I interned with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico. He?s definitely influenced my way of thinking and helped me grow.?

At this year?s Model United Nations Conference, Stenberg was recognized for her position paper and as outstanding delegate in her committee.

To view the MSNBC profile on Stenberg visit http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/women-politics-college-edition-new-mexico-state-university.