The University of New Mexico is partnering with the National Hispanic Institute (NHI) to host the 2022 Lorenzo de Zavala (LDZ) Youth Legislative Session for New Mexico high school students.

This year’s event will host 150 top students in a weeklong leadership experience on the UNM campus June 12-19, 2022, and highlight the legacy of late Dionisio “Dennis” Chavez. The program is made possible with the help of special funding from the New Mexico Legislature, as requested by State Sen. Michael Padilla.


Chavez, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1931-1935 and in the U.S. Senate from 1935-1962, was the first Hispanic person elected to a full term in the Senate and the first senator to be born in New Mexico.

“Since 1982, NHI has presented more than 150 LDZ Youth Legislative Sessions throughout the U.S, Mexico and Latin America,” said Lawrence Roybal, associate vice chancellor for community initiatives at the UNM Health Sciences Center.

“NHI is a well-respected nonprofit organization with a 42-year history in youth leadership development and was selected through a statewide request-for-proposal process.”

The National Hispanic Institute’s LDZ experience presents an eight-day creative learning program for 10th and 11th grade college-bound students. It engages participants in active learning by having them play key leadership roles using a legislative format. 

Through NHI’s signature community equity-building approach, students form communities, develop constituencies and craft strategies to leverage strengths and capacities. Along the way, they gain valued personal and community identity.

 “The LDZ experience prompts a personal transformation whereby students feel competent, in control of their life direction, valued in the eyes of others and engaged in adding equity and worth to their community,” said Gloria de Leon, NHI co-founder and architect of the LDZ experience. “It nurtures young minds to engage in proactive solutions as a lifelong process”

New Mexico high school sophomores and juniors with an 88/100 or 3.2/4.0 grade point average enrolled in a college-bound curriculum are encouraged to apply.  Selected students will be named Dennis Chavez Scholars and participate at no cost, other than transportation to and from UNM in Albuquerque, and a $25 application processing fee.

Students are encouraged to promptly submit their online application to the National Hispanic Institute Dionisio “Dennis” Chavez New Mexico LDZ. The first round of admissions will be accepted beginning Jan. 21, 2022, and conclude once the program has reached capacity in mid-March.

Co-sponsors of the program include ENLACE New Mexico, UNM El Centro de la Raza and the UNM Health Sciences Office for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

For additional information or resources, contact Gloria de Leon at gdl@nhimail.com512-587-3465, or the NHI offices at 512-357-6137.

NHI collaboration