Graduation ceremonies were held April 4, 2008 at Route 66 Casino Hotel for 15 employees who completed all requirements of the New Mexico State University Hospitality Internship Program. The Hospitality Internship Program is a pilot program with New Mexico State University, providing Laguna employees the education and tools to advance into management positions. The program is the first program of its kind to be offered within the state of New Mexico.

The program consists of five classes: Introduction to Hospitality, Hospitality & Travel Marketing, Restaurant & Operations Management, Professional Front Office Management and Introduction to Tourism. Each class was offered on-line and was worth 3 credit hours. Classes were taught by Dr. Daren Bloomquist, a New Mexico State University Professor who traveled from Las Cruces to Route 66 Casino Hotel every other weekend to lecture and visit, one-on-one, with students. In addition to weekly chapter readings, students were required to take several quizzes and exams plus, complete a project at the end of each class designed to give students an opportunity to apply what they had learned to “real life” situations or scenarios.

Program Graduate Evan Riley comments on the program, “I’m extremely grateful to LDC for selecting me to be a part of this program. The information I obtained will not only help me in my current job but will open a doorway to a lifetime of personal satisfaction.”

To ensure students success a Computer Lab was established, equipped with laptops, to assist students with their lectures and exams. Laguna Development Corporation provided textbooks as well USB memory devices so the students could record the professor’s lectures and replay them, at home, at a later date.

The program launched October 23rd, 2006 in support of LDC’s mission to pursue opportunities that will improve and strengthen the Laguna community and its economy. Now that these students have received their certification in Hospitality they have the opportunity to continue the program and complete their B.S. Degree in business or hospitality.

Graduation attendees included New Mexico State University dignitaries Dr. Michael V. Martin, President of new Mexico State University; Dr. Janet Green, Director of NMSU School of Hotel, restaurant and Tourism Management; Mr. Daren Bloomquist, Assistant Professor, School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism, and Mrs. Judy Story, Administrative Assistant, School of Hotel, restaurant and Tourism.

The Laguna Development Board of Directors was represented by Mrs. Margaret Cerno and the Pueblo of Laguna was represented by First Lieutenant, Mr. Richard Luarkie. Also in attendance were members of the Senior Leadership Team of Laguna Development Corporation.

Laguna Development Corporation and New Mexico State University Partnership for Success Graduation Ceremony

Hospitality Internship Graduates included:

  • Cathy Analla, Manager Route 66 Pit Stop
  • Ramona Analla, Manager Route 66 Johnny Rockets Restaurant
  • Shelley Bruce, Route 66 Sales & Conference Coordinator
  • Nicholas Cheromiah, Safety Manager Casa Blanca
  • Tanya Douma, Human Resources Specialist
  • Chris Encino, Dancing Eagle Cage Shift Supervisor
  • Anissa Jose, Route 66 Hotel Front Desk Manager
  • Stephanie Kowice, Dancing Eagle Cage Manager
  • Ronald Hinshaw, Route 66 Table Games Shift Manager
  • Nathan Lucero, Route 66 Hotel Housekeeping Manager
  • Valentina Martinez, Accounting Manager
  • Alden Pedro, Dancing Eagle Slots Supervisor
  • Camille Riley, Route 66 Hotel Central Services Manager
  • Evan Riley, Support Services Manager
  • Kim Thompson, Route 66 Slots Shift Manager

Laguna Development Corporation is extremely proud of the work these outstanding individuals have accomplished this past year and realize the sacrifices each person had to make in order to be successful. They are not only role models for the Pueblo of Laguna but a credit to the Laguna Develop Corporation.