Iowa students selected for U.S. Senate Youth Program
Two Iowa students have been selected as delegates to the 55th annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) that will be held March 4- 11 in Washington, D.C.
Michael Moonjely of Coralville and Anuja Pharasi of Fairfield were chosen from across the state to be part of the group of 104 student delegates who will attend the program’s Washington Week.
Chosen as alternates to the 2017 program were Patrick McMonagle, a resident of Davenport, who attends Pleasant Valley High School and Zachary Mass, a resident of Malvern, who attends Treynor High School.
Delegates and alternates are selected by the state departments of education nationwide and the District of Columbia and Department of Defense Education Activity, after nomination by teachers and principals. This year’s Iowa delegates and alternates were designated by Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise.
Moonjely attends Iowa City West High School and serves as the Student Body president. He is also a school board representative, an editor on his school's newspaper, and a member of his school's varsity tennis team. He has served as an intern for Congressman Dave Loebsack, holds state titles in Business Professionals of America, and is an instructor at Mathnasium Learning Center. Moonjely is an AP Scholar, a member of the National Honor Society, and a contributor to the High School Insider division of the Los Angeles Times.
Anuja Pharasi attends Fairfield High School and serves as a Student Council representative. She currently serves in the Iowa Youth Congress, is a student representative on the Fairfield Community School District School Board, and spends her time volunteering at a local food pantry. She is also involved in cross country, band, the Future Business Leaders of America, and various political campaigns. She is a Girls State and Girls Nation alumna, a National Honor Society member, and a three-time All State Chorus member. Pharasi plans to pursue economics and political science in the future.
In addition to outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to volunteer work, the student delegates rank academically in the top 1 percent of their states among high school juniors and seniors.
While in Washington the student delegates attend meetings and briefings with senators, members of the House of Representatives, Congressional staff, the president, a justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, an ambassador to the United States and senior members of the national media. The students will also tour many of the national monuments and several museums and they will stay at the historic Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.
The USSYP was created in 1962 and has been sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundations since inception. The program is designed to increase students’ understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government.