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U.S. Senate Youth Program


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About the Program

The state of Iowa has accepted an invitation to participate in the U.S. Senate Youth Program (USSYP), sponsored by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. The program is designed to give young Americans a working knowledge of American political life.

Each year two Iowa students have the opportunity to spend a week in Washington, D.C. The William Randolph Hearst Foundation pays all expenses. In addition, the two Iowa high school representatives each receive a $10,000 scholarship.

Selection of the two Iowa high school representatives is based on the outstanding ability and demonstrated leadership qualities of elected junior and senior high school officers.

Visit for general program information.


James Meng, Senator Joni Ernst and Kevin Drahos
Photo credit: Jakub Mosur and Erin Lubin

Iowa Students Selected for United States Senate Youth Program

The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) announces that high school students Mr. Kevin Matthew Drahos and Mr. James Meng will join Senator Charles Grassley and Senator Joni K. Ernst in representing Iowa in the nation’s capital during the 57th annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 2-9, 2019. Kevin Drahos of Marion and James Meng of West Des Moines were selected from among the state’s top student leaders to be part of the 104 national student delegation who will also each receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study. View full press release.

Application Information

  • The USSYP Brochure outlines eligibility requirements for participating in the United States Senate Youth Program. Read the brochure thoroughly BEFORE submitting an application.
  • To qualify:
    • Students must be a junior or senior
    • Students must hold a leadership position in any one of the following student government, civic or educational organizations during the 2019-2020 school year:
      • Student body president, vice-president, secretary or treasurer
      • Class president, vice president, secretary or treasurer
      • Student council representative
      • A National Honor Society representative (including discipline-based Honor Societies such as the National English and Social Studies Honor Societies that include service components.)
      • Student representative elected or appointed (appointed by a panel, commission or board) to a local, district, regional or state-level civic, service and/or educational organization approved by the state selected administer.
    • Students must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents at the time of application and a resident of Iowa.
  • Timeline:
    • October 1, 2019 by 4 pm: Applications due 
    • October 2-25, 2019: Screening of applications
    • Week of October 28, 2019: Top four applications will be notified
    • November 13, 2019: Top four applicants come to Des Moines for an in-person interview and civic exam
    • Week of November 25, 2019: Names of two delegates and two alternates submitted to the Hearst Foundation
    • Mid-December: Notification of delegates and alternates

Application Materials

  • Principal Certification Letter - Have your principal sign this form PRIOR to starting the application process.
  • Recommendation Letter - You must submit a recommendation letter from a teacher, your principal, a community member, etc. specifically addressing why you would be a good candidate for this program. Have this recommendation letter ready to submit PRIOR to starting the application.
  • USSYP Application - The USSYP application includes seven sections: demographic information, school information, eligibility, student leadership profile, student leadership essay, a content essay and a confirmation page. Please make sure to set aside enough time to complete the application in one setting.


Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on October 18, 2019 at 10:28am.