For Immediate Release: January 11, 2022
JACKSON, Miss. – The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) announces that Mississippi high school students Emily Adcock and Vaibhavi Mahajan will join Sen. Roger F. Wicker and Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith in representing Mississippi during the 60th annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 6-9.
Emily Adcock of Madison and Vaibhavi Mahajan of Brandon were selected from among the state’s top student leaders to be part of the 104 national student delegation who will each also receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the 2022 program will be held online, through a comprehensive and highly interactive virtual education and leadership forum.
The USSYP was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962 and has been sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundations since inception. Originally proposed by Senators Kuchel, Mansfield, Dirksen and Humphrey, the Senate leadership of the day, the impetus for the program as stated in Senate testimony is “to increase young Americans’ understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government, learn the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and emphasize the vital importance of democratic decision making not only for America but for people around the world.”
Each year this extremely competitive merit-based program provides the most outstanding high school students – two from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity – with an intensive week-long study of the federal government and the people who lead it. The overall mission of the program is to help instill within each class of USSYP student delegates more profound knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service. In addition to the program week, The Hearst Foundations provide each student with a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs. All expenses for Washington Week are also provided by The Hearst Foundations; as stipulated in S.Res.324, no government funds are utilized.
Emily, a senior at Madison Central High School, serves as the secretary of the Beta Club. She is a National Merit semifinalist, the Color Guard captain for her high school marching band and a delegate for the Mississippi Youth Legislature. An alumna of the Hugh O’Brian World Leadership Congress, she also sits on Madison City’s Youth Council. At Madison Central, she is president of the Jag Buddies Club and a member of the National Honor Society, Women’s Empowerment Club, Advocates for Change and the Symphonic Band. Her community service consists of projects through her church, Beta Club, National Honor Society and Jag Buddies. Emily plans to major in public health with minors in English and public policy, ultimately hoping to study law and craft health care policy.
Vaibhavi, a senior at Northwest Rankin High School, has served as class co-president for all four years in Student Government. Additionally, she serves as president of Beta Club, National English Honor Society and Model UN. She is vice president of the National Honor Society and DECA, an organization focused on entrepreneurship, and serves in many other organizations in school. She is a Mississippi Children’s Museum volunteer and established a free student-led ACT workshop for her school. She is a National Merit semifinalist and has been designated an Amazing Teen by the Jackson Free Press. This past summer she was elected Secretary of State at Magnolia Girls State and was chosen as one of the two Mississippi senators to Girls Nation. Vaibhavi plans to attend Georgetown University to study international affairs, which will prepare her to serve as an ambassador for the United States, and one day Secretary of State.
Chosen as alternates to the 2022 program were Amy Qingqing Zhang, a resident of Starkville who attends Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science and Albert Bentley Curry, a resident of Brandon, who attends Northwest Rankin High School. Amy is also the current senior student representative to the State Board of Education.
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. The chief state school officer for each jurisdiction confirms the final selection. This year’s Mississippi delegates and alternates were designated by Carey M. Wright, state superintendent of education.
During the program week, the student delegates will attend online meetings and briefings with senators, the president, a justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, among others. In addition to outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to volunteer work, the student delegates rank academically in the top one percent of their states among high school juniors and seniors.
For more information visit: www.ussenateyouth.org.
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