Alaska Students Selected for United States Senate Youth Program

Washington D.C. -- U.S. Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski today announced that two high school students -- Haley Nelson of Juneau and Anum Qadir of Anchorage -- have been selected as delegates to the 48th Annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) to be held March 6-13, 2010, in Washington, D.C.

Nelson and Qadir were chosen from hundreds of applicants to be part of the group of 104 student delegates who will attend the week in Washington. In addition, both will receive a $5,000 undergraduate scholarship from the Hearst Foundation with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs.

"Alaska will be proudly represented at this prestigious student leadership conference with Haley and Anum as our representatives, said Sen. Begich, a member of the USSYP 2010 Senate Advisory Committee. "It's incredible to see such high achievement and commitment to public service in so many young people."

"I am pleased to congratulate Haley and Anum on being selected to represent Alaska in this outstanding youth leadership program," said Sen. Murkowski. "Haley and Anum will have the opportunity to learn about the foundations of our government while also meeting other student leaders from across the country."

Haley Nelson is Student Body President at Juneau-Douglas High School. She is an accomplished musician, a College Board AP Scholar and an exceptional community leader. Nelson has served as the Alaska Association of Student Government Parliamentarian, student liaison to the Juneau School Board's "Next Generation" committee, and co-founder of the "Youth Action Committee," which has distributed $34,000 to address issues affecting teens such as homelessness, vocational training and gun safety.

Anum Qadir is Student Body President at South Anchorage High School. She uses her leadership positions to organize community service projects including blood drives, clothing and canned food collections and fundraisers. Qadir has also led a school-wide anti-alcohol campaign and served on the Mayor's Youth Advisory Commission as well as her school district's Student Advisory Board, which helped implement recycling programs at Anchorage's high schools.

Chosen as alternates to the 2010 program were Ariel Zlatkovski, who attends Eagle River High School and Maya Johnson, a student at Kenai Central High School. The chief educational officer in each state selects the delegates after nomination by teachers and principals. This year's delegates were designated by Larry LeDoux, Alaska Commissioner of Education.

While in Washington the student delegates will attend meetings and briefings with Senate leadership, other Senators and Congressional staff, the President, a Justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, an Ambassador to the United States and top members of the national media.

The USSYP is a competitive merit-based program that brings 104 of the most outstanding high school students - two from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity - to Washington, D.C., for 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 student delegates a more profound knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service.

The USSYP was created in 1962 and has been sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundations since inception. The impetus for the program, as stated in Senate testimony, was "to increase young Americans' understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government, the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and the vital importance of democratic decision making not only for America but for people around the world."

Information on the USSYP can be found on the web at http://ussenateyouth.org.

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