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What is the United States Senate Youth  Program?

The United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution in 1962 creating the United States Senate Youth Program, a national initiative to provide a yearly opportunity for talented young people with demonstrated leadership abilities to deepen their understanding of America’s political processes and strengthen their resolve to pursue careers in public service.


The United States Senate Youth Program brings the highest-level officials from each branch of government together with an outstanding group of high-school students—two high school juniors or seniors from each of the fifty states, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity—during an intensive week-long educational program held in Washington, D.C. In addition, each student receives a one-time $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to pursue coursework in history and political science.


Congratulations to the 2023 Pennsylvania Recipients

Aditi Mangal, Spring-Ford Area HS

Claire Chi, State College Area HS

Photo: Senator Robert Casey with delegates Aditi Mangel and Claire Chi

At her school, Aditi is a student representative on the school board, editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, an officer of the debate team, a member of the orchestra ensemble, and a district ambassador. She is an AP Scholar with Distinction and was a Lockheed Martin Cybersecurity Competition Finalist, a Rotary District Speech Competition Finalist, and has received the Gold Presidential Volunteer Award. Outside of school, Aditi is a CSO (Chief Science Officer) through the SciTech Institute, has completed an internship with Pennsylvania State Senator Katie Muth, and is also a second-degree black belt and an assistant instructor at her martial arts school. Aditi has created her own 501(c)3, InstantSmile, that provides tutoring services and during the Covid-19 pandemic, helped collect laptops for students so they could continue their education. She has also volunteered in her community with the Red Cross and other organizations. Aditi plans on majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Philosophy, with the goal of going to law school. She hopes to leave a legacy for other students through participating in the Senate Youth Program.

Claire serves on the Executive Board of the Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils (PASC) as one of two student representatives on the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, and is co-director of the Students for Education in Pennsylvania (SEPA) Committee, which helps connect over 100 students across Pennsylvania to education policy makers. At her school, she is President of the Yoga Club, a member of the Leadership Council, Captain for the Public Forum Debate Team, and previously served on the Student Problem Identification & Resolution of Issues Together (School SPIRIT) Program through the US Department of Justice. She has served as a Research Assistant at Utah State University, as an intern with the Smithsonian Institute, and has presented a workshop at the American Anthropological Association. Claire also founded her own 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Dancing Against Hunger, combining dance instruction with collecting food donations. She has also taught dance classes and served as a teaching assistant in Algebra for Spanish speaking students. Claire has received the American Association of University Women Merit Scholarship, the Junior Anthropologist Award of the American Anthropological Association, and was a top ten speaker at the National Symposium for Debate Tournament. She hopes to use Anthropology to pursue a path in education and public policy. Her goal is to help eradicate food insecurity for students, a cause she has presented a TEDx Talk on.

You can read more about Aditi and Claire's experience, along with all of the other delegates, at the US Senate Youth Leadership site

Eligibility and Process

In Pennsylvania, PASC is charged by the Hearst Foundation to administer the program, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). 

The US Senate Youth Program is merit based and highly competitive. The following requirements must be adhered to:

  1. Each school may only nominate one student per year. If more than one student is nominated from a school, none of those students will be considered for the program.

    • Each school determines its own process and procedures for nominating their student. 

    • Students are encouraged to speak to their school principal for more information regarding their school's nomination and selection process. ​

  2. Students must be in their junior or senior year of high school to apply for the program.

  3. Students must be full-time residents of Pennsylvania. 

  4. The student must be serving in an elected or appointed position in a civic based organization in the school or community, demonstrating they are actively representing a constituency in organizations related to student government, education, public affairs and community service. The primary purposes of the qualifying leadership position must be representation of a constituency and service to others.

    • Examples of this include:

      • Serving as a class officer

      • An officer in Student Council

      • An officer in an Honor Society (such as National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, etc.)

      • JROTC students who hold officer-level leadership positions within their cadet corps (such as Cadet Corps Commanders)

      • A 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 selection administrator, where the student holds a high-level position of representation to a constituency in a year-round capacity providing service to others. Examples of this include a student representative on their school board or town council, etc.​ 

    • Participation or holding an officer position in academic clubs and/or educational competition programs/conferences or organizations designed primarily for the student’s personal development and enrichment DO NOT qualify. Other examples of organizations that DO NOT qualify as acceptable include

      • Attendance or officer position at Boys/Girls Nation or State summer conference

      • A member (not officer) of an Honor Society or JROTC

      • A member or leader of the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or a sports team

      • A founder or chairperson of a self-created group

      • A participant, captain or officer in Mock Trial, Forensics/Debate Team, Model U.N. or other academic club, mock legislature, conference or competition where the primary engagement is for the individual educational enrichment or benefit.

    • Students who cannot demonstrate holding an officer position in an acceptable organization will not be considered for this program. 

  5. The student nominated must be a United States Citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States.

  6. The student must be able to travel to Harrisburg on Saturday, November 18, at their own expense, to interview if they are selected as a finalist. 

  7. The student, if selected for this program, must be able to attend the week in Washington (March 2-9, 2024) in its entirety (transportation and all other expenses paid for by the Hearst Foundation). More information can be found at

These requirements are set by the Hearst Foundation and cannot be modified or waived. If you have any questions, you are encouraged to contact Pennsylvania US Senate Youth Program Coordinator Felix Yerace at before applying. 

How to Apply

Below is the link to the application, as well as the application template and Instructions for Recommenders.

Before you begin:

1. Verify that you are eligible to apply based on the information above.

2. Verify with your principal you are the only nominee from your school.

3. Download the Application Template. It will contain all of the information you need to gather before you start your application. Your application must be completed in one seating.

4. Download the "Instructions for Recommenders" and give this to your two  recommenders.

  • Your principal or counselor

  • Your activity advisor

Your letter of recommendation is an important part of your application, and this will help the individuals writing your letter know what we are looking for in your letter. 

5. Complete the application and submit it at the below link by 11:59 PM on Friday, October 6.

6. Verify that all of your documents are submitted no later than Friday, October 6. 

The deadline to apply for 2023 is Friday, October 6. The application will open in the summer of 2023. 

USSYP 2023 Stacked Logo.jpg

More Information

If you have questions, please contact:

Dr. Felix Yerace

Pennsylvania Coordinator

United States Senate Youth Program

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