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Mississippi Students Selected for United States Senate Youth Program


For Immediate Release: Jan. 11, 2023

JACKSON, Miss. – The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) announces that high school students Joshua Emerson Bowman and Nadia Esmee Harden will join Sen. Roger F. Wicker and Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith in representing Mississippi during the 61st annual USSYP Washington Week to be held March 4 — 11.

Both Joshua and Nadia are of Brandon and are seniors at Northwest Rankin High School. They were selected from among the state’s top student leaders to be part of the 104 national student delegation. Each delegate will also receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study.

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.

Joshua serves as the Mu Alpha Theta (Mathematics High School Honor Society) president. Additionally, he serves as the chapter president of Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, the Student Government executive secretary, the National Honor Society vice president, and the Beta Club secretary. Joshua is a National Merit Semifinalist and leads the robotics team as team captain. He is an avid trombonist, serving as section leader in his school's Cougar Bands and a member of the Mississippi All-State Band on tenor trombone. Each year, Joshua arranges his school’s involvement in the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign, recycling program and canned food drive, and organizes STEM exposure events for elementary students in his school zone. Joshua plans to pursue a degree in chemical engineering, ultimately working in infrastructure or climate policy.

Nadia serves as the National French Honor Society president. She is a member of National Honor Society, National English Honor Society and serves as the Model United Nations president. Outside of school, Nadia is involved with her church and its service ministries, serving as the leader of the audio-visual team and as one of the overall youth leaders. She helps plan events in different programs and volunteers in her church’s monthly food program which serves 600 families. This past summer she participated in a six-week State Department program to study Korean language in Seoul, through the National Security Language Initiative for Youth scholarship. Nadia plans to pursue a career in the State Department as a diplomat and study international relations in college with a minor in foreign language and then earn a master’s degree in international development.

Chosen as alternates to the 2023 program were Ian Noah Underwood of Jackson who attends Jackson Preparatory School and Madelyn Sloan Berry of Brandon, who attends Northwest Rankin 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. The chief state school officer for each jurisdiction confirms the final selection.

During the program week, the student delegates will attend meetings and briefings with senators, the president, a justice of the Supreme Court, and leaders of cabinet agencies, among others.

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Jean Cook, APR
Chief of Communication

Shanderia Minor
Public Information Officer