Oklahoma City, OK – Two Oklahoma high school seniors have been named state delegates for the 61st annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) held each year in Washington D.C.
The USSYP, established in 1962 by U.S. Senate Resolution, is an intensive week-long educational experience and scholarship sponsored by the United States Senate for outstanding high school students interested in pursuing careers in public service. The mission of the USSYP is to provide a yearly opportunity for selected students to gain an in-depth view of the Senate and the federal government overall as well as a deeper understanding of the interrelationship of the legislative, judicial and executive branches.
Two high school juniors or seniors are selected annually from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity to serve as delegates to Washington Week. The program week takes place in early March each year. The 104 student delegates also receive a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue their studies in government and history.
Oklahoma’s 2023 USSYP delegates are Tuqa Alibadi from Norman North High School and Raven Owens from Edmond Santa Fe High School. Alternates are Gulnessa Asif from Deer Creek High School and Raymond Lynn Jiang from Jenks High School.
“Students chosen to participate in this extremely prestigious educational opportunity are exemplary, the brightest stars and America’s future leaders,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said. “We are so proud of Tuqa and Raven for their amazing accomplishments in the classroom and in their communities and have no doubt they will represent Oklahoma well on the national stage now and in the years to come.”
Tuqa Alibadi is senior class president at Norman North. She is a member of the National Honor Society, active in speech and debate, a math tutor, tennis player, a competitive debate coach for middle school students and vice president of the Feminism Club. Alibadi has been involved in student council for all four years of high school and in leadership of the Oklahoma High School Young Democrats. She plans to study global affairs with a minor in political science and attend law school.
Raven Owens is an at-large representative on Mayor David Holt’s Youth Council of Oklahoma City. She is the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) school chapter president and Oklahoma State DECA vice president for leadership. Owens is a member of the student council, national honor society and a Renaissance Scholar. She is also a Blue Future and Grassroots Democracy Headquarters Youth Organizer and Civics Unplugged fellow. Owens is a recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award and The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation Scholarship. She plans to study sociology and human rights, and then attend law school.
During Washington Week, student delegates will meet with the president, Senate co-chairs and other leaders including the Senate parliamentarian and historian, as well as a Supreme Court justice, officials from the Departments of State and Defense and other executive agencies, a foreign ambassador to the U.S. and senior members of the media.
The program’s distinguished alumni include U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg; U.S. Senator Susan Collins from Maine; Karl Rove, former chief of staff to President George W. Bush; and former Judge Robert Henry, U.S. Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit.
Learn more about the United States Senate Youth Program at ussenateyouth.org.