U.S. Senate Youth Program

The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP), established in 1962 by U.S. Senate Resolution, is a unique educational experience for outstanding high school students. Each year, two student leaders from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity spend a week in Washington, D.C., experiencing their national government in action. Student delegates hear major policy addresses by senators, cabinet members, officials from the Departments of State and Defense and directors of other federal agencies. Delegates also participate in a meeting with a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition, each delegate will be awarded a $10,000 college scholarship. All transportation, hotel and meal expenses are provided by the Hearst Foundations.

Maine delegates are nominated by their principal and must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Students are permanent residents of the U.S., and one of their parents or guardians is a legal resident of Maine.
  2. Students are juniors or seniors and attending a Maine high school through graduation in 2021.
  3. Students muse be interested in and participating in leadership, public service and government related activities.
  4. Students must be able to attend the entire 2021 Washington Week ONLINE program, March 14-18, 2021.
  5. Students must be approved by high school principal (or designated representative) as the only nominee from school that the student is attending.
  6. Students must have been elected or appointed to a qualifying leadership post for the current school year. (NOTE THIS YEAR ONLY) Qualifying student leadership positions held during the 2019 – 2020 academic year will be allowed to qualify students for 2021 if they are unable to hold the usual USSYP qualifying positions for the current academic year due to disruption caused by the pandemic. State coordinator verification and judgement will determine which year’s leadership position will qualify your students, according to the national criteria). Qualifying leadership posts include, but are note limited to:
    • Member or officer of student council, student senate or equivalent student government organization
    • Class officer – president, vice president, secretary or treasurer
    • Student representative on a district-, regional- or state-level civic and/or educational organization

Application Process for the 2020-21 School Year

***The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) Washington Week will be held online the March 14-18, 2021. Two students from each state will be selected to attend the online program and each will receive a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship. Students may qualify to apply through leadership positions they currently hold per the USSYP official criteria for the current 2020-2021 academic year. If students are unable to hold leadership positions this year due to the pandemic, they can submit the position they held during the 2019-2020 academic year. All student leadership qualifying positions are subject to the judgement of the state selection administrator and will be verified and confirmed.***

  • Late September: Information and instructions communicated to Maine educators and administrators. Each high school building principal may nominate only one eligible student for consideration.
  • December 4: Deadline for completed applications to be sent via email to:
    • Joe Schmidt, Maine USSYP Coordinator - joe.schmidt@maine.gov
    • Any applications received on December 5 or later, will not be considered.
    • Any incomplete applications will not be considered and the applicant will not be contacted.
  • No later than January 4: Up to 10 finalists will be notified of advancement to the final round.
  • January 22: The finalists will convene virtually for the final competition with a selection committee.
  • February 5: Deadline for Hearst Foundation to be notified of Maine's two delegates and two alternates.
  • Mid February: The two finalists and two alternates will be notified and announced.

Application information:
2021 U.S. Senate Youth Program Brochure
2019 U.S. Senate Youth Program Yearbook

2020-21 Application Materials

Congratulations to the 2020 winners:

  • Elena Clothier - Lewiston High School
  • Michael Delorge - Maine School of Science & Mathematics

Read about the past experiences of Maine’s USSYP delegates in their own words:

2019 - Joseph Bergeon

2019 - Jay Philbrick

2018 - Caroline Baldacci

2018 - Virginia Hugo-Vidal