Ohio Department of Education Topic News

Ohio Students for United States Senate Youth Program Students to Participate in Online Program and to Receive $10,000 Scholarship


The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) announces that high school students Ms. Saron Tefera and Ms. Cordelia Rachel Rutgert Van der Veer will join Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Rob Portman in representing Ohio during the 60th annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 6 — 9, 2022. Saron Tefera of Cincinnati and Cordelia Van der Veer of Toledo were selected from among the state’s top student leaders to be part of the 104 national student delegation who will each also receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the 2022 program will be held online, through a comprehensive and highly interactive virtual education and leadership forum.

Saron Tefera, a senior at Anderson High School, serves as the president of the Student Body. She also participates in her school’s Diversity Club, Student Council, and National Honor Society. She was elected governor at Buckeye Girls State and focused on education, equity, and environmental reform. She was a part of the planning committee for International Day of the Girl and organized an event regarding female education internationally and works with the social mobility subcommittee for the Hamilton County Commission on Women and Girls. Her subcommittee is working on helping minor mothers find resources for housing after they have given birth. She is also an Amharic-English translator for community members. Saron intends to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics, international affairs, or political science. After college, she would like to work at the United Nations with the eventual goal of becoming the U.S. ambassador to the UN.

Cordelia Van der Veer, a senior at Toledo Technology Academy, serves as the president of the National Honor Society. She is also a Student Council representative, participates in National History Day, and was awarded the Equality in History Award at the national competition. She participates in her school’s robotics team and Quiz Bowl team, and is active in her community, participating in Families4Families as the co-founder of the Toledo chapter, Youth in Philanthropy Encouraging Excellence of Leadership Toledo as the co-president, and Students Demand Action as a National Advisory Board member. She participated in the Midstory summer internship, which culminated in a published article. As part of the John Glenn School of Public Affairs High School Internship Program, she takes dual-enrollment public affairs courses and researches with a professor. Cordelia’s future academic plans are focused on majoring in public policy with a secondary concentration in quantitative analysis.

Chosen as alternates to the 2022 program were Ms. Jenny Hu, a resident of Cincinnati, who attends The Seven Hills School and Ms. Brea Belville, a resident of Ironton, who attends Symmes Valley High School.

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

More information about the United States Youth program is available on the national United States Senate Youth Program webpage. Additionally, Ohio’s selection process can be found on the Department’s United States Senate Youth program webpage along with a the national press release.