West High Student Selected for U.S. Senate Youth Program
The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) has announced that high school students Mr. Keven Yanlin Zhang and Ms. Emmalyn Aline Pykles will join Senator Mike Lee and Senator Mitt Romney in representing Utah in the nation’s capital during the 57th annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 2 — 9, 2019. Keven Zhang of Salt Lake City and Emmalyn Pykles of Bountiful were selected from among the state’s top student leaders to be part of the 104 national student delegation who will also each receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study.
Keven Zhang, a senior at West High School, serves as a senator in his school's Student Government. He is the mayor of the Cottonwood Heights Youth City Council, a captain of the men’s tennis and Mock Trial teams, and has led the Model United Nations team. Keven has also played piano for over thirteen years, placing in international competitions across the United States, and performed in a recital at Carnegie Hall in New York City. He plans to attend college and pursue a career in public policy and service.
Emmalyn Pykles, a senior at Bountiful High School, serves as the vice president of the Student Body. She has a passion for music, travel, and people, and has been involved in community service, leadership roles, and various musical activities for all of her teenage years. She has participated in class committees, Hope Squad, city youth council, choir, student government, leadership conferences, church activities, and Utah Girls State. Emmalyn is also interning with the Better Days 2020 organization this spring. She plans on attending a full-time university in the fall and is considering a career in public service.
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 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 brings the most outstanding high school students - two from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity - to Washington, D.C. for 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. Transportation and all expenses for Washington Week are also provided by The Hearst Foundations; as stipulated in S.Res.324, no government funds are utilized.