Megha Bharadwaj, a junior at Bismarck’s St. Mary’s Central High School, and Rachel Goven, a senior at Turtle Lake Mercer High School, have been chosen to take part in the U.S. Senate Youth Program in March. The honor includes a $10,000 college scholarship.
At St. Mary’s, Bharadwaj has been active in St. Mary’s student council and the North Dakota Student Congress, a mock Legislature that encourages speech and debate. She sings in the school’s jazz choir, plays in its steel drum band and takes part in the Science Club and Science Olympiad. She has served as features editor and opinion editor at the school newspaper.
Goven is active in Turtle Lake High’s band and choir, served as vice president of the student council, and volunteered as a Sunday school teacher and Bible camp counselor, and worked as a peer mentor for 5th-grade students. She was attorney general in Girls State, a summer citizenship and leadership program sponsored by the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary.
Wyatt Birst, a senior at Century High School in Bismarck, and Ryan Hermes, a senior at Oakes High School, were chosen as first and second alternates, respectively.
The U.S. Senate Youth Program assembles two high school juniors or seniors from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense’s education system for a weeklong education and leadership program in Washington, D.C. The students’ expenses are paid by the Hearst Foundations, which provide a $10,000 undergraduate scholarship to each participant.
To qualify for the trip and scholarship, a student must hold a leadership position in student government or a civic or educational organization during the 2019-20 academic year. They must complete an application that demonstrates their knowledge of state and federal government and write an essay about one of several public issues that are presented in the application.