January 07, 2010

Merkley, Wyden Announce Oregon Students Selected for U.S. Senate Youth Program

Students Selected are Loren Jessen of Springfield Senior High School and Karli Olsen of McMinnville High School

Washington D.C.—Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced today that Loren Jessen of Springfield and Karli Olsen of McMinnville have been selected as delegates to represent Oregon in the United States Senate Youth Program. The students were chosen from hundreds of applicants to be part of the group of 104 student delegates who will attend the program's 48th Annual Washington Week.

"It's important that we increase youth involvement in public service not only because they have a stake in the political future of our country, but because the nation needs their contributions," said Merkley. "Oregonians should be proud to have such great representation in both Loren Jessen and Karli Olson as they head to Washington, D.C. to further develop their leadership skills and continue being great examples for their fellow students."

"These students have proven to be stand outs at home and now they will have the chance to stand out in Washington," Wyden said. "Not only is this a great opportunity for Loren and Karli to learn about public service and set an example for their peers, it is a chance for Oregon to showcase some of the best and brightest of the next generation. Congratulations to Loren, Karli, their families and communities."

Each year this extremely competitive merit-based program brings 104 of 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 how the federal government operates on a daily basis. This year's students rank academically in the top one percent of their states. 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. In addition to the program week, The Hearst Foundations provide each of the 104 student delegates with a $5,000 undergraduate college scholarship encouraging students to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs.

Loren Jessen attends Springfield Senior High School. He also served as class president, DECA qualifier, and as a member of the Student Advisory Board and yearbook staff. Loren has competed and served in leadership roles in soccer and swimming. He is active in band and has participated in Youth Rotary. Loren plans to enter the field of renewable energy as an engineer. He will attend the Oregon Institute of Technology next fall.

Karli Olsen is Student Advisor, Oregon State Board of Education and attends McMinnville High School. She is a member of the varsity basketball and softball teams, president of Key Club, member of the National Honor Society, editor-in-chief of yearbook, and active in various service clubs. Karli is interested in pursuing studies in hemo-oncology or politics after graduation.

Chosen as alternates to the 2010 program were Gabrielle Walti, a resident of Hillsboro, who attends Liberty High School, and Megan Ayers, a resident of Albany, who attends South Albany High School.