December 5, 2011
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Selects High School
Students for 2011 U.S. Senate Youth Program
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced the selection of two exemplary California high school students as delegates, along with two alternates, to the prestigious and highly competitive United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP).
"Nina and Morgen are extraordinary students with a wonderful history of volunteerism and leadership," said Torlakson. "My congratulations go to both of them for their passion for academic excellence."
Nina is a senior at Lynbrook High School (Fremont Union High School District, San Jose) with a weighted grade point average of 4.58. She serves as a representative at a school legislative council, and has volunteered at numerous organizations and with elected leaders.
Morgen is a senior at Nevada Union High School (Nevada Joint Union High School District, Grass Valley) with a weighted grade point average of 4.33. She serves as senior class president, and has volunteered with numerous clubs and organizations.
The first alternate is Steven Uhlaner Brownstone of Irvine (Orange County). The second alternate is Karina Claire Jougla of Carpinteria (Santa Barbara County). Both are seniors. The alternates are selected in case either of the two delegates cannot participate in the program.
"Steven and Karina are also superb students with a dedication to academic achievement and community involvement," Torlakson said. "All of these students do California proud."
Steven is a senior at University High School (Irvine Unified School District, Irvine) with a weighted grade point average of 4.32. He serves as the associated student body representative at the school district, and has volunteered for numerous school leadership activities and community organizations.
Karina is a senior at Carpinteria High School (Carpinteria Unified School District, Carpinteria) with a weighted grade point average of 4.35. She serves on numerous school and youth organizations.
Students participating in the program will take in a week of intensive study of the federal government as guests of the U.S. Senate March 3-10, 2012, in Washington, D.C. The students will hear major policy addresses by senators, cabinet members, and officials from federal agencies, and participate in a meeting with a U.S. Supreme Court justice.
The U.S. Senate Youth Program is an annual scholarship competition funded by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation and endorsed by the U.S. Senate. Each state, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity select two high school juniors or seniors to participate in the program. The Hearst Foundation pays all expenses for the delegates, including transportation, hotel, and meals. In addition, each of the delegates will receive a $5,000 college scholarship from the Foundation. California's two delegates and two alternate delegates were selected from a pool of 130 applicants.
Students must be nominated by their high school principal to participate in the program. A selection committee from the California Department of Education reviewed eligible nominees who submitted the required paperwork. After a rigorous review process, Torlakson selected the awardees based on the following criteria: the quality of the application, high academic achievement, excellent interpersonal and communication skills, knowledge of American government and U.S. history, involvement in school and community activities, demonstrated qualities of leadership, extracurricular activities, and service to the community.
The four students are expected to be recognized by the State Board of Education during its next meeting in January 2011 in Sacramento.
Detailed biographies of the students are attached. To contact the students directly, please contact the California Department of Education's Communications Division at 916-319-0818 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the U.S. Senate Youth Program, please visit the California Department of Education's Web site at United States Senate Youth Program - Initiatives & Programs.
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Nina is a senior at Lynbrook High School in the Fremont Union High School District in San Jose, California, where she serves as a representative on the Lynbrook High School Legislative Council and an Executive Board Member for the San Jose Youth Advisory Council of District 1. Nina also serves as the Chapter Project Chair for the Lynbrook Future Business Leaders of America; Parliamentarian for the National Association of Parliamentarians; and Editor-in-Chief of 1 Voice, the San Jose Youth Advisory Council of District 1's quarterly publication. Nina serves as the Publicity Chair for the 15th Congressional District Student Advisory Council for U.S. Congressman Mike Honda; Community Engagement Project Lead for Vision New America; Global Entrepreneurship Research Intern at West Valley College; and is an advanced dancer for the Lasya Dance Company.
Over the course of four years, Nina has volunteered for the Good Samaritan Hospital and the Rotary International and Interact. Nina has also served as a Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Education, and Health Policy Coordinator; an Asian Americans for Community Involvement Community Programs Intern; and a Givology Development Intern. Nina also volunteered for the Jerry Brown for Governor 2010 Campaign and currently serves as a volunteer for the Evan Low for California State Assembly 2012 Campaign and President Barack Obama's 2012 Reelection Campaign.
Nina maintains a high, weighted grade point average of 4.58. She has achieved a score of 5 on the following Advanced Placement (AP) examinations: Calculus BC, Computer Science, and English Language and Composition, which has qualified her as a College Board AP Scholar and National Merit Commended Scholar. Nina has published articles on environmental activism and meeting procedures in Tomorrow's Business Leader and also published an op-ed on nuclear diplomacy in the Cupertino Courier. Nina's awards include the Future Business Leader Competition – First Place; Council Member Pete Constant award for First Place – Most Volunteer Hours; Rotary International Entrepreneurship Leadership Conference Business Model Competition – Second Place; and the Red, White, and Blue School Department Award for AP Computer Science. Nina also spearheaded a school environmental campaign, Operation Green, which Lynbrook High School received the Go Green Eco Chapter Project award for First Place in the Western Region as the most environmental school among 3,000 schools nationwide.
Nina's dream is to attend a university such as Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, or Princeton University, to pursue the interdisciplinary subjects of economics, political science, and government. Post-baccalaureate, Nina wishes to pursue a Master of Business Administration and Juris Doctorate degrees. Nina's career goals include starting an education consulting service as well as serving as a United States representative for the International Monetary Fund to influence foreign policy and tackle global economic issues.
Morgen is a senior at Nevada Union High School in the Nevada Joint Union High School District in Grass Valley, California, where she serves as the Senior Class President of Nevada Union High School's Associated Student Body and Executive Council. Morgen also serves as a member of the following school clubs: California Scholarship Federation; Health Careers Club; and the Key Club. Morgen also served as a Link Leader; an "A" Team Link Crew member; the Free Tibet Club Secretary; and a Free the Children Club member.
Over the past four years, Morgen has served as a volunteer for the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and a local Pediatrics Office. Morgen also volunteers for Music for Medicine, for which she plays piano for the terminally ill and homebound on a regular basis. Morgen also serves as an annual organizer for the Christmas Caroling to the Homebound each December.
Morgen maintains a high, weighted grade point average of 4.33. She has received recognition from the National Society of High School Scholars as an outstanding student for the last three years. In addition to her exemplary academic record, Morgen has participated in the Outstanding Academic Achievement People to People Leadership Program in Washington, D.C. Morgen was selected as a California State University, Fresno: President's Scholar Nominee to compete for a full university scholarship. She was also selected to participate in the Rotary Youth Leadership Award Camp and the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine. Morgen is also an accomplished piano player and has received numerous awards for her musical talent, including: Grass Valley Rotary Music Competition – First Place; Tri-Counties Music Competition Piano – First, Second, and Third Place; Area Rotary Music Competition – Third Place; and "Music in the Mountains" Piano Competition – Second Place. Morgen has also attended the University of California, Los Angeles World Summer Music Institute and is a graduate of the California State Summer School of the Arts.
Morgen hopes to attend Princeton University to pursue studies in subjects such as music, medicine, philosophy, psychology, or science. Morgen also has a passion for the environment. She believes it is important to advocate for environmental issues and aspires to make a contribution to her community by exploring ways to make improvements in the area of sustainable development.
Steven is a senior at University High School in the Irvine Unified School District in Irvine, California, where he serves as the Associated Student Body representative to the Irvine Unified School District Board of Education. Steven also serves as the Vice President of Delegate Training for Model United Nations, Pre-Trial Attorney/Vice President of Bonding for Mock Trial, Founder of the Jewish Student Union, Political Columnist in the Journalism Club, Vice President of the Band Executive Council for University High School's marching band, and also plays in the school's jazz band.
Over the course of four years, Steven has participated in and volunteered for the Bureau of Jewish Education Young Philanthropists program, Turtle Rock Community Park Tennis, Shade Tree Associations, and fundraisers for University High School's student council, band, and the Jewish Student Union.
Steven maintains a high, weighted grade point average of 4.32. He has achieved a score of five on the following AP examinations: Art History, English Language and Composition, and United States History, which has qualified him as a College Board AP Scholar and National Merit Commended Scholar. Steven spent the previous summer in China and has achieved Chinese language proficiency. Steven was selected to participate in the Pepperdine Youth Citizenship Seminar and Vernon Smith Experimental Economics Program at Chapman University. Steven's awards include the University of California (UC), Irvine Model United Nations (MUN) – Best Delegate and Research; UC Berkeley MUN – Outstanding Delegate, Rapporteur, and Research, and recognition as a state finalist for National History Day.
Steven hopes to attend a university such as UC Berkeley, Tufts University, Yale University, or the University of Chicago to study in a field that would give him a strong quantitative and qualitative background to launch his career. His ultimate career goal is to serve in the United States Foreign Service and eventually run for political office.
Karina is a senior at Carpinteria High School in the Carpinteria Unified School District in Carpinteria, California where she serves as the Southern California Speaker of the Assembly for the Junior State of America organization. She also serves as the Board Chair for the Youth Advisory Board for Congresswoman Lois Capps; National Teen Advisor Co-Chair for the United Nations Foundation Girl Up Campaign; Lifetime Seal bearer for the California Scholarship Federation; and is active in the school's marching and concert bands, as a flute player and drum major.
Over the course of four years, Karina has volunteered at Kinderkirk Preschool and the Carpinteria Public Library. Karina has also served as a Girls Inc. Drama Camp Director and Coach and Carpinteria Seal Watch Monitor. She has also participated in the JASON Project teacher training program and has also served as a National Geographic JASON Project International Student "Argonaut" Intern.
Karina maintains a high, weighted grade point average of 4.35. She has achieved a score of 5 on the following AP examinations: English Language and Composition and U.S. History. Karina is a recipient of the Girls Inc. Lucille Miller Wright Merit Scholarship and was also a National Merit Scholarship Competition Semi-Finalist. Karina's awards also include the Carpinteria Women's Club 2008 Outstanding Young Woman Award; Kiwanis Club Youth of the Month Awards: October 2008 and December 2010; Band Member of Distinction Award; Masonic Lodge 444 Student of the Month in Science Award; Carpinteria High School Athletic Department Tennis Awards: Most Reliable Player and Most Consistent Player; and the President's Education Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence.
Karina's dream is to attend a university such as Columbia University, Stanford University, or University of California, Berkeley to pursue studies in the field of law, with a particular interest in politics, international relations, and government. Karina is also interested in pursuing studies in the field of science, with a specific interest in the study of biology, with an emphasis in genetics. As an American-French dual citizen, Karina would also like to continue her studies in French, perhaps as a minor. Karina's work with the United Nations Foundation has inspired her to pursue a career in a non-profit organization with an international focus.
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Tom Torlakson —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100