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Minnesota Students Selected for United States Senate Youth Program (1/25/2023)

Washington, D.C. — The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) announces that high school students Eleanor G. Anderson and Sidarth Gazula will join Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Tina Smith in representing Minnesota during the 61st annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 4-11, 2023.

Eleanor Anderson of Mahtomedi and Sidarth Gazula of Maple Grove were selected from among the state’s top student leaders to be part of the 104 national student delegation. Each delegate will also receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study.

Each year this competitive merit-based program provides the most outstanding high school students — two from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity — with 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 delegates more profound knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service.

Eleanor Anderson, a senior at Mahtomedi High School, serves as the National Honor Society president. Like many students her age, Eleanor’s K-12 experience was shaped by repeated instances of gun violence and racial injustice across the country. By junior year, she realized that the best way to change the system is to get involved and bring new, valuable perspectives to the table. After becoming an active member of several high school clubs devoted to equity, social justice and civic engagement, her efforts were recognized by her peers, school administrators and community leaders. In her senior year, she took on leadership of her school’s equity club and was asked to be the student representative on the Staff Equity Leadership Team. Eleanor is excited to gain an in-depth view of government systems and personally engage with high-level government leaders through the USSYP. She hopes to study political science in college.

Sidarth Gazula, a senior at Wayzata High School, serves as a representative on the Minnesota Youth Council. At the India Association of Minnesota (IAM), He gained invaluable experience working on the 2020 census, general and primary elections, and many initiatives promoting civic engagement within Minnesota’s Indian-American community. As a Minnesota Youth Council representative and League of Women Voters fellow, he works to strengthen civic engagement among students and new voters. In school, he serves as a Student Council senator, National Honor Society officer, and a Wayzata DECA officer, an organization which focuses on business and entrepreneurship. Sidarth’s greatest passions are playing and teaching chess, leading his school to three consecutive state championships as a Chess Club captain. One of his favorite experiences was being elected state auditor at the 2022 Minnesota Boys State. A National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist and AP Scholar, he hopes to pursue a career in public service after earning a degree in public policy, history or math.

Alternates to the 2023 program are Evan James Knoll, a resident of Audubon, who attends Park Christian School and Deepti Vinod Pillai, a resident of Eden Prairie, who attends Minnetonka High School.

Delegates and alternates are selected by the state departments of education nationwide and the District of Columbia and Department of Defense Education Activity, after nomination by teachers and principals. 

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

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