Skip to Content

Iowa students selected for prestigious United States Senate Youth Program

Date: 
Monday, December 11, 2017
Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise surprises North High School's Robert Nishimwe of Des Moines, telling Robert he's one of two Iowa students selected to participate in the 56th annual United States Senate Youth Program. Des Moines Public Schools Administrator Jessica Gogerty looks on.

Two Iowa students have been selected to participate in the 56th annual United States Senate Youth Program to be held March 3-10 in Washington, D.C.

Robert Nishimwe of Des Moines and Sibani Sri Ram of Dubuque were selected to be members of the 104-student delegation participating in Washington Week.

The delegates were selected by a committee at the Iowa Department of Education.

Robert attends North High School in Des Moines and is president of the National Honor Society. He is involved in numerous school and community leadership positions. He currently serves as the student member of the State Board of Education. He is the founding member of a group called Community of Racial Equity (CORE) at his high school. He also participates in Science Bound, Model UN, and several volunteer positions within his community.

Sibani Sri Ram of Dubuque's Senior High School is flanked by school administrators after she learned that she's one of two Iowa students selected to participate in the 56th annual United States Senate Youth Program.

Sibani attends Dubuque Senior High School and is chair of the State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council Education Committee. Sibani is involved in numerous school and community leadership positions. This includes Model United Nations and several community fundraising efforts such as Music and Memory, where she helped raise over $12,000. In addition, Sibani has won several awards for her writing, including the Iowa Juneteenth essay contest, being published in the Chicago Tribune as a young book critic, and winning the Iowa Reading Council State Poetry contest.

In addition to the all-expenses-paid program week, each delegate receives a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs.

Chosen as alternates are Adam Koch of Dallas Center-Grimes and Shawn Thacker of Iowa City.

Each year, the program brings more than 100 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. The goals of the program include deepening the understanding of America’s political process and strengthening the students’ resolve to pursue careers in public service.

In addition to outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to volunteer work, the student delegates rank academically in the top 1 percent of their states among high school juniors and seniors.

Article Type: 

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on January 21, 2018 at 3:10am.