News Release

January 10, 2018


Student photos are available using the following link.

Senators Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse announced the names of two students who have been selected as delegates to the 56th annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) that will be held March 3-10 in Washington, D.C. Nicole Ann Fintel and Bouthaina Hassan Ibrahim, both of Lincoln, were chosen from across the state to be part of the group of 104 student delegates who will attend the program’s Washington Week.

The USSYP was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962 and has been sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundations since inception. The program is designed to increase young Americans’ understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government, learn the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and emphasize the vital importance of democratic decision-making not only for America but for people around the world.

The overall mission of the program is to help grow knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service. In addition to the program week, The Hearst Foundations provide each student with a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship.

Nicole Ann Fintel attends Lincoln East High School and serves as the class Vice-President. Ms. Fintel is also an ambassador at Lincoln East and helps new students navigate the school, volunteer at events, and team up with students having troubles.  She is also a member of the school’s speech team and the Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company, performing The Nutcracker at the Lied Center in Lincoln. Nicole has interned for a U.S. Congressman, worked on two political campaigns, and is an intern for Nebraskans for Civic Reform.  She plans on pursuing a Ph.D., majoring in political science or pre-law with a minor in biological chemistry.

Bouthaina Hassan Ibrahim attends Lincoln Northeast High School and serves as the Student Council Vice-President. She has helped organize Make-A-Wish events and hunger drives and mentors fourth graders at Pershing Elementary through the Pershing Pals program. Outside of school, Bouthaina holds a teaching position at the Islamic Foundation of Lincoln and is a hospital volunteer. She is interested in majoring in political science and international affairs and ultimately wants to be an ambassador for the United States.

Chosen as alternates to the 2018 program were Audrey Worthing, a resident of Elm Creek, who attends Elm Creek High School and Leigh Jahnke, a resident of Bancroft, who attends West Point-Beemer High School.

The chief educational officer in each state selects the delegates after nomination by teachers and principals. This year’s delegates were designated by Dr. Matthew L. Blomstedt, Commissioner of Education.

While in Washington the student delegates attend meetings and briefings with senators, members of the House of Representatives, Congressional staff, the president, a justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, an ambassador to the United States and senior members of the national media. The students will also tour many of the national monuments and several museums and they will stay at the historic Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C. 

David Jespersen
Public Information Officer, Nebraska Department of Education