Students to participate in the first online program and to receive $10,000 scholarship

March 1, 2021

CHARLESTON, W.VA. —The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) congratulates two students recently selected to represent the state as part of the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP). Ms. Olivia Brooke Hindman and Ms. Emma Lucia Romano will join Senator Joe Manchin III and Senator Shelley Moore Capito as student delegates during the 59th annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 14 – 17, 2021. 

Olivia Hindman of St. Albans and Emma Romano of Bridgeport were selected from among the state’s top student leaders to be a part of the 104 national student delegation that will each also receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study. Due to the pandemic, the 2021 program will break ground as the first-ever fully virtual Washington Week, and will be a highly interactive and exciting opportunity for those participating.

Olivia Hindman, a senior at St. Albans High School, serves as the senior class president and National Honor Society president. She is a member of several high school organizations including the Anchor Club, Beta Club, Interact Club, SA Solution, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Science Quiz Bowl. She is also an active member of YoungLife. Her community service includes weekly recycling, organizing canned food drives, writing letters to nursing home residents and many other projects. This past summer, Olivia volunteered as part of the Crafts of the Coal event in St. Albans. She maintains a 4.5- plus GPA in honors-level Advanced Placement ® and college-level courses, and she is in the top six percent of her graduating class. Hindman plans to attend Marshall University, major in education, and either become an educator or a lawyer. 

Emma Romano, a senior at Bridgeport High School, serves as the senior class historian of the Student Council and has been an executive board member since her freshmen year. She also is the current president of the Bridgeport High School Spanish Club. She has served as co-president of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs Bridgeport Juniorettes, a local community service organization for middle and high school girls, and she is currently a senior advisor. Presently, Romano is the environmental coordinator for Waste Management and a social media intern for the Children’s Instrument Recycle Program. She is a member of the National Honor Society, and a regular volunteer for her local mission. Locally, she is a tutor to middle and high school students in math and chemistry. Romano plans to major in environmental science and eventually attend law school to become an environmental lawyer. 

The 2021 program alternates are Mr. Patrick Koon, a resident of Morgantown, who attends Morgantown High School and Mr. John Bohman, a resident of Buckhannon, who attends Buckhannon-Upshur 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. The chief state school officer for each jurisdiction confirms the final selection. This year’s West Virginia delegates and alternates were designated by State Superintendent W. Clayton Burch.

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

In addition to outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to volunteer work, the student delegates rank academically in the top one percent of their states among high school juniors and seniors. Now more than 5,800 strong, alumni of the program continue to excel and develop impressive qualities that are often directed toward public service. Among the many distinguished alumni are: Senator Susan Collins, the first alumnus to be elected U.S. senator; Secretary of Transportation and former Mayor of South Bend Indiana, Pete Buttigieg; former Senator Cory Gardner, the second alumnus to be elected U.S. senator and the first to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives; former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the first alumnus to be elected governor; former Chief Judge Robert Henry, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; former Ambassador to West Germany Richard Burt, former presidential advisors Thomas “Mack” McLarty and Karl Rove. Additional notables include former Lt. Governor of Idaho David Leroy, Provost of Wake Forest University Rogan Kersh, military officers, members of state legislatures, Foreign Service officers, top congressional staff, healthcare providers and other university educators. 

Members of the U. S. Senate Youth Program 2021 annual Senate Advisory Committee are: Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Democratic Co-Chair; Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma, Republican Co-Chair; Advisory Members: Senator Thomas R. Carper (D-DE); Senator Christopher S. Murphy (D-CT); Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ); Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR); Senator Richard Burr (R- NC); Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND); Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Senator Roger F. Wicker (R-MS). Each year, the Honorary Co-Chairs of the program are the vice president of the United States and the Senate majority and minority leaders.

To learn more, visit

For questions aboutWest Virginia’s delegates, alternates or state selection process, contact Dustin Lambert at dllambert@k12.wv.usor by calling 304-558-5325.

For general information about the United States Senate Youth Program, contact Program Director Ms. Rayne Guilford at or by calling 800-425-3632.

For media inquiries, contact Christy Day at West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications at 304-558-2699 or

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