Press Releases

WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman today announced that Payton Finch of Paragould and Nathanael Mickelson of Alma have been selected as Arkansas’s delegates for the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP). The two students were chosen from hundreds of applicants to be part of the 104 delegates who will attend the program’s 50th Anniversary Washington Week March 3-10.

“This program is a great opportunity for Payton and Nathanael to pursue their interest in public service and gain first-hand knowledge of the U.S. Senate and federal government,” Pryor said. “They have already proven themselves as leaders in their communities, and I look forward to hearing how this experience shapes and defines their future endeavors.”

“Competition for the opportunity to represent Arkansas in the U.S. Senate Youth Program is fierce. The selection of Payton and Nathanael for this distinguished program, over others from the large pool of very worthy candidates, speaks volumes about the hard work these two young men put in to earn this honor. They are bright young Arkansans and I am confident they will represent our state well during the U.S. Senate Youth Program’s Washington Week,” Boozman said.

Payton Finch, of Paragould, is a Student Council Representative at Greene County Technical High School. He serves as Junior Civitan vice president, FBLA secretary, Quiz Bowl captain, Arkansas Boys State representative, and as a member of Model UN and We the People. Payton is an active volunteer for the Boy Scouts, Witt House Emergency Food Pantry, Angel Food Ministries, Heifer International, and Habitat for Humanity. After graduation, Payton hopes to attend the U.S. Naval Academy and study political science.

Nathanael Mickelson, of Alma, serves as a Student Council representative at Alma High School. He is a member of the FBLA, science club, and French club, and has attended Arkansas Governor’s School and the National History Day competition. He is a National Merit Semifinalist and a volunteer for the March of Dimes, Community Outreach Center, and Christmas is for Caring. Nathanael plans obtain a dual degree in economics and finance.

Chosen as alternates to the 2012 program were Jordan Reed, a student at Cabot High School, and Robert Dalby, a student at Arkansas Senior High School in Texarkana.

While in Washington, from March 3-10, 2012, the delegates will participate in a week of intensive study of our nation’s federal government. They will meet with Senators, Congressional staffers, the President, a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, leaders of cabinet agencies, a United States Ambassador, and members of the national media. The students will also tour many of the national monuments and museums. Each of the delegates will receive a $5,000 college scholarship, in addition to the all-expenses paid trip to Washington.

The U.S. Senate Youth Program allows two delegates, current high school seniors or juniors, from each state to be selected by the state’s chief education officer in cooperation with high school principals. In addition to outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to public service, the students rank academically in the top one percent of their states.