DoD announces 2022 US Senate Youth Program Military Mentors

F.P. Report

WASHINGTON: The Department of Defense (DoD) today announced the 12 U.S. military officers selected to serve as Armed Forces ambassadors in support of the 60th Annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) Washington Week, to be held virtually March 6-9, 2022.  This educational experience for outstanding high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers in public service was established in 1962 by United States Senate Resolution 324, representing one of the longest standing commitments of the Office of the Secretary of Defense to a national youth program.

USSYP military mentors represent their individual Service components and serve as role models for the 104 USSYP student delegates, two from each state, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity.  They exemplify the highest standards of decorum and protocol, facilitate logistics and movements, and assist USSYP staff with safety and accountability.

This year’s senior military mentor is Lt. Cmdr. Roberto C. Concepcion, U.S. Coast Guard, who served as a military mentor in 2020 and 2021.  Selected for assistant senior military mentor is Capt. Nitin Y. Prashar, U.S. Air Force, who served as a military mentor in 2019.  Together they will serve with a joint force team of 10 military mentors:  Maj. Matthew A. Pellegrine, U.S. Air Force; Lt. Cmdr. Megan D. Concepcion, U.S. Coast Guard; Lt. Cmdr.  Alexandra S. Miller, U.S. Coast Guard; Capt. Catherine M. Grizzle, U.S. Army; Capt. Louis S. Tobergte, U.S. Army; Capt. Karl J. Watje, U.S. Marine Corps; Lt. Lawrence E. Burkart, U.S. Navy; Lt. Lauren M. Hickey, U.S. Navy; Capt. Rachel C. Dryhurst, U.S. Air Force; and Lt. Nathan M. Borders, U.S. Coast Guard.

“This is an extraordinary group of officers representing the broadest range of military skills, geographic assignments, and leadership experiences drawn from a pool of exceptional and diverse candidates. This year’s student delegates will learn firsthand from these incredible Service members about their military, the people who serve, and what it means to serve – essential skills for this next generation of public servants,” said Melanie Fonder Kaye, Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Strategic Engagement, whose directorate oversees DoD’s annual USSYP support.

The United States Senate Youth Program has been solely funded and administered since inception by The Hearst Foundations, a national philanthropic resource for organizations working in the fields of culture, education, health and social services. As stipulated in Senate Resolution 324, no government funds are utilized. All program costs, including the $10,000 undergraduate college scholarships given to each of the 104 delegates, are provided by The Hearst Foundations. The USSYP is one of two annual signature programs operated by The Hearst Foundations — the other being the Journalism Awards Program for college students —  to encourage America’s best and brightest to enter the fields of journalism and public service.

“For sixty years, the most talented high school students in the nation have honed their passion and skills for public service through the experience of the United States Senate Youth Program. The bonds that are formed between the students and their military mentors are a pillar of the program,” said Rayne Guilford, Program Director, USSYP.  “Each year, the military officers selected to serve as mentors are exemplars of leadership, excellence  and dedication. Through this profound connection, based on mutual admiration, learning and inspiration, the students see the true meaning of service to country, and the officers feel renewed hope for the future.”

The 2022 student delegates will attend a the four-day virtual program via a comprehensive and interactive virtual platform. Speakers for the program generally include the highest level elected and appointed officials in each branch of government with whom the students are given the opportunity to learn from through extensive speaking and Q and A sessions.