Two Nevada students have been selected to join Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto and Sen. Jacky Rosen in Washington, D.C., at the 59th Annual U.S. Senate Youth Program (USSYP) Washington Week, taking place virtually on March 14-18.
Joanna Bieda, a senior at Advanced Technologies Academy in Las Vegas, and Alexander Wong, a senior at West Career and Technical Academy in Las Vegas, were chosen from among Nevada’s extraordinary student leaders to participate in the USSYP.
Joanna and Alex will also each receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study.
Joanna Bieda, a senior at the Advanced Technologies Academy, is a youth legislator and has served as chair for the Nevada Youth Legislature. As a youth legislator for Senate District 5, she represents 42,000 youths. She is the chair of the Nevada High School Democrats, and worked with local campaigns to offer policy research and volunteering opportunities to teenagers, as well as recruit students to work the polls on Election Day.
Joanna is also a lead youth attorney for the Trial By Peers youth diversion program, advocating on behalf of juvenile offenders. Additionally, she founded Mission for American Resolve, a student-run think tank with the aim of discussing political intricacies in America and abroad in fact-driven, research-based works.
Joanna has held leadership positions in Speech and Debate, Future Business Leaders of America, the International Business Internship Program, and Academic World Quest.
Alexander Wong, a senior at West Career and Technical Academy, serves on the Nevada Youth Legislature representing Senate District 8 as a legislator (2019-21) and vice chairman (2019-20), where his passion for public service flourished. He is the founder and president of his school’s Speech and Debate Club and is Nevada’s top-ranked Lincoln-Douglas debater. He established a nonprofit, Vegas Debate Institute, providing debate resources to students and is an officer of his school’s DECA Club and National Business Honor Society.
He authored an Op-Ed in the Las Vegas Sun on the pandemic’s impact on education for which he received a Scholastic Art and Writing award, and has moderated a Nevada Youth Roundtable with Senator Jacky Rosen focusing on the challenges young people faced during the global health crisis.
Alex is an AP Scholar of Distinction and plans to study public policy and political science in college.
Alex Gallegos, who attends Eldorado High School in Las Vegas and serves as the student Member of the State Board of Education, and Sabrina Richards, who attends Faith Lutheran Middle and High School in Las Vegas, were chosen as alternates to the 2021 program.
Delegates and alternates are selected by state education agencies nationwide after nomination by teachers and principals. The chief state school officer for each jurisdiction confirms the final selection.