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My Coast Guard
Commentary | March 28, 2024

Coast Guard officers mentor leaders of tomorrow in the U.S. Senate Youth Program

By Zach Shapiro, MyCG Staff

The Coast Guard is shaping the next generation of American leaders. Three outstanding officers were selected by the Department of Defense (DOD) to mentor this year's cohort of United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) leaders from March 2-9, 2024. Military mentors are a key component of the USSYP program, facilitating nuanced and thoughtful debate among students. 
Lt. Cmdr. Alexandra Miller was selected to serve as this year’s senior military mentor. She sees the program as an opportunity to give back by "paying forward all the time and knowledge invested in me by my mentors.” She serves as the Waterways Division management chief at Sector San Franscisco where she supervises the Marine Transporation System (MTS) from central California to the Oregon border. An alumna of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, she also holds two master’s degrees. Lt. Cmdr. Miller is not new to the halls of Congress; as an academy cadet, she held a congressional internship with Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT). 
Lt. James Eggers was also selected to represent the Coast Guard. He recalls the value of mentors in his career: “Exceptional mentors have enabled me to succeed, and I’m thrilled to serve as a mentor for the next generation of America’s leaders.” As command center chief at Sector Delaware Bay, he manages search and rescue (SAR) and marine environmental response efforts across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. A Fulbright scholar, Eggers attended Northeastern University and the University of Pennsylvania. He is pursuing a master’s degree in defense and strategic studies from the Naval War College. His previous experience includes deployments to the Pacific and Central America as a Deployable Specialized Forces team leader. 
For Lt. Kathryn Rubio, this year's third Coast Guard selectee, the program is about shaping a better future. “To me, mentoring is critical in fostering innovation by the next generation, who will ultimately lead society in solving complex social issues,” she told the Department of Defense. She is a project manager liaison supporting Coast Guard change and configuration management policy. Her passion is community service; she serves as her unit’s Partnership in Education (PIE) education officer and victim advocate. She also volunteers for educational outreach events at local schools and the Phoenix Project, a nonprofit that supports survivors of domestic and sexual violence. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.  
Founded in 1962, the U.S. Senate Youth Program “is a unique educational experience for outstanding high school students interested in pursuing careers in public service.” Every year, 104 student delegates are handpicked to spend a week in Washington learning from senators, cabinet secretaries, and federal agency leaders. The Hearst Foundations cover all delegate transportation expenses and fund a $10,000 college scholarship for each student. 
The Program is led by a bipartisan group of senators and counts Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg among its many prominent alumni. In a 2019 interview with the program, Buttigieg reflected on his military mentors when he participated in 2000. He recalled the impact Navy Lt. Gass and Coast Guard Lt. Ahern had in his military career: “Years later, when I was myself a Naval officer, I thought often of their example.”