Cedar Hill Graduate Kathryn Rubio Announced as a United States Senate Youth Program Military Mentor

Photo courtesy USCG

LT Kathryn Rubio (formerly Mendenhall) was recently selected for the 62nd annual United States Senate Youth Program. (USSYP. LT Rubio now serves in the US Coast Guard.

Rubio (then .Mendenhall) was an avid student athlete and competitive long-distance kayaker, competing in races around Texas with her father, U.S. Navy (retired). Kathryn held student leadership positions as swim team captain and National Honors Society secretary. She graduated Summa cum lade from CHHS in 2009 and then attended the University of Texas at Austin earning her BS degree in Marine & Freshwater Biology in 2013. later earning her Masters in Fisheries & Mariculture at Texas A&M in Corpus Christi in 2015.

While at Texas AM she served as President of the Marine Science Graduate Student Organization and as a teaching assistant between studies. She received several honors and awards while there, of note being the Outstanding Master’s Student Award, SES Leadership Scholarship, and Marine Technology Society Dieter Scholarship. Her graduate research articles are published in Fish Biology (2018) and Estuaries & Coasts (2018).
Mrs. Rubio enlisted and received her Officer Candidate School (OCS) letter during week six of bootcamp, deciding to first graduate and serve as Seaman onboard USCG Cutter HEALY before attending OCS to commission in 2019. She has served for five years.

LT Rubio chose to serve in the Armed Forces for two reasons: answering the call to carry on her family’s military legacy across all military branches totaling more than 100 years in both the U.S. and British Armed Forces, and her life’s work to serve others.

Photo courtesy USCG

She is one of only 17 U.S. military officers selected to serve as Armed Forces ambassadors in support of the 62nd Annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) Washington Week which is taking place in Washington, D.C., March 2-9, 2024.

LT. Rubio is devoted to community service as the unit’s Partnership in Education officer and Victim Advocate, regularly volunteering for educational outreach events with more than ten regional schools at all grade levels, and for the nonprofit organization Phoenix Project providing services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence. She’s had assignments in Washington, Florida, West Virginia, and Washington DC. LT Rubio enjoys gardening, and backpacking around the country with her husband, son and labrador.

The USSYP was established in 1962 by the U.S. Senate to introduce and educate outstanding high school students interested in pursuing public service careers about the federal government and the interrelationship of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches.

During Washington Week, students will meet with and learn from these selected military mentors, representing each of the Armed Forces. The DoD looks for military mentors who exhibit personal and professional excellence and have a passion for public service. Annual DoD support of USSYP represents one of the longest-standing commitments of the Office of the Secretary of Defense to a national youth program.

“This is an exceptional group of officers that brings diverse backgrounds and experiences in military and public service, leadership, and more to mentor our nation’s 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. “By engaging firsthand with these extraordinary leaders, students will gain invaluable insight into what it means to serve, and to making a difference in our country and our communities.”

This year’s senior military mentor is Lt. Cmdr. Alexandra Miller, U.S. Coast Guard, who served as a military mentor in 2022 and 2023. The assistant senior military mentor is Capt. Joseph Puntoriero, U.S. Army, who served as a military mentor in 2023. Together they will lead and serve with a joint force team of 15 military mentors:

Maj. Josue Duarte, U.S. Army
Maj. Matthew Pellegrine, U.S. Air Force
Capt. Catherine Grizzle, U.S. Army
Capt. Amelia Weaver, U.S. Army
Capt. Daniel McGurkin, U.S. Marine Corps
Capt. Alexandria Rossi, U.S. Marine Corps
Lt. Maude Manzi, U.S. Navy
Lt. Clayton Shepherd, U.S. Navy
Capt. Andrew Carroll, U.S. Air Force
Capt. Hannah Durbin, U.S. Air Force
Capt. Mai Chi Tran, U.S. Space Force
Lt. James Eggers, U.S. Coast Guard
Lt. Kathryn Rubio, U.S. Coast Guard
1st Lt. Samuel Barge, U.S. Marine Corps
1st Lt. Katherine Krolicki, U.S. Air Force.

“We are excited to welcome these fine officers and introduce them to the 2024 student delegates,” said Rayne Guilford, USSYP program director. “Each year we see the profound bonds that form between the students and their military mentors, and how the mentors’ personal histories, high standards, and advice for success impacts these young leaders beyond measure.”

USSYP has been solely funded and administered since its inception by The Hearst Foundations, a national philanthropic resource for organizations working in the fields of culture, education, health, and social services. All program costs, including the $10,000 undergraduate college scholarships given to each of the 104 delegates, are provided by The Hearst Foundations. Speakers for the program generally include the highest level elected and appointed officials in each branch of government.