Local student explores role in national security

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 20, 2003

Ross Stadheim remembers the year he was in third grade and there was a presidential election. He’d cut out political cartoons from the newspaper and try to figure them out.

As a senior at Albert Lea High School, he’s still keenly interested in politics. So much so, that he’s not only running for governor in the Youth in Government program, but also is participating this week in the National Youth Leadership Forum on Defense, Intelligence and Diplomacy (NYLF/DID). Stadheim will spend Oct. 21-26 in Washington, D.C., joining approximately 400 high school juniors and seniors from across the United States at the forum.

Stadheim said he was invited to the forum after attending the Youth in Government-YMCA National this summer.

Email newsletter signup

It seemed like a great opportunity, he said, but the forum’s dates conflict with the Minnesota Youth in Government program. Stadheim will have to do some of his campaigning by video, and will rely on his running mate (the lieutenant governor candidate) to speak on his behalf.

The NYLF/DID curriculum is based on actual world events, allowing participants to learn from the examples set by previous generations of leaders and encouraging them to develop a perspective and tenacity unique to upcoming generations of leaders. Throughout the forum, students will examine how the U.S. plans for peace and prepares for crisis. Students will meet with leaders from key agencies and institutions.

It’s a topic that Stadheim said really interests him, especially given the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

&uot;We don’t really have a set itinerary, but we will get to meet with Norm Coleman Wednesday at the Capitol,&uot; Stadheim said.

In the past, NYLF/DID has visited several government institutions and military installations, including the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Development Command at Quantico, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Naval Academy, a variety of embassies and many others.

Stadheim said he’s sure he’ll learn a lot from the forum. &uot;I think it will give me a background in national security and foreign policy,&uot; he said.

The son of Mark and Terri Stadheim plans to major in political science with a concentration in broadcast journalism. He currently does a news show at the school. Law school may also be in his future some day.

(Contact Geri McShane at lifestyles@albertleatribune.com, or call 379-3436.)