Seibel gains a capitol experience
GGC graduate Micah Seibel was in eighth grade when he had his first glimpse of life under the “Gold Dome.”
His brother, Daniel, was working as a legislative aide and invited him to the Georgia State Capitol for a day.
“As a kid, it was overwhelming,” said Seibel, now himself an aide to Senator Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta), chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.
During the whirlwind, 40-day annual General Assembly session, legislative aides help keep the process moving. They answer phones, research bills and do most anything else the position requires.
In exchange, they are paid a modest $300 per week. However, they also have a priceless opportunity to experience the political process first-hand.
“It’s interesting and very exciting,” Seibel said.
He graduated from Georgia Gwinnett with a bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in international relations. After a two-year stint in the Peace Corps, he hopes to land a job with the state or federal government or possibly internationally, he said.
Seibel is in one of the best programs for students majoring in political science or a related field, according to Merri Brantley, former director of External Affairs at GGC.
“In my opinion, there is no greater learning experience,” she said. “I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in working as a lobbyist or in state government.”
College juniors and seniors who want to be legislative aides go through a competitive application process, interviews and, if selected, a week of training before the General Assembly session, said Stacy Peery, Senate aide and intern coordinator. Only committee chairmen and members of the leadership are allowed interns in the Senate, she said. The Senate Aide Program accepts applications each fall.
Seibel met Beach at the start of the legislative session in January, and the two quickly formed a “trust relationship.”
“As a result, I’ve been given a lot of responsibilities to help with anything that needs to be done,” Seibel said.
Beach has only the highest praise for Seibel, a self-described “Type A” personality.
“I am in my fifth session, and Micah Seibel is by far the best and the most prepared Senate aide I have had since being elected to the Senate,” said Senator Brandon Beach. “I am thankful to Georgia Gwinnett College for providing the tools to prepare Micah with great leadership skills.”
Working for Beach has exposed Seibel to important and evolving issues before government, such as the role of transportation in Atlanta’s future. In addition, hearings before the Senate Transportation Committee have debunked for him the long-held notion that Republicans unilaterally oppose mass transit and its expansion into the suburbs.
While Seibel’s interest in government was sparked by that eighth grade Capitol visit, it began to deepen at Brookwood High in Snellville, when he joined the school’s Model U.N. program.
“That exposed me to thinking about policy and developing my own opinions,” he said.
Seibel was born in Kansas, the youngest of seven children. His family moved to Georgia when he was in elementary school so he and his siblings could attend college in Georgia.
After high school graduation, Seibel said he decided to “be smart about my finances.”
He took a year off from his studies, working 50 hours a week. He put his earnings toward college and was able to make it through his first two years at GGC without loans, he said.
Seibel has been very active at GGC and is a member of its prestigious Honors Program. He helped start the college’s Model U.N. program and served as its president. He is president of GGC’s chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society. He has also served as president of Forerunner Campus Ministries, chairman of a Student Government Association committee and a student assistant in the college’s Game Room.
Exactly what he’ll do after graduation and the Peace Corps is an open question. He knows one thing for certain: “I’m not set on having lots of money.” Rather, he said he’s always seen himself as a public servant, being involved in government and making a difference.
“I have plenty of options,” Seibel said.
Read more about the college, its student and alumni in GGC's Engage Magazine.