Tech Students Intern at Georgia State Capitol
The 2019 GLIP interns at the Georgia State Capitol (photo credit to the Office of Government and Community Relations)
Every year, approximately 30 college students from around the state participate in the Georgia Legislative Internship Program (GLIP), a full-time, paid internship that runs throughout the state legislative session. This year, 13 students from Georgia Tech are taking part in the program, where they’ll earn 6 hours of public policy course credit.
Students started with an orientation on Jan. 9, and on Jan. 14 they began working in the offices of individual legislators, committees, and legislative staffers. They’ll stay there until the budget recess, which usually occurs in April. Though they just reached the official halfway point of the legislative session on March 7, the GLIP interns have already gained invaluable experience and insight into the legislative process.
Each intern was drawn to the program for a different reason. For Peter Tilly, a second-year public policy major, GLIP was a major factor in his decision to transfer to Tech last fall. The Georgia General Assembly is something he’s “always looked up to,” so he knew that GLIP was something he’d want to do during his college career. While any in-state school would have given him the opportunity to participate in the program, Tech had the added advantages of proximity to the Capitol and the ability to continue living on campus.
Nisha Lee, a third-year public policy student, knows how big the GLIP program is in Tech’s School of Public Policy. She heard about the program from a friend who recommended it to anyone who wanted to experience the legislative process firsthand.
“It seemed like a great opportunity to intern in a political office while also being able to live in Atlanta and stay involved on campus,” Lee said. She works in the office of Senator Bill Cowsert (R-Athens), who also chairs the Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee.
Lillie Tate Andrews, a third-year business administration major, decided that GLIP would be a great way to combine her interests in government and the law with an opportunity to gain work experience and make important connections. Like Lee, she had a friend who had participated in the program and found it enriching. Andrews now works in the office of Senator William Ligon (R-Brunswick), who is also the chair of the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee.
“From a business perspective, it’s been really interesting to get the business side of politics,” she said.
Andrews’ work includes some administrative tasks, such as checking the senator’s emails and mail, but she also gets more hands-on experience, including sitting in on his committee meetings and acting as a liaison between his office and Georgians from his district. For Andrews, working with constituents has been the most rewarding part of her GLIP experience thus far. Many of them, she says, need help, and “he listens — they all listen — to their constituents.”
Tilly, meanwhile, works for two senators: Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta), who serves as chairman of the Transportation Committee, and Ellis Black (R-Valdosta), who serves as chairman of the Retirement Committee. Fortunately, the two share a suite in the Capitol, so Tilly can stay at one desk. While working for two senators may seem daunting, Tilly is glad to be challenged.
“I enjoy being busy and working for things that feel meaningful,” Tilly said.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for some occasional good-natured joking. Since Tech interns work with students from schools across the state, and many state legislators are University of Georgia graduates, there is often room for ribbing between in-state rivals under the gold dome. Ultimately, though, all of the interns share a commitment to service.
While the legislative session is still far from over, GLIP interns have already seen important projects developing — from making broadband more accessible across Georgia to including private schools in state safety laws and regulations.
Ultimately, they will gain far more from this program than credit hours and a weekly stipend. They will carry with them insights, experiences, and skills into their careers after Tech.
“It’s eye-opening to see how much work is put into every little decision,” Tilly said.
Andrews appreciates being involved in work that directly affects her home state. She’s also gained the confidence to introduce herself to new people with ease, thanks to the number of strangers she encounters every day. Like the other interns, Andrews believes that the experiences and connections made through GLIP are well worth taking fewer credit hours for a semester, and she encourages students to apply regardless of their major.
Information on applying to the Spring 2020 GLIP session will be available in October. To learn more about the program and what to consider before applying, visit the Office of Government and Community Relations website.