Michael Polich: Determined to Make a Difference
Michael Polich, the 2016 Great Lakes Commission Fellow, has set himself up for success.

Polich: “If you can speak the same language, translate the science, you can initiate dialogue with people who can make the changes.”

Credit: Wisconsin Sea Grant

Credit: Michael Polich

It took a summer internship at the Madison Arboretum to really crystallize things for Michael Polich.

Polich, then a UW-Madison graduate student, had watched staff spend several weeks trying to address a difficult situation with stormwater drainage on the Arboretum property, only to be stymied by city regulations.

“I got fed up with the idea that engineers couldn’t actually solve problems,” Polich said. “They can identify a perfectly workable solution, but laws, contracts and regulations often get in the way.”

“At the time, I thought to myself, ‘Why don’t you go to law school and try to solve these problems?’” said Polich.  “Law school is where change happens. This is where the system changes. I could have made an impact just in the public policy arena, but I wanted to do more.” Polich’s wide range of degrees and expertise made him a natural choice to become the 2016 Great Lakes Commission Fellow. He spent a year in Ann Arbor, Mich. taking part in communications, policy and advocacy work. He also worked on several specific commission projects, including the Blue Accounting Source Water pilot, supporting harmful algal bloom and nonpoint work in the Lower Fox River, and working on urban stormwater issues. His fellowship was sponsored and administered by Wisconsin Sea Grant.

“If you can speak the same language, translate the science, you can initiate dialogue with people who can make the changes,” he said.

Michael is a three time Badger. He received a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering and MS in Biological Systems Engineering from UW-Madison. His MS research focused on the hydrology of biofuel feed-stock crops. In 2016, he completed law school at UW-Madison, focusing on environmental law.

Michael now works for the Texas Legislative Council as Legislative Counsel in Austin, Texas. 

J.D., Doctor of Law, University of Wisconsin- Madison
M.S., Biological Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin- Madison
B.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin- Madison

LinkedIn profile
Michael Polich's LinkedIn Profile

Contact information
Email address: mpolich@wisc.edu