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Effingham Magazine

Micah Nix: Embracing Excellence, Honor & Justice

Micah Nix: Embracing Excellence, Honor & Justice

Story by Katrice Williams


There’s still work that can be done to improve our justice system by people with the right intentions who are passionate about what they’re doing,” Micah Nix says. The 2019 Effingham County High School honor graduate was a member of Effingham College & Career Academy’s STEM program. In December, Micah earned two degrees from the University of Georgia: a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs.

She also obtained two distinctions: the Public Affairs Professional Certificate in Applied Politics and the Legal Disparities and Equity Certificate. Moreover, she completed her degrees in 3 ½ years.

The 21-year-old is pursuing her Juris Doctor in order to meet her overall career goal of judgeship.

“My passion is advocacy and doing what I can to help others in a meaningful way,” she says.

Passion for Government & Politics

Earlier this year, Micah gained experience as a legislative aide to a government consulting lobbying firm at the Georgia State Capitol. Her primary responsibility was to track bills and their outcome. Micah was in the thick of it all, occasionally being in the company of Governor Brian Kemp himself along with government representatives and court justices. She was also in the midst of various lobbying efforts.

“I experienced lobbying at the Capitol; lobbying is very intense. I have seen how bills can affect people. I have seen—behind-the-scenes—what makes our government run and the people invested in different matters,” she says.

Micah met Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Boggs, who was at the Capitol for the State of the Judiciary Address. She also felt privileged to meet Jon Burns, Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives who happens to be her state representative.

Micah has been interested in government and politics for a long time. She remembers what initially piqued her interest in the law side of it all. It goes back to a 2018 documentary called Time, which tells the story of a young man who was falsely arrested and placed in Rikers Island Jail. Three years passed before he received a trial. He also spent the majority of his incarceration in solitary confinement. The mental, psychological and emotional effects of his confinement were devastating; upon vindication and release, he committed suicide. Micah was immensely moved by his story along with learning about so many similar injustices throughout the land.

“His story is one of thousands across the country. Our criminal justice system could use a lot of work; there are many layers to improve. It’s an underfunded and overworked system where people can fall through the cracks—underrepresented or not represented at all,” she says.

Micah also remembers completing a high school social science project: “The Effects of Solitary Confinement on One’s Mental State & Stability.” The project was instrumental in transforming her perspective on issues present at the crossroads of justice and humanity.

“I wanted to know how I could make the most impact,” she adds.

Meaningful Mentorship

Over the past several years, Micah had the privilege of shadowing multiple judges who became professional mentors; she gained invaluable knowledge from each experience.

In Spring 2019, she shadowed Judge Rizza O’Connor who—at the time—served as a magistrate judge in Vidalia, Georgia.

“She really inspired me. When I shadowed her, she was only in her 20s—a woman of color with a husband and two children. To see her with a family and very content with her success showed me a different perspective,” Micah says.

Around that time, Micah also shadowed State Judge Derek White, who was a municipal judge at the time. “I appreciated that Judge White offered appropriate consequences for the actions of offenders,” she says.

In addition, she was grateful to shadow Judge Ronald Thompson, who was an Effingham County State Judge and is now a Superior Court Judge. “He saw each situation holistically. He didn’t see each person as inherently bad; he was very fair,” Micah says.

Each opportunity afforded her a priceless amount of insight and gave her the chance to be present in the courtroom during cases; she even received copies of proceedings to review.

“I was able to see how fair they all were as judges. The shadowing experiences humanized them for me. I think an element of the criminal justice system that can get overlooked is how much of an impact judges can have,” she says.

Everyone Has a Role

Micah understands that everyone has a role to play to ensure that the justice system functions as effectively as possible.

“Of course, electing good, well-intentioned, driven politicians as representatives is important, but it’s people that are on the ground that are working day-to-day to make sure individuals are treated fairly in our criminal justice system. Every person is part of a bigger system to push things forward. Understand the effects of what you’re doing, especially when you have the honor to be in a position to make decisions that affect a lot of people,” she says.

Beyond the Call

Micah has enjoyed partnering with various outreach organizations, particularly those which share missions similar to her own. She has served as an intern for the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government Inclusion Office for two years. She has also volunteered with Family Promise of Athens to help combat homelessness in the local area.

“It’s not always about profit or big business; helping to improve the everyday lives of others and working for Georgians has been really meaningful to me,” she says.

While attending the University of Georgia, Micah served as a justice for the University Judiciary. The organization’s responsibility is to oversee university cases involving students charged with violating the student code of conduct. An all-student panel of justices is responsible for hearing arguments, reviewing evidence and making sound, impartial judgments. Micah has also served as a Legislative Fellow for Representative Spencer Frye of Athens.

Role Models and Inspirations

One of Micah’s biggest inspirations has been her Grandma—Sonja “Shug” Harris. “She is a person that I can always go to for wisdom; her advice about life and her many prayers have always kept me grounded,” Micah says.

She is especially grateful to her mom Cilvetta Youmans, an incredible role model in her life.

“My mom has always been uplifting and supportive. She is a go-getter; she has always made things happen for us. She has always made sure that we believe in ourselves,” Micah says. “My mom raised my sisters and me to be strong, independent young ladies.”

Micah has three sisters: Cianna, a recent Albany State University graduate, along with Lexsea, a freshman at Mercer University and Malaya, who is in middle school. She has one brother: ten-year-old Michael, Jr.

Micah also gives credit to someone who has always been very important to her: her dad Michael Nix. She is proud to have the strong, military veteran in her life. “He taught me a nice, firm handshake that I received compliments on all the time at the Capitol. He always referred to my sisters and me as his strong, intelligent, beautiful princesses who should always be treated as such,” she says.

Micah has tremendous regard for her teachers who were part of the Effingham College & Career Academy’s STEM program; they have been great sources of motivation for her. “Despite being part of a STEM program, my teachers championed my personal career aspirations, and they continue to do so to this day,” she says.