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By Josh O'Leary
Always a Hawkeye Q&A: Michael Appel
Michael Appel

He may work in Silicon Valley, but six years after earning his law degree from the UI, Michael Appel (10BS, 13JD) remains deeply rooted at his alma mater. The political science and law school alumnus recently took a break from his day at Google's corporate communications office to talk about his love of Iowa City, his advice for recent graduates, and his work with the UI's Alumni Leadership Council.

The Basics

  • Age: 30
  • Current city: San Francisco
  • Hometown: Coralville
  • Profession: Communications manager for Google

Four Questions

  • How did you land your job at Google?

I was working as a crisis management consultant at a Washington, D.C. consulting firm when a recruiter for Google reached out to me on LinkedIn.

  • What motivates you?

Solving problems to make a positive impact and meeting great people along the way.

  • How did the UI prepare you for your career?

The classes I took challenged me and forced me to defend and evolve my thinking. I also sought opportunities across campus to become more involved and pursue interests of mine. I focused on mock trial, student government, and the honors program. After some time, I volunteered for leadership roles—captain of a mock trial team, honors peer mentor, resident assistant in Daum, and student government leadership. In these roles, I helped lead wonderful organizations and learned so much while working with colleagues, UI administrators, and elected officials.

Finally, throughout undergrad and law school, I worked diligently to develop mentors on campus. I found great people who were willing to share their life and career experiences and answer endless questions about my evolving career interests.

  • How do you stay connected with the UI?

When I graduated I was worried that I could only remain close to the university with monetary gifts. While donations are extremely important, there are thankfully a number of other ways to stay involved with the UI community. You can mentor students, hire interns, submit ideas to the UI Center for Advancement, and join committees and organizations like the Alumni Leadership Council or the UI Admissions ASIST program. In fact, I recently joined the new Alumni Leadership Council, which is focused on alumni engagement across the country. I am also working with the UI Center for Advancement on setting up a system to better engage recent graduates.

When we are at home, my partner and I love to go to football game watches and other IOWA Club events. And, of course, when we can, it is great to visit Iowa City and catch up with friends.

My Favorite...

  • Hobby: Tennis
  • Possession: Tennis racquets
  • Actor: Meryl Streep
  • Piece of advice: Network, network, network
  • Source of inspiration: The opportunity to always do better
  • Stress reliever: Tennis, yoga, running, lifting, and vacations
  • Iowa City hangout: The Pentacrest and Ped Mall
  • UI memory: There are so many. Meeting my partner of nine years at Marco's Grilled Cheese. Living with two of my best friends senior year. Watching the Hawks win at the Orange Bowl with a huge group of friends. And serving as vice president and president of the graduate and professional student government.
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