Originally from Atlanta, Megan Cistulli, ’26, graduated with highest distinction from the University of California, Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and specializations in International Relations and American politics, and a minor in human rights. As an undergraduate student working as a Civil Rights Research Fellow at the Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality and Anti-Discrimination Law, she led and participated in numerous research and fellowship projects including: helping draft an amicus brief for the Harvard/UNC affirmative action case; creating edX courses including one on the Global #MeToo Movement; and co-founding the In-Formazione project for second-generation Italian students; and conducting LGBTQIA+ research on Kenya, Botswana, and Uganda. Cistulli is also the co-founder of a non-profit, Technology and Entrepreneurship Ladder, Inc. (T&E Ladder), and organization devoted to developing entrepreneurship and technology education programs for Kenyan high school students.
Please describe your professional background and path.
At UC Berkeley, I received the Muir Leadership Award, founded their nationally ranked undergraduate moot court team, and became a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Political Science Honor Society. I also served as a fellow at the Helen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies, clerk-externed for the Honorable Judge Gail Dekreon at the Superior Court of San Francisco, and worked as an editor for the UC Berkeley pre-law review. I had the opportunity to present my research at the London School of Economics.
After graduating in May 2022, I was awarded a grant from UC Berkeley’s Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program to continue research I had begun at BCCE. I spent August 2022-23 as a Postgraduate Research Fellow at Berkeley Law’s Center on Comparative Equality and Anti-Discrimination Law. I continue to work on my nonprofit, Technology & Entrepreneurship Ladder, and as a researcher at the Africa End Sexual Harassment Initiative.
Could you discuss a bit more the nonprofit that you help establish?
In June 2020, I created a Facebook account to find a college roommate, but instead of finding a roommate, I met the co-founder of my nonprofit: Technology and Entrepreneurship Ladder, Inc. (T&E Ladder). A common notion about pulling up the ladder behind oneself to get ahead in life continues to increase inequality. The aim of T&E Ladder is to raise others up and support students’ steps to success through hands-on trainings and workshops led by top software engineers, artificial intelligence experts, CEOs, founders, and the like. In the last three years, T&E Ladder has accomplished the following: an active Project Global student cohort working with students from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology; LinkedIn and resume-building workshops; coding bootcamps; working to build a Youth Innovation Hub in Webuye, Kenya; 501(c)(3) nonprofit status; and a speaker series addressing women in entrepreneurship, modern artificial intelligence, and the power of technology.
What motivated your decision to go to law school?
I want to be more than a lawyer; I want to be a changemaker. I grew to realize change takes effort, and practically speaking, I observed that significant changes take significant effort from multiple parts of society. To this end, the effort I want to affect is at the root level of how our society operates: laws, arbitration, and adjudication. I am motivated by knowing that the University of Chicago Law School, with its unbeatable legal education, unparalleled faculty, and innovative students, will equip me with the necessary tools to make a lasting, positive impact on our society.
Why did you select the University of Chicago Law School?
My mom is a scientist, and my dad is an entrepreneur. Growing up, they both inspired me to innovate, ask tough questions, think critically, and engage with multiple points of view. UChicago Law asks the same of its students, so it felt like the perfect fit.
What do you plan to do with your legal education?
After graduating from UChicago Law, I aim to clerk for a federal judge for few years before gaining appellate litigation experience. As an experienced undergraduate moot court participant, I dream of presenting oral arguments to and writing briefs for federal circuit court judges as well as Supreme Court justices. Beyond that, my goal is to serve as a federal judge or work as a United States Attorney.
What is the thing you are most looking forward to about being a law student?
Meeting a cohort of driven, passionate students who will expand my perspective, elevate my legal skills, and will hopefully become my life-long friends…
What are some of your hobbies or interests?
Outdoor adventure sports (especially hiking!), traveling and trying new cuisines, and playing basketball. A few of my favorite adventures to date include exploring Nairobi, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Maasai Mara, Mombasa, Zion, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, and London.
What is a “fun fact” about you?
I am a first-degree black belt in Taekwondo.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
My passion for open access to high quality educational platforms and overall equity in education expands beyond T&E Ladder and creating globally-available edX courses. I am currently on the board of directors for a start-up climate education nonprofit, founded by TEDx speaker Dr. Ashie Bhandiwad, called isojag (isojag means “equal world:” “Iso'” means equal, and “Jag” is a word from Sanskrit that means world).