Alumni Spotlight: Ludovica Pizzichelli, Class of 2016

I have so many treasured memories of my time at John Cabot University. I went through a lot of loss during my college years, but I was always surrounded by so many loving and caring friends. Even though we are all spread over the world now, we never miss a chance to meet up when we’re in the same city at the same time. This also goes for my fellow graduates who I didn’t know well at the time; today, we have formed friendships and bonded over our similar JCU experience.

My Background

I was born in Rome, Italy, but my family moved to the United States when I was about five years old. I grew up there until I returned to Rome for college. As I was trying to figure out what my post-high school plans would be, I did some research on schools in Rome. I had been thinking about going back for a while, and college seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so.

As I enrolled, I was torn between studying history and international affairs. My uncle, with whom I was very close, had always encouraged me to study international affairs, so when he passed away right after I started college, I knew that was exactly what I was going to do. I ended up falling in love with the field of human rights, and that eventually led me to study law.

Family and Friends in Rome

One of the best parts of my time in Rome was that I got to live with my nonni (grandparents). Although mine was somewhat of an unconventional college experience (not many college students live with their grandparents!), I wouldn’t change it for anything. About a year after I graduated, my nonno passed away. But I feel so blessed that I had those three years with him. I will never forget my graduation at Villa Aurelia with my mom, nonna, and nonno all there with me. It is a memory I will treasure forever.

Another great part of JCU is the friends I made there. I remember feeling excited to get to campus so I could hang out with my friends between and after classes. We would grab a pizza before our 1:30 classes or an aperitivo at the end of the day. I met people who, like me, were multicultural with their own quirks and passions, who had lived in different parts of the world. It felt like I was finally understood. Growing up in the United States, I was “the Italian,” and when I would come to Italy to visit in the summer as a kid I was “l’americana.” But at JCU, I was just me. There aren’t many other schools in the world where I would feel the same.

John Cabot Memories

Additionally, one thing I especially loved about JCU was the incredible professors. They care about their students, many are activists and experts in their field, and now I am grateful to call some of them my friends. Whenever I go back to Rome, I always make time to grab a coffee or a drink with a former professor or two. We keep in touch, and I send them updates and papers occasionally.

When I tell my friends here in the U.S., they think it’s weird. But in Trastevere, it’s normal to see your professor at Pimm’s or to stop and say hello when they’re at a coffee shop near campus. The professors at JCU always inspired me to be hungry for knowledge, stay humble, and be critical of the world around me. Without the Socratic method of Professor Bailey, or the public speaking advice of Professor Connelly, or the motivation and support I received from Professors Castelli, Clough-Marinaro, and Harris, I’m not sure I would have had the confidence and drive I needed to apply to law school.

Moreover, I absolutely loved the Student Services office. I always felt so much support from them throughout my time at JCU. They encouraged me to come out of my shell and join several clubs on campus. My experience with STAND and the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center really inspired me to devote my life to providing legal services for those who need it most. I also believe it helped me become a better organizer, a skill I still use today.


After graduating from JCU, I worked as an intern over the summer for Amnesty International Italia. After that, I moved back to the U.S. and began applying for law school. During that time, I was a volunteer with Crisis Text Line and a substitute teacher at Bryan ISD. The summer before attending law school, I went back to Rome and interned at Joel Nafuma Refugee Center.

Today, I am a candidate for Juris Doctor at Southern Methodist University – Dedman School of Law in Dallas, Texas. Since starting law school, I’ve interned at Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, UNICRI in Rome, Mosaic Family Services, the National Labor Relations Board Region 16 in Fort Worth, and now I’m an Equal Justice America Fellow in Dallas for the summer. At JCU I really fostered this passion for helping others, and that passion is what drove me to law school. After law school, I hope to work in a nonprofit doing labor, employment, and immigration legal work for indigent workers in the community.

I am also happy to be a JCU Alumni Ambassador! This means that I am a point of contact if and when a JCU student or alumnus is in my area. I also welcome any students who are interested in going to law school in the United States after John Cabot to ask any questions they would like–I am always happy to answer them!

Ludovica Pizzichelli
Class of 2016
International Affairs Major and Psychology Minor
Grew up in Rome, Colorado, and Texas

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