Student Affairs - Fostering Student Learning and Success

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Photo of Nebula Li wearing a black cardigan, red and white collared shirt, and red bowtie. Nebula is smiling and standing in front of a large window that overlooks a cityscape.

(Chicago, IL)

Current employment and/or volunteer work:

Nebula works at Domestic Violence Legal Clinic as a Staff Attorney, on behalf of domestic violence survivors.  Before starting at DVLC, Nebula worked at Community Activism Law Alliance, where they practiced immigration and family law in partnership with various activist community organizations, and supervised a legal clinic in Little Village, a Chicago neighborhood with over 20,000 undocumented residents.  Nebula also worked at Legal Council for Health Justice (formerly known as AIDS Legal Council of Chicago), Shiller*Preyar Law Offices, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago and Justice for Our Neighbors.  At Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago, Nebula also worked as a community organizer, mobilizing over 4,000 immigrant voters across the Chicagoland area.  

Nebula graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 2011. During law school, they participated in the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic’s Criminal & Juvenile Justice Project where they defended children in criminal court.  Nebula also interned at Immigration Equality and Harvard Immigrant & Refugee Clinic/Greater Boston Legal Services.  They earned the University of Chicago President’s Volunteer Service Award in addition to being a Law School Leadership Fellow. Nebula was also a member of the 2012 class of the “20 under 40,” Just The Beginning Foundation’s recognition for 20 attorneys under the age of 40 across the country who reach back and lift up their communities.  

Nebula currently is an active member, and former core member in Invisible 2 Invincible: Asian/Pacific Islander Pride of Chicago (i2i). 

Graduated UNC 2007 with BA in political science and was the keynote speaker at UNC-CH's 2017 Lavender Graduation.

Suggestions/recommendations for current UNC students regarding career preparation, job searches, or career success:
Don't take anything for granted. Don't feel pressured to pick your career, but try and find a mentor who can help you figure out what you like doing and how to get paid to do it.  Even going to law school isn't a given anymore - try and find what makes you happy, and focus on it as much as you can. You can always change it later - just try and keep focused on one issue at a time.

What do you know now that you wish you would have known as a UNC student?

As a UNC student, I feel like I would like to have known more about social media and how to protect my information.  I would say to try and be self-aware and analytical while maintaining a healthy activist or work/life balance.  Know that no matter what your biological or birth family says, that you are valuable and that you will eventually find your chosen family, even if it takes you 5 years to find after UNC.  Know that things will get better if you just stick to those who value and respect you, and are on the same wavelength.  Know that there are queer people of color, that there are queer immigrants, that there are queer folks who are undocumented, that there are straight allies in all of these communities.  Know that you never, ever, ever have to defend your gender presentation or your body and that you don't have to be a spokesperson for everyone like you - but if you choose to do so, that you will find others who will take you in with open arms.  Know that you don't need to come out to be brave - that you can be brave and resilient - through just forcing yourself out of bed to attend class when you feel like the weight of the world is on top of your body and that you're so unhappy you can't move.  Know that you are more than your grades, that you are more than your labels (but that you should wear them if you feel good when you do so), that you must make yourself happy and to not give into what even your family might have told you. Know that simply existing is an act of revolution, and even if you’re a scientist or an econ major or a business major or a medical student or a part time parent getting your journalism degree – know that simply continuing to live is a brave act of resilience in a world that tells us that we do not belong.

I would be willing to be a resource to students by…
Providing information/advice about my current career area