Maren Hulden’s passion for education spawned a real-life adventure during her two-year stint with Teach for America before she decided to apply to Columbia Law School. Hulden was charged with developing a curriculum for a new public school in a South Texas border town where she taught sixth grade students struggling to improve on below average reading skills. “I loved everything about teaching,” Hulden says. “But as I developed the curriculum, making sure all the different lines of thought and topics made sense seemed as if it might be a lot like law school.”
After enrolling at the Law School, Hulden helped to co-found the Education Law and Policy Society. As a second-year student, she co-chaired the society and served as president of the High School Law Institute, a Law School student-run organization that offers legal instruction to New York City high school students on Saturdays. The course sessions focus on basic legal concepts and the program recently added a moot court component.
This year, Hulden worked with the Child Advocacy Clinic, helping young people aging out of foster care in their interactions with housing agencies, educational institutions, public assistance, and other issues they face. She credits Professor Jane N. Spinak for helping her develop the skills necessary to offer sound advice in those settings. “Professor Spinak structured the program in a way to give us enough independence to figure things out on our own,” she says. Hulden also worked with Professor James S. Liebman’s Center for Public Research and Leadership on consulting projects at K-12 schools in New York City this year.
After graduation, Hulden will clerk for Judge David Hamilton at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. And she has not ruled out another stint in academia, after engaging with legal scholarship as Editor-in-Chief of the Columbia Law Review. “My mom is a nurse and my dad is a pastor,” she says. “They set up their whole lives to give back to the community, so that is my nature. That’s how I wound up in leadership, and I’d like to be thinking through ways to solve problems in education.”