Pepperdine School of Law's Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution has a history of drawing students and professionals from throughout the world to study the program's unique curriculum. In its 25 years of existence, and with its eight-year stint at the top of the US News & World Report ranking for dispute resolution programs, Straus has hosted nine academic scholars associated with both the Fulbright and Muskie fellowship programs. These scholars stem from diverse backgrounds in Germany, El Salvador, Egypt, Panama, Tunisia, the Czech Republic, and Moldova.
The Fulbright Program is an international educational exchange program sponsored by the United States government, and is designed to promote positive relationships between Americans and citizens of other countries. Similarly, the Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program promotes involvement with the United States among scholars from Eurasia.
Both programs are highly competitive, and seek to include individuals with the highest standards of research and academia.
This year, Straus has welcomed three additional internationally recognized scholars to the Malibu campus, continuing its legacy as one of the top dispute resolution programs in the country.
Yazmina Batista – Fulbright Scholar
A native of Panama, Yazmina Batista completed her undergraduate work at the University of Panama before continuing her education and earning her law degree from the Latin American University of Science and Technology in 2007.
Upon graduating, Batista began working for the district attorney's office in Panama, specifically focusing on juvenile cases.
Since her career began, the now 28-year-old began noticing a need in her home country for lawyers who specialize in alternative dispute resolution. She heard from a fellow Fulbright scholar and Straus Institute alumnus, Benito Vega, also a native of Panama, about the unique program offered by Pepperdine.
She was accepted into both the Fulbright and Straus programs, and, since beginning her studies in California in August, has been working as an intern with the Ventura County Public Defender's Office, focusing specifically on criminal cases. When she completes the one-year program, Batista plans to return to Panama and the district attorney's office.
Elena Seryapina – Fulbright Scholar
Elena Seryapina graduated with the equivalent of a juris doctor from South Ural State University in her home country of Russia in 2009, focusing much of her studies on civil law and commercial law.
The now 25-year-old began working as a corporate transactional lawyer for OAO Fortum, an international energy production corporation that contracts work to large power plants.
Due to its high volume of contracts, OAO Fortum began requiring a greater need for skills in arbitration and dispute resolution. Seryapina reached out to the Fulbright Program and to the Straus Institute, and, upon her acceptance, took an academic leave of absence from her position in Russia to complete the program.
Oleksandr Volkov – Muskie Scholar
Oleksandr Volkov's native Ukraine is in the process of developing international and national arbitration and dispute resolution tactics to incorporate into its judiciary system, filling a void in what Volkov says is a field that needs improvement.
The 24-year-old completed his law degree from Yaroslav The Wise National Law Academy of Ukraine, and works as an associate with Shkrebets and Partners LLC. He has maintained an interest in strengthening the legal system in his home country.
Volkov says the sophisticated faculty, curriculum, and library are what drew him to choose the Straus Institute. More specifically, Volkov was impressed by the opportunities provided by the Institute to gain the experience and skills he will need when he returns to the Ukraine.