Our Team

Padideh Ala'i

Padideh Ala'i

Director, International and Comparative Legal Studies
Faculty Director, International Legal Studies Program (ILSP)
Director, Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program
Director, Trade, Investment and Development Program

Padideh Ala’i is a Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law (WCL). She specializes in international economic law, law of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and comparative legal traditions. She teaches international trade law and comparative law. Professor Alai’s scholarship has concentrated on the history of free trade, transparency obligations of the WTO and their implications on internal domestic transparency, universalizing the administrative state through the multilateral trading system, as well as good governance and evolution of international anti-corruption norms.

In August 2017, Professor Ala’i was appointed Director of International and Comparative Legal Studies and Faculty Director of the International Legal Studies Program (ILSP). In her new role, she promotes, represents, and coordinates the law school’s renowned international programs that have been consistently ranked among some of the most prestigious programs in the United States. Professor Ala’i is also the Director of the Humbert Humphrey Fellowship Program at WCL, a Fulbright program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The Program brings accomplished mid-career professionals from developing countries to the U.S for 10 months of non-degree study and professional development in the general field of law and human rights. In addition, since 2014, she has led the interdisciplinary Trade, Investment and Development Program (TID) that provides resources to students interested in linkage between trade and other disciplines such as intellectual property, environment, investment, labor and human rights.

Professor Ala’i received her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1988.

Melanija Radnovic

Melanija Radnovic

Director, WCL Abroad and International Programs

Melanija Radnovic is the Director of WCL Abroad and International Programs. In this role, she is responsible for identifying and establishing new partnerships for the law school, overseeing all law school international partnership and cooperative agreements, directing the WCL Abroad dual degree programs and the semester exchange programs, and developing and carrying out various tailored academic programs for international visitors. In addition, Melanija focuses on advising JD students on career opportunities in international law and otherwise serves as the focal point for the internationally related activities of students, faculty, visitors, and alumni. Melanija directs the International Visiting Scholars and English for Lawyers Program and teaches ILSP Externship Class for LLM Students. She previously also taught Visiting Scholars Seminar. For over twelve years now, she represents the WCL community in several domestic and international conferences focused on international legal education, study abroad, career and professional development, student wellness, cross-cultural communication, and diversity. She has collaborated with the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs on initiatives aimed to improve educational programs offered to international mid-career professionals and professionals with disabilities. Melanija has worked as a municipal court associate judge; as an independent attorney practiced in the areas of business, labor, family, and property law; and cooperated with the CIEL and several other NGOs in the DC area on a number of legal research projects related to international environmental law issues, and issues of foreign investment and trade in developing countries. Melanija has a JD from the University of Novi Sad Law School and an LL.M. in International Business and Environmental Law from American University Washington College of Law.


Rachel Gordon

Fernanda Ellenberg

Associate Director, International Legal Studies Program & Academic Programs

Fernanda Ellenberg is the Associate Director of the International Legal Studies Program (ILSP) and Academic Programs at American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL). In this role, she leads the international LL.M. programs and provides academic and student affairs advising to LL.M. students. Fernanda also serves as the bar exam advisor for all LL.M. students. In addition, Fernanda is the Associate Director of the Brazil-US Legal and Judicial Program and oversees its activities, events, and initiatives, including its annual two-day conference and customized programs.  

From June 2013 to December 2021, Fernanda managed the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program at AUWCL. Prior to joining AUWCL, Fernanda worked as a Senior Advocacy Officer at Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Human Rights, focusing on sexual minorities’ rights, the right to education, and food security. She also worked as a foreign attorney at Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP in the United States, and as an associate at Veirano Advogados in Brazil. Fernanda received her Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree from the Catholic University in Porto Alegre (PUC-RS), Brazil, and her LL.M. from Cornell Law School.

Rachel Gordon

maria Wolvin

Assistant Director, WCL Abroad
(202) 274-4228, mwolvin@wcl.american.edu


Maria is the Assistant Director of WCL Abroad. In this role, she manages education abroad initiatives for JD students, primarily focusing on international dual degree, semester exchange, and summer abroad programs. She serves as the on-site administrator for the law school’s Summer Law Program in London, Brussels, and Geneva.

Before joining the Washington College of Law, Maria was a skillful advocate with more than fourteen years of experience providing strategic counsel and advancing public policy objectives in Washington, D.C. As the head of public policy and regulatory affairs at two leading industry associations, she devised and implemented comprehensive strategies to ensure member interests were effectively represented in front of the United States Congress and federal agencies. Prior to that, Maria was an Associate in the Public Policy and Regulatory practice group at Patton Boggs (currently known as Squire Patton Boggs), working at the intersection of law and public policy. 

Maria received her JD from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and her BA from Ursinus College in Pennsylvania. She is a passionate advocate for study abroad experiences having studied at the Universiteit Leiden School of Law in the Netherlands as a law student and at the Université de Strasbourg in France as an undergraduate. Maria is a member (inactive) of the Maryland Bar and the District of Columbia Bar.

sarah kettl

sarah kettl

International Programs Coordinator
(202) 274-4112, skettl@wcl.american.edu  

Sarah Kettl is the International Programs Coordinator. In this role, she provides support to WCL's international programs, including the International LL.M. programs, International Visiting Scholars Program and the Brazil-US Legal and Judicial Studies Program. Sarah also supports communications and marketing efforts for the LL.M. programs and serves as the primary contact for LL.M. alumni relations. Prior to her current role, she served as the International & Comparative Legal Studies Coordinator.

Sarah graduated from Miami University with a Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communication and Global & Intercultural Studies, and a minor in General Business.