Student Spotlight: Christos Strubakos


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Christos Strubakos is the first in his immediate family to attend college — and the Windsor native certainly held the torch high, earning a BA in classical studies and psychology, a M.Div., and a Ph.D. in physiology, and culminating in his current studies as a 1L Dean’s Fellow at Detroit Mercy Law School where he is particularly interested in health law and bioethics.

During undergraduate studies at the University of Windsor, Strubakos focused on the Classics: Greek and Latin language, literature, and civilization; supplementing these studies with a double major in psychology to try to understand the connection between human artistic and cultural endeavors and the neural and cognitive mechanisms that underlie them.

“I studied many of the beautiful things human beings were capable of doing and creating—art, literature, social and economic systems, inquiry into the nature of the physical world and discussions penetrating deeply into the metaphysical one as well,” he says.

“My studies in the classics and my master’s in theology were driven by a deep-set need to understand the human experience as related by people who are fundamentally different from me but with whom I share a common humanity. By studying the Ancient World, I learned human life is infinitely rich and infinitely varied and manifests itself not in the abstract, but in particular human lives, each of which bring to the table a new experience, a new way of looking at the world – yet people far removed by time and distance have more in common with us than we might initially believe.

“This tension between the abstract and the tangible is what led me into the study of the law.”

Human experience, he notes, is punctuated with difficulties.

“While there is beauty in our condition, there is also struggle, and a rewarding life is achievable only while working in the service of others – especially when they are at their most vulnerable,” he says.

Wanting to alleviate human suffering, Strubakos mulled a career in the medical field; but rather than in clinical medicine, he went into medical research and a Ph.D. in medicine with a specialization in neurophysiology from the Wayne State School of Medicine.

His particular interest was in translational stroke research, working at the Henry Ford Health System. During graduate school he spearheaded a novel therapy for stroke patients, intensely working on his doctoral project that he successfully defended in August 2018.

“Exciting results were discovered and the therapy has not only been published in a prestigious medical journal but will shortly be undergoing clinical trials for testing in real people,” he says.

Since getting his Ph.D., Strubakos has been teaching courses as a professor at his alma mater, the University of Windsor, including Introduction to Ancient Greek, and undergraduate Neuropsychology, and supervising graduate assistants.

“It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” he says. “The daily interaction with young, excited students has pushed me to further refine and clarify my thinking as well as refine my communication skills as I try to distill complex into manageable pieces that can be understood and appreciated by the non-specialist.”

While Strubakos greatly enjoyed his academic pursuits, he realized what he had fallen in love with was not the content of thought but its very process.

“Harnessing the reasoning, analytic, and communication skills I’d developed over my academic career and applying them to an infinite number of real-world scenarios was my calling,” he says.

It was this desire to apply the theoretical to the practical and to better the lives of others that led him to the study of the law— “A decision from which I haven’t looked back,” he says.

He notes classical literature, theology and biomedical science may seem to be on opposite poles of the spectrum of human knowledge, yet are more related than what meets the eye.

“The same reasoning abilities are applicable to all—seeing the big picture, recognizing the connection between disparate parts, generating a testable hypothesis, forming an argument in favor of that hypothesis that is backed up by data and research, clearly and convincingly communicating your results, and, applying all of the above to understanding the human condition and bettering it,” he says, adding that in his 1L year he was excited to discover these are the same skills needed to practice the law.

“Detroit Mercy Law has been the ideal environment for me to thrive and being a Dean’s Fellow has afforded me the opportunity to make like-minded friends within the program who challenge me and motivate me to further refine my critical reasoning and communication skills,” he says. “I look forward to applying what I’ve learned to the practice of the law and am grateful to be a young part of this fascinating field.”



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