Scholar Profiles

Leland Ben

Campus: Duke
Hometown: Loudonville, NY
High School: Choate Rosemary Hall

Leland Ben, a graduate of Choate Rosemary Hall, is pursuing a double-major in Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and in Russian language and culture. At Duke, Leland has served on the Robertson Community Council and is a senior member of The (Duke) Chronicle’s editorial board. His academic interests and research largely focus on the Russian-speaking world. In 2018, Leland attended a diplomatic trip with U.S. Senator Rand Paul and board members of the Cato Institute, a US-based policy think tank, to the Russian Federation, supported in part by a grant from the Robertson program. His thesis will explore the impact of Russian-language news media in the former Soviet Republics.

Outside of the Duke, UNC, and Robertson communities, Leland is actively involved in politics and healthcare-focused startups. During the 2018 midterm elections, he worked as a press intern and original team member at With Honor, a bi-partisan super PAC that worked to elect armed services veterans to Congress. Recently, Leland became one of the youngest recurring online contributors at Fox News Media, America’s most visited online news organization and highest-rated cable network, where his articles appear on the opinion page. Finally, Leland serves on the business development oversight team of a Boston-based biotechnology company that develops revolutionary protein detection and analysis platforms.”

What drew you to the Robertson Program? 

I came across the Robertson Program when I was applying to Duke and researching the school. Unlike any program at other universities, I was blown away by the Robertson’s focus on identifying and developing leadership skills and character traits of those students looking to make a difference across a wide range of fields–whether it be in the world of finance or the non-profit sector. Furthermore, the resources the program provides to students to undertake personal development initiatives in the summer is simply unparalleled.

Ben Leland 2021