Brandeis Inside Out: David Benger '14

For David Benger, campus connections have been a valuable resource beyond graduation

David Benger '14

What happens when you combine a passion for international affairs with a healthy dollop of faculty mentoring and personalized career advice?

At Brandeis, it’s proven to be a winning recipe. Just ask David Benger ’14, a newly minted Schwarzman Scholar. In August, he will join an inaugural group of more than 100 Schwarzman scholars worldwide to study in an intensive, yearlong master’s program at Beijing’s Tsinghua University.

Benger knew he wanted to study politics from the moment he stepped onto the Brandeis campus as a first-year student, but it wasn't until he spent a year in The Hague that he understood where he wanted to concentrate those studies.

“I became fascinated with the political forces acting upon international courts,” he says. “I decided I wanted to work at the intersection of international courts, human rights courts and policy making.”

As a Brandeis undergrad he worked with the Office of Academic Services, eventually winning a Schiff Fellowship and several other grants. After graduation, he sought out academic services again for guidance on landing a postgraduate fellowship in international affairs. He had his mind set on finding a European program, but with the help of the academics services staff, he ended up gravitating to the other side of the globe.

“To be one of the first people to explore China’s role on the international justice stage is an exciting opportunity,” says Benger, who majored in politics and Russian studies and was the Genesis Alumni Scholar. He says professor Richard GaskinsProskauer Chair in Law and Social Welfare, and professor of Russian Irina Dubinina, were critical in fostering his interest in international affairs and that he continues to stay in touch with them.

A willingness to personalize education and make unlikely connections is common at Brandeis, Benger says.

“There is a wonderful culture of collaboration, even in places you don't think are possible or likely.”

Categories: Alumni, Humanities and Social Sciences, International Affairs, Student Life

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