Rancho Santa Fe resident named a 2012 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellow


Rancho Santa Fe resident Dillon Lerach, a high school junior at Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad, has been named a 2012 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellow, part of a State Department Fellowship at Wake Forest University this summer. Lerach is among 68 students, 10 from the U.S. and 58 from Eastern and Western Europe, who will examine their countries’ constitutions, regional and ethnic conflicts, social movements, and effective methods of documentary filmmaking with an aim toward social change.

Lerach was named a Fellow following a competitive application process in which GPA and extracurricular activities, essays and letters of recommendation were evaluated. Active in both academics and community, Lerach has participated in Model United Nations Conferences around the country, worked with a service learning group supporting military troops and, most recently, received the Yale Club of San Diego Book Award, established to recognize outstanding high school students for academic achievement, personal character and intellectual promise.

The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute is a month-long U.S. State Department-funded program that offers opportunities to foster relationships among youth from Europe and the United States to promote awareness of shared values in light of the global challenges of the 21st Century. The goals of the Institute are: to develop a commitment to transatlantic cooperation, to foster relationships between American and European youth from different ethnic, religious, and national groups, to promote mutual understanding between the United States and Europe/Eurasia, and to develop a cadre of youth leaders who will share their knowledge and skills with their peers through positive action.

The program is sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Benjamin Franklin, the legendary American statesman and diplomat who prized religious tolerance, social mobility and free speech, is the namesake of the program.

For more information on the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute, visit

  1. For more information about Pacific Ridge School, visit