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Brandon Leynaud

ACE in China: 2017
Duke University
Wrestling (Men's)
Lexington, OH
Minor(s) / Certificate(s)
Neuroscience; Psychology
Profile View Brandon’s Student-Athlete profile on

Last summer I worked the whole time. When I saw the opportunity that ACE provides to go serve underprivileged youth I thought to myself, I have plenty of time to work after college but only a few chances like this to help others less fortunate than me. It’s a privilege to engage in the opportunities that Duke provides and take advantage of those opportunities while sharing the joy of athletics and exchanging cultures with others. ACE is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life

As part of the ACE in China program, participants will contribute to the sustainable development of underserved communities through youth environmental education and sports while learning about conservation and preservation in Yunnan Province.

Brandon’s past experiences with service include advising first-year student-athletes as an ACTION Mentor; volunteering with the “Lookin’ for a Cure 5K” against ocular melanoma; serving as a Duke Eco-Rep; and involvement with the Blue Blood Wrestling Club youth camp, Sophomore Outdoor Leadership Experience (S.O.L.E.), and Blue Devils Against Cancer.

ACE Ambassador Profile

ACE participant high fives kids

Brandon is a current junior on the Duke Wrestling Team. Brandon is from Lexington, Ohio and is currently seeking a degree in Sociology with minors in Neuroscience and Psychology.He enjoys the exploring different environments, helping others, and learning and experiencing new things. Naturally, the ACE China program fit him perfectly by combining all of those activities. The ACE program allowed Brandon to build on his leadership skills by testing and physically applying his ability to be flexible, openminded, and responsible. ACE has encouraged Brandon to continue to work with kids as he is currently volunteering at Bull City Fit in Durham. Brandon’s time in China allowed him to reflect on himself as a person and understand the importance of inner-harmony and giving back to the world. The relationships and the memories created with the Duke and Stanford athletes, the ACE and VIA program staff, as well as the students from the Shangri-La village are experiences that will never leave Brandon.

Want to hear more about Brandon’s ACE experience? Contact Brandon.

Dear Future #ACEathletes,

  • Best advice for learning about ACE: My number one advice for picking the right program for you is to attend the online presentation by each programs director. I really got the insight on what each program’s main purpose was and what we would be doing during our time there.
  • Best advice for applying for ACE: For me, the most helpful resource was talking to my teammate who did the program in a previous year and getting advice for the application and interview process.
  • Best advice for getting started at your program: When starting your first few days for ACE, one of the best things to do in order to gain the most during this time is to keep an open mind and immerse yourself into the culture.
  • Tips for getting to know your community: The people in the community you work in are just as curious about your story as you are of theirs so don’t be afraid to start a conversation with some of the locals.
  • Tips for training: While in China, we always had time put aside for working out so whether it was going on a run around the lake, yoga, band workouts, or on days we would go to the gym we always had plenty of time to stay I shape.
  • Tips for bringing ACE back to your team: When I came back to school I sat down with my coach and talked about the whole experience and thanked him for recommending me. Bringing it up with other teammates was easy because the experiences I had in China were so memorable I often would naturally just start talking about it.
  • Reasons to stay involved in ACE: I stay involved with ACE because it was my greatest memory of Duke and will stay with me forever and I want others to continue the program and have similar memories. The program has given me memories and skills that I will keep with me well after Duke.