DURHAM, N.C. – Six Duke student-athletes were chosen to be honored by the ACC with the league's Top Six for Service Award. The accolade is presented annually to six student-athletes from each conference institution who demonstrates outstanding dedication to community service and outreach programs.
2019 National champion Virginia Elena Carta, a native of Udine, Italy, created the Birdies for Babies program in 2017 and has raised over $25,000 to support the Duke Children’s Hospital Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care units.
Brennan Besser, from Chicago, Ill., has seen much of the United States, as he completed a cross country bike ride from Seattle to New York to raise money and awareness for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD). Besser also participated in the Read with Blue Devils program and hosted free basketball camps with the Walk On America Foundation.
Other members of the award include Mickayla Hinkle (women’s swimming & diving), Nikhil Pulimood (men’s cross country), Michael Marsack (men’s track & field), Haley Schleicher (field hockey) and all the members of the men’s soccer team.
Hinkle volunteered during the Backpack 2 School event for the Durham Urban Ministries. The senior from Woodbury, Minn., also organized the Swim with the Blue Devils program this past year. Pulimood, a native of Princeton, N.J., spent a portion of his spring break in Wilmington, N.C., helping with hurricane Florence relief efforts.
A junior from Stroudsburg, Pa., Marsack volunteered at the Duke Children’s Hospital Prom and the Duke Children’s Hospital Dance-a-Thon, while also helping with the hurricane Florence relief in Wilmington, N.C.
Schleicher recruited her teammates in the first National Girls and Women In Sports Day Clinic at Duke. The junior from Virginia Beach, Va., also joined Marsack in volunteering for the Duke Children's Hospital Prom and the Duke Children’s Hospital Dance-a-Thon.
The men’s soccer team, led by its captains, volunteered at the Duke Children’s Hospital Prom and the Urban Ministries Backpack 2 School events.