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Courtesy: Duke Photography
Rubenstein-Bing ACE Program Enters Fourth Year
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 04/10/2019
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DURHAM, N.C. – Twenty student-athletes from both Duke and Stanford are set to represent the Rubenstein-Bing Student-Athlete Civic Engagement (ACE) Program this summer. Now in its fourth year, the program provides one-time funding for student-athletes to engage in a three-week international service project, and the first of four overseas initiatives will begin June 15.

During the application process, student-athletes from each institution selected one of four international sites – Vietnam, South Africa, China or Peru, and each location provides a unique service-based focus.

For the summer of 2019, 40 student-athletes have been accepted into programs located in China, South Africa, Vietnam and, for the first time this year, Peru. Each of the four programs will offer full-time volunteer placements for 10 ACE student-athlete participants (5 from Duke and 5 from Stanford). In addition to their service-placements, student-athletes will engage in reflection with onsite program staff and immersive enrichment activities to learn more about the history, culture and issues facing the communities in which they are serving.

The launch of the Peru program for summer 2019 marks the first time the ACE program line-up has changed since the program’s inception in 2016.  During their three weeks in Cusco, Peru, ACE participants will work closely with a number of local partners and will be involved in a variety of conservation, education, and community development activities.  This is also the program’s first service opportunity that takes place in a Spanish-speaking region, thus allowing ACE participants to begin or continue developing their Spanish language skills. All ACE in Peru participants will receive onsite language training. As Cusco sits around 11,000 feet above sea level, the program site will also offer unique training opportunities for ACE student-athletes.

Student-athletes traveling to South Africa will assist in running a sports-focused school holiday program for children in the informal community of Nomzamo Township, along with other projects according to local need. Those making the trip to Vietnam are scheduled to teach academics, sports and life skills to students at under-resourced middle schools with a focus on mentorship and promoting higher education.

At the China site, student-athletes will coach sports camps and lead education-focused workshops for local village children in a minority population area near Shangri-La located in southwestern China. The student-athletes participating in the Peru site will promote environmental sustainability through water conservation infrastructure projects and broad-based education in communities surrounding Cusco, Peru.

In February 2014, Duke's Board of Trustee's, chaired by Duke alumnus David Rubenstein, traveled to Palo Alto, Calif., and met with officials from Stanford to determine opportunities for collaboration between the two institutions. The challenging schedules of student-athletes, which make participating in off-campus activities such as study abroad programs difficult, was identified as an issue the two universities could work together on in order to develop a solution, leading to the genesis of ACE. The ACE program was officially announced in Spring 2015.

For additional information on each of the 40 student-athletes participating in the ACE Program, visit www.ace.duke.edu.

Duke Student-Athletes Participating in the 2019 ACE Program
South Africa – June 15-July 6
Jameson Kavel – Softball
Jazmine Moreno – Softball
Sarah Nelson – Volleyball
Lindsay Sapienza – Fencing
Michael Ungvarsky – Cross Country, Track & Field

Vietnam – June 20-July 14
Daniel Karlin – Football
Ema Kuczura – Rowing
Michaela Reinhart – Cross Country, Track & Field
Peyton St. George – Softball
Aaron Wright – Football

China – July 13-August 3
Madison Dunk – Lacrosse
Matthias Frick – Soccer
Nathaniel Hartley – Swimming & Diving
Alex Miley – Cross Country, Track & Field
Josh Romine – Cross Country, Track & Field

Peru – July 20-August 10
Amanda Beach – Cross Country, Track & Field
Josh Finesilver – Wrestling
Brittany Kampfer – Swimming & Diving
Carly Perri – Swimming & Diving
Esteban Suarez – Track & Field

About the Rubenstein-Bing Student-Athlete Civic Engagement (ACE) Program 
The Rubenstein-Bing Student-Athlete Civic Engagement (ACE) Program provides one-time funding for accepted Duke and Stanford student-athletes to participate in three-week, immersive summer service experiences with an international community partner.   Each summer, 40 ACE student-athletes — 20 Blue Devils and 20 Cardinal — will participate in one of four international group programs with diverse service themes including health outreach, education, environmental sustainability and conservation, social enterprise, coaching, and more. ACE is a joint collaboration between Duke and Stanford Athletic Departments, as well as DukeEngage at Duke and the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford. The program, now in its third year, is made possible by the generous support of David Rubenstein and Peter and Helen Bing.

After their ACE experiences, student-athletes have the opportunity to give back to the program by serving as ACE Ambassadors and promoting the program among their teammates and peers and helping the next ACE team prepare for their experience. Thirty-seven past ACE participants volunteered to serve as ACE Ambassadors during the 2018-2019 academic year, representing the 2016, 2017, and 2018 cohorts. Nineteen Ambassadors are from Stanford and 18 are from Duke.

Additional details are available on the program website: www.ace.duke.edu.

WHY STUDENT-ATHLETES?

Duke and Stanford developed ACE to provide student-athletes with an opportunity for experiential learning, similar to the innovative DukeEngage and Cardinal Quarter service-immersion programs, but better tailored to student-athletes’ schedules. The ACE program is a reflection of Duke and Stanford’s shared mission of public service and desire to collaborate with peer institutions. Today, ACE remains the first and only two-university collaborative international service program designed specifically for student-athletes.

Jameson Kavel (’21), Duke Softball, ACE in South Africa 2019: “ACE provides the amazing opportunity to engage with different communities and cultures and to serve them while challenging me to grow as an individual as well. ACE will give me leadership and teamwork skills that I can bring back to my own team and the Duke community.”

                Jameson's past experience with service includes two mission trips to Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic as well as tutoring elementary school children as part of a Duke service-learning course. She also is a part of Athletes in Action, a faith-based group on campus. With the Duke Softball team, Jameson has participated in various volunteer opportunities, including helping with the Boys and Girls Club, cleaning up local parks, and visiting nursing homes.

Josh Romine (’21), Duke Men’s Cross Country and Men’s Track & Field, ACE in China 2019: “The ACE program provides an incredible opportunity to immerse myself in a culture different than my own. I couldn't pass up the chance to work with other Duke and Stanford student-athletes to both serve and learn from the community in Shangri-La.”

               Josh's past experience with service includes volunteer work with local elementary schools, serving as an ACTION mentor for freshman student-athletes at Duke, and Boy Scouts. For his Eagle Scout project, Josh designed and built a disc golf course at his high school.

WHEN & WHERE ARE THEY GOING?

For the summer of 2019, 40 student-athletes have been accepted into programs located in China, South Africa, Vietnam and, for the first time this year, Peru. Each of the four programs will offer full-time volunteer placements for 10 ACE student-athlete participants (5 from Duke and 5 from Stanford). In addition to their service-placements, student-athletes will engage in reflection with onsite program staff and immersive enrichment activities to learn more about the history, culture and issues facing the communities in which they are serving.

  • ACE in South Africa 2019     
    Program dates: June 15-July 6
    Student-athletes will assist in running a sports-focused school holiday program for children in the informal community of Nomzamo Township near Gordon’s Bay, along with other projects according to local need.

  • ACE in Vietnam 2019           
    Program dates: June 20-July 14
    Student-athletes will serve alongside a team of Vietnamese college students, teaching academics, sports, and life skills to middle school youth at a summer camp in rural Vietnam, with a focus on mentorship and promoting higher education.

  • ACE in China 2019  
    Program dates: July 13-August 3
    Student-athletes will coach sports camps and lead education-focused workshops for local village children in a minority population area near Shangri-La located in Yunnan Province in southwestern China.

  • ACE in Peru 2019
    Program dates: July 20-August 10
    Student-athletes will promote environmental sustainability through water conservation infrastructure projects and broad-based education in communities surrounding Cusco, Peru.

WHO ARE THE ACE 2019 STUDENT-ATHLETES?

In March 2019, the 40 accepted student-athletes received notification of their summer placements. So far, 19 different Duke teams and 26 different Stanford teams have been represented in the ACE program since 2016. This year, 13 Duke teams and 20 Stanford teams are represented. Four teams are sending their first ACE participants in 2019: Duke Softball and Stanford Men’s Tennis, Women’s Volleyball, and Men’s Swimming & Diving. Student-athlete profiles are available on the ACE website: www.ace.duke.edu.

One-half of ACE 2019 participants reported that ACE is their first significant international experience. Sixty percent are involved in group service activities with their sports teams. Leading up to the experience, ACE 2019 participants reported being engaged in about 25 hours of service per academic year, with their teams, with other on-campus groups, and individually.

Duke’s ACE 2019 Participants

Stanford’s ACE 2019 Participants

  • Areta Buness (’19, Co-Term ‘20) – Lacrosse – China
  • Jordan  Fong (‘22) – Women’s Track & Field – China
  • Michaela Gordon (’21) – Women’s Tennis – South Africa
  • Jenna Gray (’20) – Women’s Volleyball, Women’s Track & Field – Vietnam
  • Morgan Hentz   (’20) – Women’s Volleyball, Beach Volleyball – Vietnam
  • Jack Herkert (’21) – Men’s Track & Field – Vietnam
  • Hannah Howell (’20) – Softball – South Africa
  • Caitlin Keefe (’20) – Women’s Volleyball – South Africa
  • Emily Klingaman (‘22) – Softball – Peru
  • Kate Littlejohn (‘22) – Women’s Rowing – China
  • Kelsey McGinley (’22) – Women’s Rowing – Peru
  • Mia Paulsen (’21) – Women’s Swimming & Diving – Peru
  • Isabelle Pilson (‘22) – Field Hockey – Vietnam
  • Timothy Sah (’21) – Men’s Tennis – Vietnam
  • Emily Schultz (’22) – Softball – Peru
  • Taylor Scornavacco – (‘21) Lacrosse – Peru
  • Carolina Sculti   (’22) Women’s Swimming & Diving – China
  • Noah Vigran (‘22) – Men’s Swimming & Diving – China
  • Sunny Villapando (’21) – Beach Volleyball – South Africa
  • Blake Wilson (‘22) – Men’s Gymnastics – South Africa

THE BIG PICTURE: IMPACTS OF ACE

Surveys of ACE 2018 participants have shown that volunteer immersion through ACE develops student-athletes’ cultural knowledge and understanding of global issues. ACE also increases student-athletes’ knowledge of service through experience with experts in the local community. ACE 2018 participants engaged in over 500 hours of service in their first semester/quarter back on campus, or about 13 hours per student.

Along with developing participants’ global awareness, the ACE program also allows student-athletes to apply and build on their leadership and teamwork skills. A majority of ACE 2018 student-athletes reported improvement in their self-confidence, ability to collaborate, and ability to lead in challenging conditions.

Reflections from past participants:

“During our meals we often spend time trading stories about our different experiences as Duke and Stanford athletes, and it’s remarkable how much we all have in common. Being at 11,000 feet of elevation, it’s easy to talk yourself out of doing a workout. Having a group of other motivated student-athletes around you makes getting through that last mile, rep, or repeat that much easier.” – Haley Schleicher (’20), Duke Field Hockey; Veronica Brtek (’20), Duke Women’s Cross Country and Women’s Track & Field; Mikaela Watson (’20), Stanford Women’s Lacrosse – ACE in China 2018

“I have learned about what being a teacher means, as well as skills to make me a better one. What I have learned during this past week is that being a teacher means maintaining an atmosphere of mutual respect, no matter the age or identity of the student.” – Kayla McCoy (’19), Duke Women’s Soccer, ACE in South Africa 2018

“As I reflect on our time in South Africa, I can say with conviction that I will carry my experiences working in the Nomzamo township with me for life.” – Taylor Lallas (’21), Stanford Women’s Tennis, ACE in South Africa 2018

“The positivity and focus radiated by the children inspires me and fills me with a special feeling. The best feeling in the world. I hope to continue to help them push themselves so that they can inch closer towards achieving their goals; little do they know they are pushing me closer towards recognizing and achieving mine.” – Eoin Gronningsater (’20), Duke Men’s Fencing, ACE in Vietnam 2018

NOTES

Blog posts written by the student-athletes during the program will be available throughout the summer via: https://ace.duke.edu/program-blogs/. Weekly “ACE Roundup” emails will be sent throughout the ACE summer highlighting students’ blog posts and providing program updates. To sign up, please contact ACEAthletes@duke.edu.

Photographs and video footage of the program will be available following the summer. In the fall, ACE participants are available to share new perspectives and experiences from their summers of service. Duke and Stanford Athletic departments will facilitate photo and interview requests.

FOLLOW ACE ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

Instagram: DukeStanfordACE; @ACEAthletes
Twitter: Duke & Stanford ACE Program; @ACEAthletes
Facebook: Rubenstein-Bing Student-Athlete Civic Engagement Program; @dukestanfordACE
YouTube: Rubenstein-Bing Student-Athlete Civic Engagement (ACE) Program
Summer 2019 Hashtags: #ACEathletes, #ACEinPeru, #ACEinChina, #ACEinVietnam, #ACEinSouthAfrica #GoingForTheGood

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