NCAA Womens Volleyball

ACE in Panama: Reflection Blogs

ACE in Panama: Reflection Blogs

DURHAM – With the 2024 ACE in Panama program complete, student-athletes who participated shared their final reflection blog posts on their summer experience.


Zizi Newhard, Duke fencing

“Volleyball in Spanish is “vóleibol,” pronounced nearly the same as it is in English. While this can be explained by its Latin etymology, to me, this similarity represents a third language that we used to connect with the kids throughout the week: the language of sport. It was through sports that we were able to communicate with the kids, have fun, and form friendships, even despite our language barrier. While I had initially questioned the impact we could have in a week, watching the kids learn teamwork and seeing the schools build community through volleyball reminded me of how sport fosters connection. This week not only formed new friendships and exposed me to new cultures but also reminded me of why I love sports.” Read more.

Reciprocity through the Panama Experience

Evan Brown, Duke swimming & diving

“Reciprocity is a valuable dynamic that one can use to their advantage and to benefit those around them. I would do this community work one hundred times if I could and highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to become a better person through cultural immersion. Un millón de abrazos to the communities in Panama, AMIGOS, ACE participants and ACE staff. This was truly the experience of a lifetime.” Read more.

Finding the Freedom

Kerry Keefe, Duke volleyball

“This kind of innovation reminds me of the freedom I have to be able to train hard in my sport whenever I wish – I always have the freedom to head to a gym and pick up some dumbbells or set up a net with two metal poles instead of needing to grab my axe and hunt down two perfect trees.

Ultimately, the freedom we were given on the program allowed us to bond with each other and the kids in unparalleled ways; likewise, the experiences of the experience also gave me a new appreciation for the freedoms I take for granted every day back home.” Read more.

For more information on the ACE Program, visit here.

Duke Centennial

In 2024, Duke celebrates its Centennial, marking one hundred years since Trinity College became Duke University. Duke will use this historic milestone to deepen the understanding of its history, inspire pride and strengthen bonds and…

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