Skip to main content

Nathaniel Hernandez

ACE in India: 2018
School
Duke University
Class
2020
Team
Swimming and Diving (Men's)
Hometown
Southlake, TX
Major(s)
Biology - Pharmacology
Minor(s) / Certificate(s)
Chemistry
Psychology
ACE Ambassador View Nathaniel's ambassador profile. View Profile
Profile View Nathaniel’s Student-Athlete profile on goduke.com

“This program is 100%, without-a-doubt worth it to me. I know that the experiences I have and the people I meet are going to change my life… I can’t wait!”

Nathaniel’s past experiences with service include tutoring elementary school children with Duke America Reads America Counts and advising younger student-athletes through the ACTION mentorship program. Nathaniel provides swimming lessons to the Durham community with Swimming with the Blue Devils, and recently had the opportunity to lead diving lessons for brand-new divers during the team’s winter Training Trip in Trinidad. Nathaniel is a Resident Assistant on-campus and currently serves as a Sophomore Class Representative and Athlete Ally Executive Board Member.

ACE Ambassador Profile

young male standing in front of taj mahal

Nathaniel is a senior on the Duke Swimming and Diving team and is from Southlake, TX. He is one of the captains of his team and is the president of Duke’s chapter of Athlete Ally. Nathaniel is very involved in the Duke community through various leadership development programs within Duke Athletics, through his roles as a Resident Assistant on campus and as a TA for an introductory psychology course, and through conducting research in a lab on campus. His time in India was spent in the city of New Delhi, primarily working in a drug rehabilitation center for juvenile delinquents operated by the organization SPYM. Volunteering abroad shifted his academic and professional goals. After seeing the negative effects of drugs (legal and illegal alike), Nathaniel wanted to explore addiction treatments and ethical medicine practices. His work in the research lab includes a project testing a new experimental therapeutic to treat opioid addiction. The ACE experience brought Nathaniel great insight, and he wishes to do his part in continuing to serve others in the same way that was encouraged throughout the program.

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

Dear Future #ACEathletes,

  • Best advice for learning about ACE: For selecting a program, I first looked at the ones that aligned with dates that I could work with over the summer, then I narrowed down programs based on my professional interests. Other people on my team had done ACE in the past, so I asked my coach for permission once I selected the program I was going to apply to! Regarding the application, the best thing that you can do is to really think hard about why you want to do ACE. Your enthusiasm for the program will shine in your application and interview if you have a strong conviction for wanting to do the program.
  • Best advice for applying for ACE: The first few days are all about adapting. I didn’t always know what to do, but I followed the instructions of my program directors. The first few days are critical to bonding with your ACE cohort. Even if you feel out-of-place, you can bond with your group over your similar feelings!
  • Best advice for getting started at your program: The first few days are all about adapting. I didn’t always know what to do, but I followed the instructions of my program directors. The first few days are critical to bonding with your ACE cohort. Even if you feel out of place, you can bond with your group over your similar feelings!
  • Tips for getting to know your community: With volunteer work as special as this kind, it is very hard not to get close with the people you are working with! My advice on building the best relationships with your community are just to be respectful of the culture you are in, and to always ask what they want from you. Since my ACE experience, I am much more in-tune with social norms in different settings from what is familiar to me, and I try to always learn and follow the customs of the place I am visiting.
  • Tips for training: The most motivating thing for staying in shape abroad is to not do it alone. Challenge your other ACE participants to come with you to the gym, or always say yes if they ask you to join! The cross training aspect is also really unique. I got to train with a large variety of sports and I became a better athlete because of it.
  • Tips for bringing ACE back to your team: Right when the school year got started, the six swimmers and divers that participated in ACE 2018 shared a PowerPoint that we made with our team and coaches. I remember that the ACE 2017 teammates did the same for us and it was a huge motivator to get me to apply!
  • Reasons for staying involved in ACE: I choose to stay involved in ACE because it is truly unlike anything I have ever experienced. It is something that I will never get tired of talking about, and hopefully those listening can get something out of it. The program has shifted the way I view the world and how my professional career shapes that world.