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Former Stanford Beach Volleyball team member and ACE in South Africa 2018 alum Amelia Smith is now a graduate student studying Healthcare Economics and Policy at Georgetown University. In this interview, she reflects on how ACE helped her gain confidence and build long-lasting relationships with other Duke and Stanford student-athletes.

What are you doing now? How did ACE influence your career?

After a cross-country move last August, I have now lived in Washington DC for a year! I am now a graduate student at Georgetown University studying Healthcare Economics and Policy concentrating in Aging. This past year I became a research assistant at the National Institute of Health studying the impact of different time-restricted eating protocols on a variety of aging biomarkers. This upcoming year I will be working in an Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons lab in Georgetown School of Medicine and doing aging policy research while I am applying to medical school.

woman and man talking at computer
Working with the women of South Africa to teach them computer skills and prepare them for job interviews.

What is one lesson you learned from ACE?

I learned many life lessons from my ACE experience but one that reoccurs often in my life is the importance of remaining confident even when you have no idea what is going on! I was recently on a walk with a friend, telling her of stories from South Africa, and she said “wait, do you know how to play rugby? How were you running a sports camp about a sport you had never played?”

I laughed and said “our whole group figured it out through a lot of excitement and smiles.” Turns out that when running a sports camp for the children of South Africa, enthusiasm is significantly more important than rugby rules.

Describe your ACE experience in as few words as possible:

A month with the highest density of fun and learning of all time.

Who have you kept up with from your ACE program?

I am incredibly grateful for the experience to not only represent Stanford Athletics in South Africa but also the opportunity to connect deeply with the Duke student-athletes. They are all remarkable people who I remain close with.