This year marks five years of ACE programming. We’re celebrating by looking back at our first year programs, reflecting with our first year participants on what ACE has meant to them, and learning what our ACE alums are up to now.
This week we interviewed Class of 2018 Duke graduate, Women’s Swimming and Diving team member and ACE in China ’16 alum, Anna Quinn. She shares how ACE influenced her goals as a future physician and encouraged valuable introspection.
What are you doing now? How did ACE influence your academic or career path?
I am currently a first-year medical student at the Medical School for International Health, affiliated with Ben Gurion University in Be’er Sheva, Israel and Columbia University in NYC. Through this program, I am working towards an MD while concentrating on global health.
My ACE in China experience exposed me to a unique culture and language barrier that challenged me to interact and foster relationships with individuals of different backgrounds. It influenced me to continue global civic engagement through DukeEngage in Seychelles as a wildlife and conservation intern partnered with GVI and the Seychelles National Parks Authority, as well as through the English Opens Doors Program as an ESL teacher at a rural all-girl public school.
ACE influenced my path of volunteering abroad and experiencing cultural and social differences, leading me to pursue a career as a physician working in underserved communities, locally and globally.
“I encourage participants to reflect on their experiences and journal during the program as there are countless personal encounters and meaningful experiences that you will want to look back on and remember.”
What was the most meaningful part of your ACE experience?
Personally, ACE expanded my views of ethnic minority groups and underserved communities. It was my first time traveling abroad without my family and encouraged me to absorb the cultural and social perspectives around me, noticing the various inequalities and disparities that existed.
This caused me to reflect on how fortunate I was to grow up with the opportunities to acquire a high-quality education, have public open spaces for play and exercise, and receive encouragement as a female to strive for success. At times, these opportunities are taken for granted. I continue to remind myself to reflect and assess how I can take action or influence others to also work towards bettering our communities and each other.
Share a specific lesson you learned from your ACE experience that still holds true today.
Though there may be differences in culture and language, similarities in passions and interests can easily build relationships. We quickly observed how competition was a driving force for learning English and engaging in sports in China.
“ACE influenced my path of volunteering abroad and experiencing cultural and social differences, leading me to pursue a career as a physician working in underserved communities, locally and globally.”
Since my ACE experience, I continue to find joy bonding with people around the globe, whether it is through a competitive spirit, playing soccer with coworkers in Chile, or displaying the importance of environmental care and conservation in Seychelles and Australia. I have been lucky enough to meet people across the globe and collaborate with each other through actions, not necessarily words.
Describe your ACE experience in as few words as possible.
Inspiring and challenging
What’s one thing you want people to know about ACE?
ACE is not just a three-week program. It is a program geared to expand perspectives of cultures and societies, as well as how our actions can affect others. ACE is also a community of great individuals and friends that will continue to share our experiences and push each other.
What’s your hope for the ACE program and advice for future participants as we look ahead to the next five years?
I hope that ACE continues to flourish and build a foundation of civic engagement by student-athletes. ACE presents challenges and new perspectives that can inspire participants to continue working with social and culture barriers.
I encourage participants to reflect on their experiences and journal during the program as there are countless personal encounters and meaningful experiences that you will want to look back on and remember.