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After completing a master’s in education and human development at George Washington University in May 2023, Carly Perri currently works in leadership consulting in Washington, DC. Carly reflects on how the community members she interacted with during her ACE in Peru experience in 2019 impacted the approach she takes in her current to role to listen and learn from others with experiences different than her own. Carly also shares that her time in Peru was a valuable opportunity to practice speaking Spanish, a skill she utilizes in her current professional career. This has also ignited her passion for learning languages as she hopes to learn Mandarin in future years to better connect with her family.

What are you doing now? How has ACE influenced your career pathway?

This year I graduated from graduate school at The George Washington University with a Master’s in Education and Human Development. Today, I’m using the knowledge from my graduate degree as a stepping stone into leadership consulting in Washington, DC. I’m currently working to help organizations achieve their goals by prioritizing strong and purposeful leadership. I often think back to my ACE experience in Peru and the leadership I witnessed from the communities in Cusco. My trip experiences remain a healthy reminder to reflect on the work that I am doing and the necessity to listen and learn from others I partner with. Leadership takes form in a multitude of capacities and being open to others’ experiences is something I will never be shy of learning.

Share one lesson from ACE that still holds today.

My sentiments towards my trip to Peru remain as strong and loving as they were back in 2019. One of my biggest takeaways after the trip was seeing the value and beauty of being bilingual and using that skill to connect with others that I wouldn’t be able to if I didn’t speak Spanish. I am now able to use Spanish in my current workplace and find that my desire to not only speak more languages but to connect and learn from others with very different experiences from my own has increased immensely since my ACE trip. My current goal is to continue expanding my linguistic capabilities in Spanish and begin learning Cantonese next, to connect to my own family members I have yet to converse with due to the language barrier.

“This photo is 4 of us from the ACE team, two from Duke (me and Amanda) and two from Stanford (Kelsey and Mia) helping with the construction of a greenhouse for an elementary school in Pongobamba. We were led by the community members from area, who all took off a day of their own work to help with the school’s construction needs. “


Describe your ACE experience in as few words as possible:

Learning with intention and an open mind.

How did ACE impact you as a student-athlete?
To me, the ACE program and curriculum helped me value the need to create spaces for reflection and conversation. After completing work, achieving a goal, or simply experiencing life with others, as I did in ACE, I love taking the time to sit down and write out my reflections for my own learning journey, or communicate with colleagues/teammates about how our experiences went, what we appreciated from an endeavor, and what we can do better in the future.