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Duke 2019 alum Kevin Gehsmann founded PROTECT3D, a 3D tech sports company, alongside two Duke football teammates. Five years ago, Gehsmann participated in ACE in Vietnam in the summer of 2017. Now, Gehsmann looks back at some of his favorite ACE memories, including an American-style birthday celebration in Vietnam, as well as a US reunion with a Vietnamese coach from Coach for College.

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

I started a company called PROTECT3D with two teammates from the Duke football team. We leverage 3D technology to make custom braces, splints, and pads for athletes. 7 Duke sports teams have used our custom devices so far, but we’re still waiting on the first Stanford team to take advantage!

Who do you keep in touch with from ACE?

I went to visit Stanford’s campus 2-3 years after ACE, and Reagan and Tara took me out to dinner and drinks. Relationships that will last a lifetime!

Separately, I met up with Kheit (a Vietnamese CFC coach and director) in NYC over the holidays in 2020. We were friends during ACE and definitely thought we would never see each other again. This was his first time to mainland USA and we were coincidentally in NY at the same time. He joined my family for dinner, and we will continue to be friends for life.

teacher watching student write on chalkboard

Share a lesson you learned from your ACE experience that still holds true today:

I celebrated my 22nd birthday while in Vietnam, and our hosts prepared a birthday cake and an American-style celebration.

What’s one thing you want people to know about ACE?

The best way to create memories is trying new things. Travel while you’re an undergrad, you will regret it if you don’t!

What’s your hope for the future of ACE? What advice do you have for future ACE participants?

Use your organizational expertise to help teams do their own trips. I was a part of Duke Football’s 1-week Habitat for Humanity trip to Guatemala in 2018, but they haven’t done it since. Two players organized it that year, but perhaps ACE could help make that type of experience commonplace!