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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 2019 Stanford graduate, Men’s Track and Field team member and ACE in South Africa ’16 alum, Trevor Rex. He shares how ACE inspired him to continue teaching and mentoring high school students throughout his time at Stanford before beginning his career as a software engineer.

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

I am currently a software engineer at a financial technology startup based out of Palo Alto called Quo Finance. We offer a financial wellness membership that offers budgeting tools and low interest personal loans to our customers.

“I enjoyed this experience so much that I went on to work as a teacher and mentor to high school students for the following three summers.”

ACE definitely influenced my career path in that I chose to work in residential education for the three summers following my summer with ACE instead of finding internships in my field. I loved the residential living experience with other student athletes and also really enjoyed the teaching that we did in Nomzamo, and I wanted to experience this as much as possible before entering the job market for my major.

What was the most meaningful part of your ACE experience?

The most meaningful part of my ACE experience was being empowered to mentor, coach, and teach. I enjoyed this experience so much that I went on to work as a teacher and mentor to high school students for the following three summers.

group of people smiling on beach

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

When connecting with a new group of people, be yourself, not what you think they want you to be.

Describe your ACE experience in as few words as possible.

ACE is an important introduction to cultural humility.

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

ACE is about the people that you are traveling with and have the privilege to meet on-site. Take the time to grow those connections into lasting ones.

What’s your advice for future ACE participants as we look ahead to the next five years?

I hope that the ACE programs can resume their travel as expected next year, and that it can continue to serve as a starting point for student-athletes to learn about service, culture, and community.