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Axel Herrera Ramos ’20, a 2018 DukeEngage-Tucson alum, received the Betsy Alden Outstanding Service-Learning Award for outstanding commitment to the ideals of service-learning.

A double major in economics and sociology, Axel was born in Honduras and immigrated to the United States at the age of seven with his family. During his DukeEngage experience, he worked with the Coalición de Derechos Humanos, a grassroots organization that promotes the human and civil rights of all migrants regardless of their immigration status. Axel was also a service-learning assistant for Bridging Cultures: Latino Lives and Experiences in North Carolina.

Students walking through farm workers camp.
“Visiting the farm worker camps was one of the most impactful experiences for all of us. Walking around the trailers where they lived in large numbers, seeing the difficult and poor conditions shocked many of us especially given the proximity to which this exists from Duke. It was challenging to take any of it in without being highly self aware of one’s own privilege but still needing to engage in order to learn from them how to help.” — Axel Herrera-Ramos

He was nominated for the Alden Award by Kimmie Garner, assistant director of Duke Service-Learning.

“Axel cares deeply about community-engaged work and his service-learning peers. His contributions to the vitality and direction of our Service-Learning Assistant (SLA) program for four consecutive academic semesters demonstrate the power of student leadership. His continual efforts to strengthen faculty and student relationships, both within and beyond the classroom, exemplify Betsy Alden’s vision of building more humane relationships through tangible action.” — Kimmie Garner

Named for Betsy Alden ’64, Duke’s first service-learning coordinator, the annual award recognizes one community partner, one faculty member, and one graduating senior. Each recipient receives $250 to further develop his/her community-building and leadership skills.

“I am thankful that this award exists not only because it recognizes individuals, but also because it allows others to appreciate that service work is not marginal.” — Axel Herrera Ramos

As a sophomore, Axel founded the Duke chapter of Define American, the first undocumented student advocacy group at Duke. He was also named to the Latinx 20 Under 20 by the North Carolina Scholars’ Latino Initiative, a competition that acknowledges 20 students in North Carolina who have dedicated efforts to advocacy and leadership within Latinx communities.