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2019 Chron15 Pioneer: Axel Herrera Ramos

Leaders are made, not born, and Axel Herrera Ramos has become one of the most impactful leaders on campus. As a sophomore, he founded Duke Define American, the first undocumented student advocacy group at Duke. With programming like Undocumented Awareness Week, he has brought DREAMers into the conversations of both Duke students and administration. 

This year, he was instrumental in bringing the Define American National Summit to Duke’s campus, where DREAMers from across the nation convened for a weekend. Axel is not only a leader, but also a mentor. He focuses his energy outside of Duke as well with BOOST, a program that promotes STEM to underrepresented middle schoolers in Durham. His continued dedication to the Durham community has even landed him on a Latinx 20 Under 20 list from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Axel uses the power of story to continue to be an activist for his communities. He is resilient, resourceful and unafraid. Leadership like his is needed on Duke’s campus, where administration continues to put aside the concerns and voices of marginalized students and staff. Axel is special because he is not afraid to speak up for his community’s rights, and when he does, people listen.

Daisy Almonte is a Trinity junior.

Editor's note: This profile is part of our annual initiative called The Chron15. We are highlighting 15 people and groups who are defining what it means to be at Duke this year. Read about the project and more of our selections.

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