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Isabel Ruby-Hill

ACE in China: 2016
Duke University
Rowing (Women's)
Toronto, Ontario
Profile View Isabel’s Student-Athlete profile on

I am thrilled to be participating in this ACE program because it offers an opportunity for me to use my skills to promote environmental interests, to continue my passion for community service, and to experience China’s geography and culture. Not only will I have the opportunity to volunteer abroad, I will meet and work with local Chinese university students as well as with Duke and Stanford student-athletes in an environment focused on civic engagement.”

As part of the ACE in China program, Isabel will contribute to the sustainable development of underserved communities through youth environmental education and sports while learning about conservation and preservation in Yunnan Province.

Isabel’s past experiences with service include involvement in the Environmental Alliance and Duke Panhellenic Association.

ACE Ambassador Profile

ACE participant chalking with children outside

Isabel is from Toronto, Ontario and is on the Duke Women’s Rowing Team. Outside of rowing, she is passionate about the environment, cooking, and fitness. She enjoys helping others through service as well as taking leadership roles in group initiatives. Going to China with ACE was a valuable experience for Isabel and she will use the skills and experiences she gained on the trip throughout her future. Working with children has sparked a passion with Isabel, as well as the Chinese culture itself. She hopes to continue traveling and to further immerse herself in Asian culture.

Want to hear more about Isabel’s ACE experience? Contact Isabel.

Dear Future #ACEathletes,

  • Best advice for choosing a program: Select the program that most intrigues you and that you can imagine yourself in! When I learned about the China program, I instantly knew that was the one I wanted to go on because of the environmental focus and the unique program aspects. The most important thing to do when choosing where to apply to is to go to every information session — China was actually ranked last for me until I went to the information session. After that, I knew it was the one I wanted to go on the most!
  • Best advice for applying for ACE: Be genuine and thoughtful! By giving your application the most personal and accurate information, you are going to end up with the best result. What I feel made my application successful was focusing on what I was passionate about and what I could bring to the program.
  • Best advice for getting started at your program: Getting acclimated to the time change and altitude was difficult, but remembering that I only had 3 weeks and was given an amazing opportunity, I had to push myself for the first few days to really make the most of it. Getting to know my fellow ACE participants really made it easier to get in the swing of the program, and I felt the more we got to know each other, the more successful we were as a group.
  • Tips for getting to know your community: The program we were with (the China Exploration and Research Society) made it easy to build relationships with the community. As well, pushing yourself to have conversations or to interact with members of the community was important in making a connection. Making relationships in China taught me how a little can go a long way, for example, small gestures or conversations can make any relationship that much stronger.
  • Tips for training: As a rower, fitness was really important to maintain while away for 3 weeks. Luckily, at altitude, training in Shangri-La put me at an advantage. By running and doing body weight circuits with my fellow ACE participants, there were a lot of training opportunities. We were always given about 1.5 hours every day to train and working out with everyone definitely brought us closer during our first few days.