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Isabella Duan

ACE in China: 2018
Stanford University
Rowing Ltw (Women's)
Hillsborough, CA
Human Biology or Symbolic Systems
Profile View Isabella’s Student-Athlete profile on

“ACE is like no other in the opportunities it affords. It allows me make positive contributions to others’ lives through education and exercise, to contextualize my identity as a student-athlete from the United States, and to learn to execute projects as a member of a team composed of individuals from different backgrounds.”

Isabella’s past experiences with service include acting as a Dorm Captain and Dream Team member for Stanford University Dance Marathon (SUDM), the university’s largest philanthropic organization. By bringing the campus together for a fun-filled 24-hour dance event, SUDM raises awareness for inequities and disparities that exist within the healthcare community and raises money for SUDM’s beneficiary, the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and their center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases. Isabella is also involved in Stanford Women’s Educational Erging Program through East Palo Alto Tennis and Tutoring (SWEEP), an afterschool program that teaches local youth the value of exercise through the use of an ergometer, a stationary machine that mimics the rowing motion.

ACE Ambassador Profile

young adult female snacking on popsicle outside

Isabella is a junior on the Light-weight Rowing team. She is majoring in Human Biology and pursuing a career in medicine. After running an English and sports summer camp in Shangri-La, China, she returned to campus to lead an after-school erging program that unites middle school students behind an appreciation for physical activity and teamwork. Additionally, her experiences abroad have inspired her to inform the Stanford community about global health opportunities and challenges through her role as the Community Chair of the Global Health Student Council. In her everyday life, she continues to integrate what she learned two summers ago about her athletic, racial, and cultural identity and the importance of self-love and vulnerability. Her goal this year as an ACE ambassador is to strengthen the relationships between ACE participants from past to present to future and from Asia to Africa to South America!

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

Dear Future #ACEathletes,

  • Best advice for learning about ACE: Go to info sessions and talk to past participants about each program to really understand what the day-to-day schedule was like! Many participants were surprised about what they did/didn’t get to do after they went on site. You could also try getting help from BEAM for your application and interview.
  • Best advice for applying for ACE: Talk to past participants before writing your application, so you know how to make your personal anecdotes relevant to that program.
  • Best advice for getting started at your program: Understand that it’s normal to feel uncomfortable and not be close with your cohort right away! It all takes time and maybe you may not be 100% comfortable with everything even at the end of 3 weeks, but taking the time to think about these feelings is how we grow and learn about ourselves.
  • Tips for getting to know your community: Specifically for the China program, make sure to get primary sources for your research topic by interviewing people in town! It’s a priceless opportunity to get the slightest peek into their lives. Even if you don’t get exactly the information you were looking for, this human interaction is still so amazing!
  • Tips for training: Don’t get discouraged if you feel super out of shape at altitude (in Shangri-La); just keep it up and also take the opportunity to join your ACE teammates in some types of training that you wouldn’t normally do.
  • Tips for bringing ACE back to your team: I promoted the program to my teammates by encouraging them to attend info sessions and apply. I also know more people on other sports teams now, and am more comfortable interacting with the people I don’t know.
  • Reasons for staying involved in ACE: I want more people to be able to share this experience! It has solidified my identity as a student-athlete on campus and also called me to promote sports to the younger generation and involve myself in international matters of health.