Isabelle Ilan ’23

Isabelle Ilan wearing a white blouse and the Cornell stole standing in front of a wooden wall

Isabelle Ilan ’23, a human biology, health and society major, shares her thoughts on her time in Cornell Human Ecology and her advice for new students.


What’s one of your favorite memories from your time in Cornell Human Ecology?

I have so many fond and amazing memories in the College. I always look forward to the Human Ecology barbecues because they are times when I can celebrate my hard work and connect with friends from the college, across all majors. Some of my favorite courses include Adult Psychopathology and Nutrition and Disease. All of the Human Ecology classes are very interconnected and expose you to new viewpoints. I vividly recall walking out of Professor Carmalt’s first lesson in Population Health feeling inspired. We watched a video about finding your “why,” and it set me up with a new perspective on how I perceive my future. These “aha” moments are common within Human Ecology and are catalysts for inspiring deeper thought and clarification of our life goals. 

What surprised you most about CHE?

I was surprised by how interconnected all of the courses are. There are many common threads within the classes, such as the social determinants of health, which allows for an enriched learning experience. Whether I am in an HD or a nutrition course, I am always able to find some common theme that transcends the specific class’s department.

What will you be doing next?

I will be attending medical school next year. I am extremely excited for the next chapter, and I am grateful for all of the opportunities I was afforded through the College of Human Ecology.

Do you have any tips or words of wisdom for incoming first-year students?

Take classes that are interesting to you or that sound fun, even if they aren’t for your major! Some of my favorite classes have been courses that were not for my major, such as the famous ice cream making class, the Science of Well Being, and the History of Rock Music!