from January 2023

What’s your name?

Isa Wilkie

How many years did you attend ISHR?

13 years

What year did you graduate?


What are you up to now?

After ISHR I went on to study biochemistry with a minor in environmental sciences. During my studies I found that I really enjoyed the overlap between biology and earth sciences, so I pursued a Master’s in marine microbiology which allowed me to continue working with both! Now I’m a PhD candidate at the Max-Planck-Institute for Marine Microbiology, my main project focuses on a Helgoland time series which I use to examine changes in one group of bacteria over time. I get to collect samples from the field from time-to-time, and actually just came back from an expedition on board the Polarstern (Germany’s research ice breaker); we went to South Georgia to collect water and sediment samples which will allow me to describe the microbial community in the area. It was the adventure of a lifetime!

What was your favorite subject at ISHR?

Spanish, Biology and Geography

In what ways do you feel ISHR prepared you for what came next?

One thing that I took away from my time at ISHR and feel very strongly about is that you should always do something you’re passionate about, and that you should take risks in order to get there. In addition to that, the ISHR community taught me to embrace people no matter their background, that you can make friends in unlikely places, and to always be kind to others.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in adapting to life after ISHR?

One of the struggles I faced was being outside of the ISHR bubble, and that’s probably since I was at ISHR for so long. It was definitely a weird feeling when I started Uni, there were so many new people to meet! For years I had this safe space at school where I knew what was coming for me, and that was suddenly gone. Luckily, I quickly found my “support network”, which made me realise that leaving your safe space can be a great experience!

What advice would you give to current students or your former self?

Don’t be afraid to try something new. I know it sounds cliché, but it can feel overwhelming to go out, find new experiences to try, and then commit to them. I promise it’s worth it though, new experiences shape us into who we are and there’s always something we can take from them!

What’s your favorite memory from your time at ISHR?

It’s definitely hard to pick, but I’d have to say some of my favourite memories are from our English Literature class with Mr.Lowe. He always made sure we were having fun while learning, and his passion for literature was inspiring, I still carry that around with me. Thank you Mr.Lowe, and thank you to all my classmates who were in that class!