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Compassion in Action Fellowship – Student Spotlight

The Compassion in Action Fellowship is a yearlong inner & outer change program that supports college and university student leaders in learning meditation practice, building community, and promoting social change. The fellowship integrates ancient and modern wisdom to support young leaders of today in addressing the interconnected challenges of the twenty-first century.

Inspired by the path of the bodhisattva – awakened beings filled with compassion and committed to ending all suffering and benefiting all life—student fellows embark upon a journey that includes personal development, community building, shared learning, and collaborative action as they transform their lives, campus, and society.

In this third year of the program, we are excited to partner with students and campuses across the United States and Canada, working to create a happy, just and flourishing world. Read on to learn about Isabeau, a student at the Univesity of Chicago.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I am an undergrad at UChicago double majoring in biology and psychology! My studies focus on using biotech for sustainability. Outside of the classroom, I love to read, write poetry, cook, and crochet!

What’s your major and why did you choose it?
Specifically, my major is Biology on the Ecology and Evolution track, and Psychology. I have always yearned to learn more about life around us, from our cellular mechanisms to the way that we think. I am also incredibly passionate about sustainability and ecology, and want to use both biotechnology to solve global sustainability issues and psychology to advocate for the importance of STEM and sustainability.

What drew you to the CiA Fellowship?
I’ve grown up meditating, but was missing a key component – Sangha, or community. CiA drew me in because of the community aspect. I was stoked to not only find people who were like-minded, but also to learn what makes everyone unique and how we are still able to set aside these differences and come together in the name of compassion.

Isabeau - Compassion in Action Fellow with Namchak Retreat Ranch

What are your goals for the semester?
UChicago is on a quarter system, so the goal for this upcoming quarter is to stay on top of things and finish strong! I also hope to continue to grow our chapter.

What’s been happening in your chapter?
Our chapter has been meeting regularly and beginning to brainstorm ways to reach a larger portion of campus.

Compassion in Action Fellow with Namchak Retreat Ranch Adventuring Outdoors

What are you getting out of the fellowship so far?
The fellowship has given me a safe and comfortable space to experience life. I have been able to laugh, cry, and spread compassion with my peers, and have found the community I have been looking for.

How do you see your inner work and outer work connecting?
As I’ve begun to make peace with myself, I find more peace in the world around me. As I give myself more compassion, I find myself giving more compassion to those around me. It is as if I am a machine – the kindness and passion I give myself fuel the kindness and passion I give the world, and as I do so, I find more beauty in the world around me, which in turn fuels me to continue to see beauty in myself.

What social causes do you feel passionate about and why?
I am passionate about women’s health and sex ed. Growing up in the south, formal health classes were overlooked, so learning about our bodies became whispered secrets in high school bathrooms. Not only does this create an unhealthy relationship with sex into adulthood, but by not equipping young people with the knowledge and language to understand autonomy, consent, and sex, we are preventing them from knowing when a relationship is unhealthy, and closing the dialogue when they need help.


I am also incredibly passionate about the environment, and specifically, the ways in which people interact with it. Sustainability has increasingly become more of an option over time, but it should be the default choice. Earth has shown nothing but kindness to humanity, and it is our duty to be kind back, and to utilize modern-day technologies to create systems that are sustainable of both humans and the Earth.

What types of meditations are currently resonating with you and why?
My favorite practice is Ujjayi Breathing. I grew up near the ocean, and this practice brings me back home. It also helps me commit to my practice – I find myself getting lost in the ocean sounds of my breath, and this helps keep my mind from wandering.

If you could invite anyone, alive or deceased, to dinner who would that be?
Hayley Williams! 

Isabeau Smiling - Compassion in Action Fellow with Namchak Retreat Ranch
Isabeau Presenting at the University of Chicago - Compassion in Action Fellow with Namchak Retreat Ranch
What does a more compassionate world look like to you?
A world in which everyone has peace with themselves, and are able to embark on whatever journey they need to get there. A world in which every action and interaction is made with love, peace, and kindness in mind.

Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
Festina Lente
How can people join your chapter? They can sign up for our email list at
Or message us on Instagram at @ciauchicago2024