Q&A with Issy Lyons '27GS

Lyons shares her journey from New York, to Hong Kong, to Tel Aviv, and what she’s anticipating most in her Dual Degree experience.

September 07, 2023

Meet Issy Lyons: Globe-trotter, veteran, and incoming student! As she kicks off her Dual Degree journey in Tel Aviv, Lyons shares what drew her to the program, her hopes for the years ahead, and the community-centered advice she’s using as her guide. 

What brought you to the Dual Degree?

“I always dreamed of going to Columbia University and studying in New York. I was born there, but have lived in Hong Kong since infancy. I made the decision to move to Israel on my own at 17 and drafted into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) shortly after turning 18. Now that I’ve completed my service, I am excited to be able to experience another side of Israel, but equally excited to also have the opportunity to study in the United States. The idea of being able to study in two places that I call home, and in two different educational institutions with two majors, is the best of both worlds.

What are you hoping to get from the next four years?

“I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to study political science (international relations) in New York and Middle Eastern studies in Tel Aviv. Both cities are centers for thought in those fields. The opportunity to study with leading experts makes this program truly incomparable.”

What’s something you enjoy outside and alongside your academic goals?

“I completed, and placed in, my first Ironman 70.3 while on leave for a weekend during my army service. I am looking forward to continuing to pursue my passion for triathlons in both institutions.”

What's the best advice you've received and how will you carry that with you in your Dual Degree journey? 

"’Find your community. If you can't then build it.’

Growing up in Hong Kong was so special because of the communities, both Jewish and athletic, that I was surrounded by. It was this understanding of the value of community that helped me succeed throughout my IDF service. I know that ultimately, this value will likewise be a key factor in helping me achieve all that I want to accomplish during my time at TAU and Columbia. At the risk of sounding trite, we are stronger together.”