On November 1st, The University of Arizona will be hosting its annual TED event, TEDxUArizona: Spirit of Wonder. TEDxUArizona is an independently organized event that brings together bright ideas, inspiring performances and profound research for a day of sessions and discussions designed to ignite conversation and connection in the University of Arizona and Tucson community.
This year, Franke Honors Alumna Halley Hughes is joining the lineup of speakers, amongst other prominent University staff and faculty.
“I'm a flurry of excited and nervous! I love the idea I've settled on and I'm looking forward to sharing it," Hughes said.
A third generation Tucsonan, Hughes graduated from the W.A. Franke Honors College with a major in Urban and Regional Development (she double majored, also receiving a BS in Natural Resources and the Environment: Global Change Ecology from the College of Agriculture and Life & Environmental Sciences).
Growing up in the Sonoran Desert has cultivated an empathy and interest in extreme environments for Hughes, who has always felt a strong connection to her surroundings. It’s been a combination of working with community partners in Tucson, the college courses she has taken, and her mentors which have shaped her ideas of intersectionality and holistic environmental justice. This is something that Hughes will be threading throughout her talk at TEDxUArizona.
“I'll be speaking about my personal ethos of actionable deep empathy and its power to heal in the face of the climate crisis. My honors research was an extension of this ethos and something that I'm still involved with,” Hughes shared.
Hughes’ passion for sustainability and environmental justice has carried throughout her academic pursuits. While in her undergrad, Hughes’ research centered around these interests. Her Honors Thesis, titled Invisible Collisions: Energy Poverty and Extreme Heat Push the Manufactured Housing Gap Wider, synthesizes science communication and examines heat mitigation and climate resiliency in vulnerable communities.
Hughes is on the Advisory Team for the UA Climate Action Plan and is also the co-director for Students for Sustainability on campus, a program that she is proud of for the way that it has connected students to various initiatives on campus. Currently, Hughes is Masters of Science candidate for Agricultural Education at the University of Arizona and is taking graduate school in stride.
“I have an incredible department, a phenomenal graduate advisor, and the ability to pursue my passions with abandon. After my Masters I’m looking to work in climate adaptation in the Southwest and working with local communities,” said Hughes.