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Meet the HundrED Team: Meghan Hammond, Project Manager

Meet Meghan Hammond, our new Project Manager! Meghan joins our Helsinki office to support a variety of HundrED initiatives, including the Youth Ambassadors and other communities.

Tell us a little about yourself

My family recently moved to Finland, largely drawn by the stellar reputation of its education system, but before that I lived in 5 American metropolitan regions and, briefly, Japan. My academic background is in Anthropology, which took me to Chile and Brazil for my research, and shapes the way I look at intercultural exchanges. I speak Spanish and Portuguese, and have been learning Finnish for about 2 years. Being a language student again has reminded me of how important lifelong learning is, and I am grateful to have made amazing friendships and connections through those classes. I have also taught English as a second language, helped run a preschool, managed graduate research fellowships, and created student programming at the University of Chicago. BUT… I’m still not sure what I will be when I “grow up!” My favourite vacation ever was Pastry Camp at the French Pastry School in Chicago, and my bucket list includes: getting my feet wet in all of the oceans of the world, finding the best Mexican food in Helsinki, and someday moving to a legendary castle with my best friend (when we win the lottery). 

Why do you want to work at HundrED?  

There are several educators in my family, and my own work experience started in higher education in the US. Discovering this team of individuals at HundrED who all care about the future of education feels like I found my niche. When I first learned about this team, it clicked for me that this was the kind of group with big questions, big dreams, and a dedication to building global partnerships that bring new ideas to life to help my favourite people: youth! I look forward to bringing my organisational skills and enthusiasm for all things related to education to support the experts and innovators in the HundrED community. I am a strong believer in the unlimited power of a network, so knowing that the community of innovators, students, and change-makers at HundrED is fundamental to everything we do, tells me I’m in the right place.

Why should we change our schools?

The world is continuously changing, and we owe it to our collective future to keep asking questions and seeking improvements. If curiosity and uncertainty are the impetus for learning and growth, then how much more important must those principles be for our schools! Given the acceleration of change on all fronts, it is imperative that we teach young people how to adapt and apply what they know to never-before-seen situations, and the best way to do that is by giving them examples of innovation throughout the course of their education. What I have seen in my family’s experiences in the US and Finland so far has opened my eyes to the importance of continually challenging ourselves with new ideas and practices. I can hardly wait to see the kind of people my children will become because of their experiences in this education system that embraces innovation. 

Why is innovation in education crucial today?

Recognizing the limits of our own knowledge is the first step to expanding it. Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “The intellect is vagabond, and our system of education fosters restlessness.” At a time when we’ve all seen the impact of limited physical interactions and travel, we can see how embracing new ideas and sharing innovations between curious minds is all the more critical to building a better future together. When our minds travel, we can use that mental restlessness as an asset (especially for young people), to be creative and ask new questions. Innovation has always had an important role in education, but with an ever-more connected world at our fingertips, I’m excited to see where it takes us next!

Three HundrED innovations you love and why

1) SEL Kernels of Practice: Students’ mental health and wellbeing has never been in a greater state of crisis, and knowing how to begin is half the challenge. I love the adaptability of this program, and that it has such a low threshold for getting started. 

2) Teachease: As someone surrounded by tech nerds, I deeply understand the importance of a digital education, but I wouldn’t know where to begin if I had to teach this. I love how this program meets teachers where they are, and turns a lack of expertise into an opportunity to share the excitement of learning something new. 

3) PadHer: Our biology shapes us all on deeply important and personal levels, but it need not be a barrier to education. I deeply appreciate PadHer’s work to increase accessibility and equity for girls, so they can develop a love of learning and be truly present at school without stigma or discrimination. 

Bonus: Ukrainian Emergency Education Package: I was impressed by how urgently the world responded to the needs of Ukrainian kids after February 2022. Seeing innovations like this inspires me that educators are creative in crises, and I hope this model will be adapted for other emergency situations. 

Contact Information 

Drop me a line: meghan.hammond@hundred.org!