Iris Hubbard
Ambassador, Academy

Iris Hubbard

Mount Vernon, United States

Master's Student at the University of Eastern Finland. Passionate about environmental education and building socially just educational communities.


I am an educator and a student. In 2019, I graduated from Western Washington University (USA) with a bachelor's degree in environmental studies and a teaching certificate for elementary education. Upon graduating, I embarked on an 8-month Fulbright grant to teach English in Taiwan. During my time in Taiwan, I realized that I wanted to further develop my teaching practices and learn more about education globally.

Thus, I applied to different programs in Finland with a goal to study Finland's renowned education system and begin to understand how innovative practices can be implemented in the US. This September (2020), I will be starting my master's program in Early Language Education for Intercultural Communication at the University of Eastern Finland. I look forward to learning more about Finnish culture and connecting with educators through my international program. 

Outside of my studies and teaching, I am a proud advocate for the international adoptee community. I was adopted from Guangzhou, China when I was 16 months old. During my time at Western, I founded the WWU Adoptees student club and started an annual showcase called Our Voices. The showcase highlights adoptees in the student community during National Adoption Awareness Month (November). 

Additionally, for my senior/capstone project I worked with a fellow adoptee to create an online resource for the adoption community. We included a brief history of international adoption and our experiences as adoptees that connected to current research and scholarly work. Finally, I self-published a children's book about my experience as an adoptee called, An Adoptee's Journey and am working on publishing my adoptee novella called Switched.

Why do you want to be a part of the HundrED Community?

I wanted to join the HundrED Community because I believe that it offers valuable innovations, resources, and ideas that educators can implement in their own school communities. Additionally, the community is a way to connect with educational leaders and innovators from around the world and share what is happening within our own areas of expertise. 

How can education support students to flourish?

Education should be designed to meet students' needs and wants. Children are innately curious and if their learning experiences are relevant, innovative, and engaging, students will be more likely to become life-long learners and changemakers within our globalized society. Once students are invested in their education, they will be inspired to rise above any expectations we might place on them. 

What role does innovation play in education change?

Innovations open up opportunities for students everywhere. As new innovations are being shared, educators have a responsibility to their students to find projects, ideas, or resources that could work for their school community and try them out in their classrooms. Educators are creating change within their education systems as they implement and share these innovations. 

Three HundrED innovations you love. (and Why?)

PenPal Schools While I was in Taiwan, I implemented something similar to this between my school in Taipei and two other schools in the US. It was very successful and I found that students on both sides of the exchange greatly benefited and enjoyed the process of connecting with students from a different culture than their own. 

Kahoot! I have used this game-based app to informally assess my students both in the US and in Taiwan. It was very successful in creating an engaging learning environment for students who wanted to work independently or collaboratively. 

Green Bronx Machine While I have not had the chance to implement anything like this yet, I think it is a great innovation that should be shared. I love the idea that students can learn about their local food systems and living sustainably. This is what I consider student-centered, action-based environmental education. 

Three innovations you would love for HundrED to know about. (and Why?)

Tetragami Kids I have seen this creative design system evolve from a single classroom enrichment activity in Seattle, WA to a network of after school club programs throughout Whatcom County. Tetragami was invented by my father, Peter Hubbard, a retired Seattle teacher. It is a paper folding system that integrates all of the STEAM components and students of all ages enjoy it. 

Seesaw While I was student teaching in Bellingham, WA, I was first introduced to this online learning platform. Through this platform, students can post their projects or assignments and their peers, parents and teachers can leave comments or feedback. I brought this to my school in Taipei and we used it as a way to conduct virtual "Gallerywalks" of student work. 

Compass 2 Campus I discovered this program when I was attending Western Washington University. It works with traditionally underrepresented and diverse students (grades 5-12) in underserved communities in Whatcom county and connects them with college mentors. The overarching goal is to increase opportunities toward higher education through mentoring. I started as a student mentor mentoring students in middle school, then became a Lead mentor in charge of mentoring college mentors and finally was part of program support helping to keep the Compass 2 Campus running smoothly at my university. I was able to see the incredible impact Compass 2 Campus had on students of all ages from the mentors to the mentees. 

Teaching Tolerance I heard about this online resource through my Social Justice Education class at Western. The program helps any and all educators create "civil and inclusive school communities where children are respected, valued and welcome participants". They follow this definition of the word tolerance: Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world's cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. Tolerance is harmony in difference. Ultimately, their mission is to "eradicate intolerance".