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Student Profile: Kayla Hughes

Kayla Hughes - Profile


Could you give me a little background about yourself? 

My name is Kayla Hughes. I’m from Glenwood, Maryland. I’m a senior here at UD. My major is earth sciences education and I also have a Spanish studies double major. I applied as an environmental science as a freshman but after the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election I changed my major to earth science education. Only five other people have this major. It’s very small. 

Why did you change your major and want to get into earth science education?

I think people need to be more knowledgeable about the environment. I don’t think there are enough environmental science educators out there and the lifespan of the average teaching career is only three years, so they’re always looking for more teachers. 

When are you starting your student teaching?

This semester I have something called a “Placement” at Middletown Highschool in Delaware and it means that I am required to be in a classroom at least three hours per week working with an educator, and then I also have to do an additional 21 hours over the semester. In the Spring I will be in the same classroom with the same educator and we’ll be co-teaching. 

After you graduate, what’s your plan? 

The plan is to go into teaching right away. I won’t go to graduate school immediately after I graduate, but I still plan on doing it by my mid-20s. Most school districts will pay for at least half your masters degree and it is easier to get hired as a teacher if you don’t have a masters because they don’t have to pay you as much. I’ve been looking at teaching in Howard County, where I’m from. 

How do you plan on using Spanish in conjunction with you earth science education major?

Some districts have dual language programs where they’ll teach half the day in Spanish and half the day in English. So I could be teaching science in Spanish which would be really cool. Plus it’s an important skill to have. For example, this past summer I actually worked for the Howard County Public School System. They have a program called “Innovative Pathways” where kids that have failed a certain class get the chance to retake it over the summer. There is a large Spanish speaking population in Howard County and the program neglected to hire anyone that spoke Spanish well. I was a big help to say the least! I was able to make phone calls to families and I was able to help kids who spoke Spanish with biology. 

Do you do any extracurricular activities? 

I was on the Executive Board for Students for the Environment for three years, which is UD’s largest environmental advocacy groups on campus. For the first year in that I was involved with social media, the second year I was the Events Coordinator, and then I was president of that organization. I really loved it and I made some great friends. I was also in P.R.O.U.D. [Puppy Raisers of the University of Delaware]. I’ve dogsat a lot of dogs in my day. I’m also a Tour Guide. I’ve done that all four years. I’m an American Global Fellow, and I live off-campus with international students. I am a Social Media Ambassador and I’m in the EnvironMentors Program.

What about UD has really left an impact on you? 

I really like that I’ve been able to find people, be that peers, mentees, mentors, or professors, that actually wanted to help me succeed. It’s great to have people that believe in you so much that you start believing in yourself. Plus being in all these clubs I’ve really been able to find like minded people. I’ve found some of my best friends in them. I’m graduating with two majors which is great but I wouldn’t have been able to do it if it weren’t for my friends and my mentors. I think the overall climate at UD is more collaborative as opposed to competitive, and it’s easier to succeed that way.


Learn more about our Geography Education and Earth Science Education majors.


Q&A conducted by Jonathan Hynson.


CEOE School & Departments

School of Marine Science & Policy

Advancing the understanding, stewardship, and conservation of estuarine, coastal, and ocean environments.

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Department of Earth Sciences

Discovering how geological processes have operated over various time scales to create and influence the planet’s surface environments.

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Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences

Providing a unique spatial perspective that seeks to explain patterns of differences and commonality across the human and natural environment.

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College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment • 111 Robinson Hall • Newark, DE 19716 • USA • Phone: 302-831-8062
Geography and Spatial Sciences: 302-831-2294 • Earth Sciences: 302-831-2569 • Marine Science and Policy: 302-645-4212 • E-mail: ceoe-info@udel.edu

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