Meet sustainability sophomore Nadene Hubbard

Nadene HubbardAs School of Sustainability sophomore Nadene Hubbard knows from personal experience, access to clean and safe water (or the lack thereof) is a prevalent issue on the Navajo Nation. Like more than one-third of Navajo Nation residents, Hubbard grew up without running water, and now she aims to use her sustainability degree and subsequent master’s degree in hydrology to “fix water quality and quantity issues on Native American reservations throughout the United States — starting with mine.” Hubbard, who is also pursuing an American Indian Studies minor from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said she originally started off at Arizona State University as an engineering student but realized sustainability was her true passion. “In Navajo teachings, we are taught to take care of Mother Earth because she cares for us, and that’s what I live by,” she said. “I’ve had many ‘aha’ moments throughout my life that always led me to sustainability and this semester I was finally able to realize it, and I have never been happier.” Learn more about Hubbard’s background and future plans in her Q&A. Question: Can you tell us a bit about your background? Answer: I am from the Navajo reservation and I am from the Diné (Navajo tribe). In my tribe, we introduce ourselves when we meet new people through a matrilineal clan system. In my native language, here is how I introduce myself:
    Yá’át’ééh, (Hello) Shí eí Nadene Hubbard yiníshyé (My name is Nadene Hubbard) Tódích’íi’nii nishlíí (Bitter water clan) Ma’íí deeshgíízhíníí báshishchíín (Coyote pass clan) Naakai dine’é dashicheii, (The Mexican clan) Táchii’nii dashinalí (Red Running into the Water People clan) Nazlini, Arizona dęę naasha (I am from Nazlini, Arizona) Arizona State University di I’iinílta’ (I go to school at Arizona State University.) Shimá éíí Laurie Moore wolyé (My mother is Laurie Moore) Shizhe’é éíí Neil Hubbard wolyé (My father is Neil Hubbard)
Q: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study sustainability? A: I grew up on the Navajo reservation, where my family had no running water, and we lived in a traditional Navajo home called a Hogan. Being only around 5-6 years old I learned the true value of water. My family, like many other Navajo families, had little access to water and so in order to have water we would haul it all from a nearby well. I believe the environment I was surrounded by throughout my childhood drew me closer and closer to the idea of sustainability. In high school, I attended the Native American Science & Engineering Program (NASEP) at the University of Arizona. For two summers, I was able to conduct and present college-level research about water quality on the Navajo reservation. I got to work with the university’s hydrology professor, and NASEP provided me with water testing kits. This is when I knew I had a passion for water. A part of me always knew that I wanted to go into college studying water, but when I started at ASU my major was in engineering. During the fall semester of my sophomore year at ASU, I got the amazing opportunity to study abroad for a full semester in Italy through my scholarship program. While abroad, I did a lot of reflecting and I noticed I was not happy with engineering. I liked the classes I had previously taken but I knew I wasn’t doing what I was passionate about. I then ended up switching my major to sustainability. I love being in nature, I love everything about it. In Navajo teachings, we are taught to take care of Mother Earth because she cares for us, and that’s what I live by. I’ve had many “aha” moments throughout my life that always led me to sustainability and this semester I was finally able to realize it, and I have never been happier. I am studying what I love and plan to use my knowledge to go onto studying hydrology for my master’s degree. Q: Why did you choose ASU? A: In the sixth grade, I had a class assignment where we had to look into colleges and pick three to write letters to asking about their school and basically to show interest. One of my three was ASU, and ASU was the only one out of the three to respond to me. This is when I felt that ASU actually chose me. I was only a sixth grader but ASU admissions took the time to reply to me and send me cool Sparky merch. I still have the letter and from then I’ve always felt that ASU was my school. Q: What’s been your favorite class so far and why? A: My favorite class so far would have to be SOS 110: Sustainable World. In this class I had my very first lecture about water, and it was amazing! When the professor asked questions I felt myself raising my hand every single time. Through this class, we were also given the chance to work on a semester-long project of our choice that we had a personal connection to and connect that to sustainability. It was definitely a challenge at first but in the end I was happy with the work I put into the project. I did research on makeup, another passion of mine, and I was able to find sustainable ways to use makeup that reduce plastic, which includes DIY makeup. Q: What does sustainability mean to you? A: My ideas of sustainability come from my Navajo teachings such as “take care of Mother Earth because she takes care of us.” Sustainability is about the future, and ensuring that future generations get to experience all the good things nature has to offer. Q: Have you received any scholarships you’d like to talk about? A: I am a Dorrance Scholar under the Dorrance Scholarship Program. I have been able to do many amazing things because of this program, including studying abroad and getting the chance to interview the Campbell Soup Company Senior Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility, Megan Maltenfort. She has been an inspiration to me and has been able to answer questions I have about sustainability on a large scale. She has told me to “find my passion and live it,” and through sustainability I feel that I am.