The Challenge 2050 Project at the University of Florida

We believe in the power of human beings to change the world for the better. Aware, connected, creative human beings make innovative and inspired decisions. We cultivate the capacity for adaptive leadership and social responsibility in the next generation of global change-makers.

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Avalon Hoek Spaans

Hoek-Spaans-blackwhiteAvalon is currently working toward an Environmental Science Bachelor’s degree at the University of Florida with a minor in Soil and Water Science and a certification in Global Challenge Leadership. She is extremely passionate about science and sustainability education. At UF, she volunteers for the Sustainability Hut, which teaches sustainability to students on campus. Additionally, she is the president of the University of Florida Surfrider Foundation Club, which strives to educate and push for better regulation of the protection of marine ecosystems. This summer, she will be attending a UF study abroad program in Havana, Cuba, which will focus on tropical marine ecosystems and coastal ecology.

Through the Challenge 2050 Project, she became very interested in food insecurity. The Challenge 2050 program has inspired her to create an idea for a startup company designed to increase economic stability in impoverished areas while providing accessibility to healthy food. Last summer, she participated in a semester of assisted research and designed a project to better understand urban food insecurity in Florida. After completing her degree at the University of Florida, she aspires to pursue a Master’s and Ph.D. in soil science. Through her career, she hopes to engineer soil, in order to increase its carbon holding capacity. She hopes to help combat climate change by introducing a soil that can reduce atmospheric carbon pollution. As the child of two immigrants, she understands the value of an education; she hopes to use every opportunity she has to give back to the community.