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Student studies youths' perceptions of world's dwindling water supply

Holly Vins
February 10, 2012

Arizona State University undergraduate Holly Vins is dedicated to helping others get the “voice and opportunities they deserve” and creating a safer, more sustainable world for all. She will graduate in spring 2013 with degrees in global health and justice studies and minors in Spanish and women and gender studies.

Vins’ interest in the people and cultures of the world could have been fueled by her visits to not only all 50 states before she graduated from high school, but also from studying in London, Dublin, Edinburgh and Washington, D.C. This summer, she will again pack her bags, this time for a global health internship in Costa Rica.

A student in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Vins is part of the school’s collaboration with Salt River Project and the Maricopa County Education Service Agency, known as the Science of Water Art: A Citizen Science Project.

The project is part of the larger Global Ethnohydrology Study, which examines the role of water, climate change and health in various communities around the world. It allowed Vins to work with local fourth-grade students to discover how they perceive the role of water in everyday life now and in 100 years. The information is a resource for this generation, who will have to deal with the consequences of water usage in the face of mounting water scarcity.

Vins recently presented the project at the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Symposium and continues to work in the school’s research lab.

Involvement at ASU is paramount for Vins, who is vice-chair of the Community Service Coalition and has engaged in the spring project, Devils in Disguise, for the past two years. Here several clubs and organizations work together for a day of service. Last year over 500 students participated; in the morning, the students took buses to different locations to volunteer, and then returned to campus for lunch. This year, Vins hopes to make the event even grander.

She has also been a President’s Scholarship recipient, a part of the ASU Capital Scholars and Barrett Honors programs and on the Dean’s List for the past five semesters.

Vins plans on volunteering with the Peace Corps before attending graduate school. Eventually, she wants to work for a non-profit that promotes public health and human rights at a global level. “I would like to be able to spend time working and volunteering all over the world, learning more about other cultures and being able to directly interact with the people I am trying to help,” she said. “I feel as though my career goals will be fulfilled as long as I can see that I am making a meaningful impact on someone else’s life.”

Victoria Dombrowski,
School of Human Evolution and Social Change