Undergraduate Researcher Unites Diverse Talents and Community Impact

May 21, 2024
A headshot of Arden Holloway.

Arden Holloway — an Honors student who is graduating with a 4.0 GPA, double majors in Urban and Regional Development and Arabic, and minoring in both Geographic Information Science and Gender and Women’s Studies — is the recipient of the SBS Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award for spring 2024. This award recognizes a graduating senior in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences who has demonstrated academic achievement, originality, and creativity in an independent, undergraduate research project.

For their Honors thesis, Arden completed a research project on community science streamflow monitoring. They partnered with local non-profit Watershed Management Group (WMG) as an intern to develop an interactive web map application through geographic information systems (GIS) software visualizing streamflow data collected by community scientists. This application provides valuable data that WMG, conservation organizations, government agencies, and the public can use to focus stream restoration efforts within rapidly drying rivers in Tucson.

“When I joined WMG, I discovered the urgency of restoring urban rivers for conservation – as habitat for vegetation and wildlife – and also for equity, as the primary water source for the Tucson area prior to industrial and agricultural depletion of water resources,” Arden wrote. “Visualizing streamflow data collected by community scientists is vital to informing flow restoration efforts in arid and semi-arid regions like Tucson that are significantly impacted by urban development and groundwater pumping.”

Arden’s other high-profile research endeavor was working with Jason Jurjevich, an assistant professor in the School of Geography, Development and Environment, as an undergraduate researcher in the Mapping Racist Covenants (MRC) project, which uses mapping to tell the story of institutional housing discrimination, specifically — racist housing restrictions in Tucson.
Arden spent hundreds of hours alongside Jurjevich, combing through historical documents in addition to leading marketing and communication efforts, supporting community partnerships, and helping to create presentations. 

“The success of the MRC project is, without question, because of Arden’s unwavering commitment, selflessness, personal ownership, and passion for seeing this project
reach its maximum potential,” wrote Jurjevich.
"Arden is clearly one of the top undergraduate students within SBS supporting and leading research efforts that are rooted in community and are making a difference in Southern Arizona,” Jurjevich added. “Their commitment to community-engaged research, and to social and racial justice in particular, exemplifies what we, as faculty, strive for in SBS: empowering our students to build a just world, together.”

Outside of their research, Arden’s proficiencies are wide-ranging. 

They are currently an awardee of Earth Grant, a selective leadership development program at the Arizona Institute for Resilience for young professionals in environmental and community resilience. They are an executive board member of UA Students for Sustainability. In addition, they speak Spanish and Arabic and were twice awarded a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship — a federally funded academic scholarship that provides support and funding to university students studying specific foreign languages and cultures.

After graduation, Arden will work as a GIS analyst in the conservation realm. Later, they will pursue graduate school in the field of natural resource management and urban planning. In their long-term career, they aim to work on projects focused on international climate adaptation and community resilience.

“My departments have offered many amazing opportunities that would not be possible without the support of faculty and community groups,” Arden said. “I am eternally grateful to my professors and the Tucson community for my undergraduate experience.”