WaterStep has been privileged to have Ashley Hall, a senior from the University of Kentucky, as part of our team for the last several months. Ashley is majoring in civil engineering with a focus in water resource management and has been interning at WaterStep to learn more about the global water crisis and what we are doing to combat it. She has spent many hours working alongside our manufacturing team building and testing equipment.
Ashley was part of the team that launched WaterStep’s newest piece of equipment, the Water on Wheels (W.O.W) Cart, earlier this year. The W.O.W cart is a portable disaster response system. Ashley participated in the build of the cart and worked alongside WaterStep staff to promote it at the American Water Works Association conference held in Louisville earlier this year.
Ashley spent two months over the summer working for WaterStep in Costa Rica. While there, she helped implement seven new water systems. Ashley went on several mission trips in her teen years where she experienced unsafe drinking water, but felt helpless to do anything about it. “These trips were not focused around water, but the need for safe water was what stayed with me,” Ashley said. She went on to say, “This trip to Costa Rica was the first time I felt old enough and knowledgeable enough to do something about the water problem. The regret I have is not realizing sooner that I didn’t have to be a certain age or have a certain degree to make water safe. I just needed to find WaterStep.”
WaterStep has a shoe collection program that helps support our mission and water projects around the world. Each month, we process 20,000 pounds of shoes through our building. Part of that process is counting and sorting the various types of donated shoes. This is tedious and time consuming. Once again, the WaterStep manufacturing team came to our rescue and developed a shoe counter for volunteers to use. Ashley was a key member of the shoe counter R&D team.
Ashley has become an expert on the various pieces of equipment WaterStep implements around the world. She is so knowledgeable, we have made her one of our go to trainers. She often conducts one on one training sessions with individuals who are traveling with our equipment. “When I was in high school and college we would do science experiments and I would think when will I ever use these skills,” Ashley said. She went on, “today, I wake up every day and go into WaterStep where I use those same principles to save lives with safe water”.
Ashley won the inaugural Civil Engineering Intern of the Year award from the University of Kentucky for her work at WaterStep. She graduates in May and plans to go to graduate school in Sweden in the fall. Ultimately, Ashley hopes to work in international development and water resource management to continue increasing access to safe water and sanitation around the world. She has been an integral part of the WaterStep family and we are going to miss her dearly. We are so proud of Ashley and we know she will do great things in this world. WaterStep Nation will be cheering her on!