Graduate Students Awarded Transportation Fellowships, Scholarships

By Alicia Nguyen

Several Transportation and Technology Policy (TTP) graduate students have been recognized for their accomplishments during this 2015-2016 academic year with fellowships and scholarships that help to sponsor their studies and research. The TTP program is hosted by the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies.

Calvin Thigpen and Dillon Fitch-Polse, both TTP Ph.D. candidates, are among the recipients of the prestigious Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowships—among150-200 Eisenhower Fellowships typically awarded nationally. Thigpen and Fitch-Polse were each awarded $5,000 fellowships.

Calvin Thigpen, who was a recipient of a Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship, along with Dillon Fitch-Polse.

Calvin Thigpen, who was a recipient of a Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship, along with Dillon Fitch-Polse.

Thigpen’s dissertation research examines how young people are affected by “mobility capital,” which is determined by their own travel experiences. In addition to his Eisenhower Fellowship, Thigpen was awarded the Jarena Wright Fellowship, a nine-month fellowship awarded to continuing graduate students from Santa Rosa, Calif.

Fitch-Polse is studying how road environments influence travel behavior for bicyclists. He also is considering ways this research could be used to create a sustainable transportation plan. Both Thigpen and Fitch-Polse presented their current findings at the Transportation Research Board’s 95th Annual Meeting in Washington D.C., in January.

Gouri Mishra, also a TTP Ph.D. candidate, was awarded the UC Davis Graduate Research Mentorship Fellowship for the 2015-2016 academic year. The fellowship promotes diversity within the field of transportation studies and is only awarded to six students per year. Mishra’s dissertation research involves the effects of mobility options, such as ridesharing, on travel behavior. Mishra was also awarded the Ernest E. Hill Fellowship in 2015, which supports students’ research to address the impacts of global warming.

During the fall quarter of 2015, Jeff Kessler, who recently completed his TTP Ph.D. degree, received the UC Davis Malcolm Stacey Fellowship, which is awarded annually to one or two Jewish students who are pursuing a career in engineering. Kessler’s research focuses on developmental approaches to technological innovation that can be used to help policy makers determine where resources can be dedicated to promote innovation more efficiently.

At the WTS Sacramento “Advancing Women in Transportation” annual awards and scholarship dinner in January, TTP graduate students Sarah Strand and Julie Schiffman, and UC Davis seniors Jordon Costello and Kelly Andrews, were awarded scholarships for their achievements in transportation studies. Strand and Schiffman, both M.S. students, were awarded prestigious Helene M. Overly Memorial Graduate Scholarships.

WTS Sacramento undergraduate and graduate scholarship winners (from left): Jordan Costello, Julie Schiffman, Kelly Andrews, and Sarah Strand—along with high school scholarship winner, Zelia Gonzales.

WTS Sacramento undergraduate and graduate scholarship winners (from left): Jordan Costello, Julie Schiffman, Kelly Andrews, and Sarah Strand—along with high school scholarship winner, Zelia Gonzales.

Strand is building her background in city planning while conducting research on land-use, transportation, and climate policies.

“I’m honored to be the 2015 recipient of the WTS graduate scholarship in memory of Helene M. Overly, who dedicated 15 years of public service,” said Strand. “Upon graduation, I hope to work on planning and policy at a public agency helping to prepare California for the impacts of climate change.”

Schiffman is researching equity implications as they relate to zero emission vehicle rebates.

“I’m proud and honored to receive recognition from a professional group of women within the transportation industry,” said Schiffman. “I hope to continue working on such important topics and use the skills I learned at ITS in a professional career after graduation this spring.”

UC Davis seniors Jordon Costello and Kelly Andrews were also recognized for their efforts in transportation studies at the event. Costello, who majors in environmental policy and planning, received the Sharon D. Banks Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship, which awards female students planning to pursue a transportation-related field. Andrews, a civil engineering major, won the Bimla G. Rhinehart Leadership Scholarship, which recognizes undergraduate women in transportation studies who demonstrate leadership skills.