Outstanding Thesis/Dissertation of the Year

Purpose:  To recognize and promote the highest-quality research conducted by our graduate students

Prizes:  $1,000 each to the authors of the MS thesis and PhD dissertation judged most outstanding by a panel of UC Davis faculty

Eligibility:  Transportation-related MS theses and PhD dissertations completed by a UC Davis student during the calendar year  (January – December)

Procedure: Nominations are to be submitted electronically by the major professor, and are to include at least two files:

  • A nomination letter, outlining why the thesis/dissertation merits the award, confirming the quarter in which it was filed, and listing the signing committee members. (Also please include the list of committee members in the transmission e-mail message, so Annemarie won’t have to hunt for it in the letter.) Optionally, the nomination may also include a letter from the student.
  • The thesis/dissertation itself: Preferably, all files should be zipped into a single one, but either way, all files should be named as follows:  “OTD [student’s name] [type of doc, i.e. nomination letter, dissertation, self letter].[ext]”.  For example, for the PhD student Jane Doe, the three required files mentioned above could be titled “OTD Doe nom letter.pdf”, “OTD Doe diss.doc”, “OTD Doe self letter.doc”, all zipped into “OTD Doe nom.zip”.

Nominations should be sent to Annemarie Schaaf at aschaaf@ucdavis.edu.

After the close of the nomination period, a three-person committee will evaluate the submissions (faculty, please volunteer!), endeavoring to balance the disciplinary perspectives of the nominated theses and minimize obvious conflicts of interest.

The panel will evaluate the MS and PhD nominations separately.  Suggested evaluation criteria include the following, but the panel is free to develop its own criteria and to weight them as they wish (with either common or individual-specific weights):

  • ORIGINALITY OF APPROACH (creativity vs straightforward extension)
  • SIGNIFICANCE OF FINDINGS (importance, impact, can include “relevance”)
  • TIGHTNESS (rigor, logic, care)
  • COMPLETENESS
  • QUALITY
  • CLARITY OF EXPOSITION

The panel is free to decline to make an award in a given category in a given year, if it does not consider any of the nominations to be sufficiently outstanding.

The winners will have their names placed on a plaque that will be displayed in the ITS conference room (or some other prominent location).

Award Recipients

2013 Outstanding Dissertation Co-Winners – Geoff Morrison & Ting Wang

Geoff Morrison: “ Three Essays on Transportation and Energy Use” (Essay One, “Dynamic Lifecycle Assessment of Advanced Bioenergy Pathways using GCAM Model”; Essay Two, “Influence of Workplace Peers in the Commuting Decision in the U.S.”; Essay Three: “Impact of Rapid Employment Growth on Traffic Congestion”)
Department: Transportation Technology and Policy • Advisor: C.-Y. Cynthia Lin

Ting Wang: “Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Energy Consumption Using Pavement Maintenance and Rehabilitation: Refinement and Application of a Life Cycle Assessment Approach”
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering • Advisor: John Harvey

2013 Outstanding Master’s Thesis – Sahoko Yui

Sahoko Yui: “Oil Palm Expansion on Deforested Lands in Para, Brazil – Too Good to Be True?”
Department: Transportation Technology and Policy • Advisor: Stephen Wheeler

2012 Outstanding Dissertation – Kristin Lovejoy

Kristin Lovejoy: “Mobility Fulfillment Among Low-car Households: Implications for Reducing Auto Dependence in the United States”
Department: Transportation Technology and Policy • Advisor: Susan Handy

2012 Outstanding Master’s Thesis – Susan Pike

Susan Pike: “Understanding Factors Associated with Commute Behavior Changes: An Empirical Investigation from Northern California”
Department: Transportation Technology and Policy • Advisor: Mark Lubell

2011 Outstanding Dissertation – Nathan Parker

Nathan Parker: “Modeling Future Biofuel Supply Chains Using Spatially Explicit Infrastructure Optimization”
Department: Transportation Technology and Policy  •  Advisor: Joan Ogden

2011 Outstanding Master’s Thesis – Geoff Morrison

Geoff Morrison: “Driving in Force: Why the U.S. Military Commutes by Automobile”
Department: Agricultural and Resource Economics •  Advisor: C.-Y. Cynthia Lin

2010 Outstanding Dissertation – Jonn Axsen

Jonn Axsen: “Interpersonal Influence within Car Buyers’ Social Networks: Observing Consumer Assessment of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) and the Spread of Pro-Societal Values”
Department: Transportation Technology and Policy  •  Advisor: Ken Kurani

2010 Outstanding Master’s Thesis – Gouri Shankar Mishra

Gouri Shankar Mishra: “Analysis of Lifecycle Water Requirements of Alternative Energy Pathways: Case Study of Ethanol from Corn Grain and Crop Residue, and Electricity from Geothermal Resources”
Department: Transportation Technology and Policy • Advisor: Sonia Yeh

2009 Outstanding Dissertation Co-Winners – Changzheng Liu & Ryan McCarthy

Changzheng Liu: “A Stochastic Programming Approach for Transportation Network Protection”
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering  •  Advisor: Yueyue Fan

Ryan McCarthy: “Assessing Vehicle Electricity Demand Impacts on California Electricity Supply”
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering • Advisor: Joan M. Ogden

2009 Outstanding Master’s Thesis – Rachel Carpenter

Rachel Carpenter: “Sacramento’s Fix I-5 Project: Impact on Bus Transit Ridership”
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering • Advisor: Michael Zhang

2008 Outstanding Dissertation – Nicholas Lutsey

Nicolas Lutsey: “Prioritizing Climate Change Mitigation Alternatives: Comparing Transportation Technologies to Options in Other Sectors”
Department: Transportation Technology and Policy • Advisor: Dan Sperling

2008 Outstanding Master’s Thesis – Wayne Leighty

Wayne Leighty: “Modeling of Energy Production Decisions: An Alaska Oil Case Study”
Department: Transportation Technology and Policy • Advisors: Cynthia Lin and Joan Ogden

2007 Outstanding Dissertation – Jonathan Weinert

Jonathan Weinert: “The Rise of Electric Two-Wheelers in China: Factors for their Success and Implications for the Future”
Department: Transportation Technology and Policy • Advisor: Joan M. Ogden

2007 Outstanding Master’s Thesis Co-Winners – Aaron Arsenault & David McCollum

Aaron Arsenault: “Implementation and Validation of a Low Cost Sensor Array for Autonomous Roadside Mowing”
Department: Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering • Advisor: Steven A. Velinsky

David McCollum: “Future Impacts of Coal Distribution Constraints on Coal Cost”
Department: Transportation Technology and Policy • Advisor: Joan M. Ogden

2006 Outstanding Dissertation – Xinyu Cao

Xinyu Cao: “The Causal Relationship between the Built Environment and Personal Travel Choice: Evidence from Northern California”
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering • Advisor: Pat Mokhtarian. Professor Susan Handy also lent considerable input.

2006 Outstanding Master’s Thesis – David Vernon

David Vernon: “Understanding the Effects of Reactor Geometry and Scaling trough Temperature Profiles in Steam-Reforming Hydrogen Production Reactors.”
Department: Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering • Advisor: Paul Erickson

2005 Outstanding Dissertation – Deborah Salon

Deborah Salon: “Cars and the City: An Investigation of Transportation and Residential Location Choices in New York City”
Department: Agricultural & Resouce Economics • Advisor: James Wilen

2005 Outstanding Master’s Thesis – Jonathan Weinert

Jonathan Weinert: “An Near-term Economic Analysis of Hydrogen Refueling Stations”
Department: Transportation Technology and Policy • Advisor: Joan Ogden

2004 Outstanding Dissertation – Sangho Choo

Sangho Choo: “Aggregate Relationships between Telecommunications and Travel: Structural Equation Modeling of Time Series Data.”
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering • Advisor: Pat Mokhtarian

2004 Outstanding Master’s Thesis – David Davieau

David Davieau: “An Analysis of Space Velocity and Aspect Ratio Parameters in Steam-Reforming Hydrogen Production Reactors”
Department: Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering • Advisor: Paul Erickson