Social Work Students Earn Scholarships for Transportation-Related Research

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2020 Valerie Hill

Two School of Social Work students were among nine scholars from across the nation to win thousands of dollars in funding to conduct research on transportation-related issues.

Joanna Glover          Erin Murphy


Joanna Glover, who earned a masters degree with an emphasis on aging in August, and Erin Murphy, who is pursuing a doctoral degree in Social Work, each won a Student Thesis Dissertation Scholarship from the Center for Transportation Equity, Decisions and Dollars.


Glover won $1,200 to complete research work on her master’s thesis. Glover finished her studies last month, but was awarded the scholarship to cover costs associated with research she already had completed.


Murphy won $2,400 for the 2020-21 academic school year.


Seven other scholars from schools across the nation – including the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of South Florida - also won Student Thesis Dissertation Scholarships, the Center announced this summer.


The Center for Transportation is based on the UTA campus and supports research that uncovers ways to make travel systems fair and equitable. The organization’s goal is to transform the nation’s travel policies to better meet the needs of commuters.


In her final months at UTA, Glover studied how aging adults are affected – and sometimes limited – by wheelchair and other travel access.


For example, earlier this spring, Glover and a team of UTA student engineers researched and created an app, similar to the Uber app, that allows aging adults to hail a wheelchair at the nation’s airports.


The UTA group is a finalist in a Federal Aviation Administration competition designed to encourage college students across the nation to create solutions to real world problems affecting U.S. air travel.


James Wood, program manager at the Center for Transportation Equity, Decisions and Dollars called Glover’s research on aging and travel “fascinating.”


Your work is fascinating and worthwhile for society,” Wood said in a letter to Glover informing her of the scholarship win. “The Committee feels that you have a bright future ahead as a scholar and a community leader on issues of transportation, and we are pleased we can support your ongoing studies.”


Murphy is working on a doctoral dissertation involving transportation for vulnerable populations.


Wood, in a letter to Murphy, also was intrigued by her work.


“The Scholarships Committee reviewed many substantial applications, and they found yours to be one of the most striking,” he wrote.


“We really appreciated your insightful approach to transportation for vulnerable populations,” Wood wrote. “This is exactly the sort of research CTEDD is proud to fund, and we hope you will continue to make such a strong impression as you advance in your career.”


The two students were recommended for the scholarships by School of Social Work Associate Professor Noelle Fields. She praised Murphy and Glover for their innovative research work.


“This is very unique because the fellowships are for their research which integrates transportation with Social Work,” Fields said. The fellowships are also competitive.”


Murphy is expected to complete her doctoral studies in 2021.