The Patricia F. Waller Scholarship

The Patricia F. Waller Scholarship was created to honor Dr. Waller’s many contributions to the field of transportation safety and injury control.  The scholarship is intended to fund University of Michigan graduate students and senior undergraduate students who elect a curriculum, thesis, or special project that address the human impact of transportation practice. Students may represent from all U-M departments and schools who are interested in conducting research on human aspects of transportation safety and issues related to transportation equity.

Past scholarship recipients have explored:

  • the role of alcohol and other drugs in motor vehicle crash injury
  • psychosocial correlates of high-risk driving behavior
  •  issues relating to old age and transportation accessibility and safety
  • human welfare and equity as they relate to transportation

Awards are made throughout the year in amounts ranging from $500 to $5,000, depending on the scope of the project, and can be used for direct expenses connected with the project to be conducted in partnership with UMTRI. These expenses may include travel, books, microfilming, taping, copying, computer services, or other similar expenditures. Other purposes for this funding require the approval of the Patricia F. Waller Scholarship Committee prior to the award.

Graduate or senior undergraduate students at the University of Michigan are eligible to apply. Candidates applying for support to complete a graduate thesis must have completed all pre-thesis requirements. If the funding is to support an internship or independent study, applicants must be able to demonstrate their eligibility for such programs. The research topic to be supported by the scholarship must be approved by the applicant’s major department. Finally, the applicant’s topic must fall within the purview of expertise represented by the faculty at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), and an UMTRI faculty member must have agreed to act as a mentor or to assist in the supervision of the applicant’s research.

Applications must include the following and be submitted as a single PDF document:

  • Application form (includes one-page proposal)
  • Resume/CV
  • Copy of university transcript(s)
  • Approval letter from an appropriate representative (i.e., advisor, instructor, department head) from the applicant’s major department
  • Letter from an UMTRI faculty member expressing agreement to mentor the applicant

Send applications to

Past Recipients

2018  Victor Le, Mechanical Engineering ($5,000) Read more.
2018  Aritra Guha, Statistics ($5,000) Read more.
2017  Ke Liu, Industrial and Operations Engineering ($5,000) Read more.
2007  Nancy Gallagher, School of Nursing ($5,885)
2010  Andi Eisman, School of Public Health, Health Behavior & Health Education ($5,000)
2012  Rebecca Mandell, School of Public Health, Health Behavior & Health Education ($5,000)
2013 Alana LeBron, School of Public Health ($6,403)


Patricia F. Waller
Dr. Waller had a distinguished career as a leading research scientist and advocate for policy reform in the area of transportation safety and injury control. She worked tirelessly to ensure that research findings were implemented through legislative and administrative measures, and to ensure that injury control and the health and human dimensions were incorporated into the national transportation agenda.   Dr. Waller also was devoted to nurturing and encouraging students who showed an interest in applying their scientific training and skill to improve the safety of the transportation environment.

In 1989, Dr. Waller was appointed director of the Transportation Research Institute at the University of Michigan, where she also held academic appointments in the Schools of Medicine and Public Health and the Department of Psychology. She retired from the University of Michigan in 1999, but continued to be actively engaged in research projects around the world, authoring publications until shortly before her death on August 15, 2003.

Prior to coming to Michigan, Dr. Waller served as Associate Director for Driver Studies at the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC), and she was a faculty member of the UNC School of Public Health. In 1987, she became the founding director of the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center, a center of excellence funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She joined the HSRC in 1967 after practicing and conducting research as a clinical psychologist.