Student of the Year

Each year the US Department of Transportation honors the most outstanding student from each of the University Transportation Centers for their achievements and promise for future contributions to the transportation field. Students of the year are selected based on their accomplishments in such areas as technical merit and research, academic performance, professionalism, and leadership.

2019 Student of the Year – Calvin Clark

(NCST USDOT Grant No.69A3551747114)

Calvin Clark

Calvin's current research aims to provide guidance for predicting the effectiveness of bicycle facilities among current and potential cyclists. Calvin has built on prior work done at Georgia Tech by exploring the role of attitudes of residents toward bicycle infrastructure in addition to their use of it, enabling a better understanding of how bicycle facilities can be designed to positively impact whole communities. As a result of his work, Calvin is in the process of completing two papers before his graduation in December 2019. Additionally, he was recently published in the Transportation Research Record. 

In addition to working toward his PhD in Transportation Systems Engineering, Calvin is currently teaching as well. He has served as a teaching assistant for multiple undergraduate transportation courses at Georgia Tech, earning outstanding reviews from students. 

2018 Student of the Year – Farzad Alemi

(NCST USDOT Grant No.69A3551747114)

Farzad AlemiPrior to coming to UC Davis, Farzad received his MS in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Greenwich and his BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the Iran University of Science and Technology. Farzad completed his PhD in Transportation Technology and Policy here at UC Davis and was hired as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Transportation Studies of UC Davis. His research interests include travel behavior, travel demand modeling, travel survey methods, emerging transportation services, autonomous vehicles, travel demand management strategies, sustainability and policy analysis. He is currently working on several projects related to understanding the impacts of new shared mobility services and vehicle automation on travel demand and vehicle ownership. Farzad is active in advising other students, contributes to the organization of the program activities, and is launching new research projects involving big data analysis and the design of stated preference (SP) surveys in order to better understand changes in future mobility patterns.

2017 Student of the Year – Joshua Morales

(NCST USDOT Grant No. 69A3551747114)

Joshua MoralesJoshua received a B.S. with High Honors in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Riverside. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Riverside and is a member of the Autonomous Systems Perception, Intelligence, and Navigation (ASPIN) Laboratory. His research interests include estimation, autonomous vehicles, intelligent transportation systems, and navigation systems.

2017 Student of the Year – Hanjiro Ambrose


Hanjiro AmbroseHanjiro Ambrose is a fourth year, PhD Candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California Davis, where he also received an MS in Transportation Technology and Policy. He is the author of a number of quality research publications, and is proud to support the field through work with the Transportation Research Board and International Society of Industrial Ecology. After graduation, Hanjiro hopes to find a faculty position where he can help junior scientists and engineers connect their research and passions with opportunities for doing social and environmental good.

2016 Student of the Year – Matthew Palm


Matt PalmMatthew Palm received his Ph.D. in Geography from UC Davis in 2016. His research focuses on environmental justice and developing smart housing and transportation policies for working class communities, including how to integrate state, regional and federal housing programs with sustainable transportation planning goals. Data produced for his research is being utilized by multiple state agencies in California to evaluate the state’s affordable housing programs.  He also conducted research evaluating how voters respond to ‘ballot box transportation planning.’ At UC Santa Cruz, Matt earned a B.A. in History while organizing with The Network (now Queer Student Union) and Student Union Assembly. Afterward, he earned a Master’s in Public Policy at Oregon State University.

2015 Student of the Year – Gabriel Lade


Gabriel Lade

Gabriel Lade received his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from UC Davis in 2015. He also received Honorable Mention for the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics Best Ph.D. Dissertation. He has a B.A. in Economics and International Affairs from the George Washington University and an M.A. in Economics from Rutgers University.

Gabriel currently works as a Research Economist for the National Bureau of Economics Research and an Assistant Professor at Iowa State University. He has received numerous grants and fellowships; most recently, the E2e Project, Energy Efficiency Research Seed Grant and the National Bureau of Economic Research Economics of Energy Markets Grant. His research interests lie at the intersection of environmental, energy, and agricultural economics.

2014 Student of the Year – Eric Cahill


Eric Cahill

Eric Cahill enrolled in the Transportation Technology and Policy program at UC Davis after 18 years in industry. Most recently, he founded Adaptiv, an independent consultancy devoted to delivering clean vehicle technology, product strategy, and policy insight by synthesizing specialized market research into actionable intelligence for decision makers. He has a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from USC and M.S. degrees in Technology and Policy and in Engineering and Management from MIT.

Eric’s dissertation provided the first in-depth look at the role of car dealers in bringing zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) to the market. His ground-breaking research, funded by the California Energy Commission, involved over 100 hours of in-depth interviews with dealers and other experts. In October 2014, he testified before the California Air Resources Board on the role of dealers in meeting the state’s ZEV mandate. His work is had a profound impact on the debate about the role of dealers in accelerating the commercialization of electric vehicles.