The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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MIE Senior Sarah Widrow Wins Transportation Scholarship

Sarah Widrow

Sarah Widrow

Sarah Widrow, a senior industrial engineering major, recently received a prestigious $5,000 WTS (Women in Transportation Society) Foundation scholarship from the WTS-Boston chapter. This, the latest of several scholarships and awards on Widrow’s resume, is called the Sharon D. Banks Memorial/Jacquelyn R. Smith Memorial Scholarship. 

The Banks scholarship is awarded to women pursuing undergraduate studies in transportation or a related field and honors Sharon D. Banks, general manager of Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District in Oakland, California, during most of the 1990s. 

Last year Widrow received two additional significant awards: The WTS-Rhode Island Undergraduate Scholarship of $1,000; and a Safety Research Using Simulation University Transportation Center Excellence Award for Undergraduates. In the past, Widrow has also received other scholarships as well, including the Paul C. Washburn Scholarship and the Richard Giglio Scholarship.

Widrow’s advisor is Assistant MIE Professor Anuj K. Pradhan, whose research team does extensive automobile safety research in the MIE Human Performance Laboratory.

According to Pradhan, “She [Widrow] is an outstanding and most deserving candidate given her demonstrated excellence in scholarship, her impactful research in the field of transportation safety, and her achievements and leadership ability. Widrow is a dedicated researcher and a hard-working student and is gifted with a natural intuition and grasp of research.”

Widrow has worked on transportation safety in various projects related to advanced vehicle technologies. In one transportation safety project she was instrumental in recruiting, data collection, preparing the data for analyses, and manuscript preparation. In a second, she was involved in critical tasks examining the role of drivers’ understanding of advanced driver-assistance systems in modern vehicles and their impact on safety from a human factors perspective.

In addition, as the WTS-Boston scholarship announcement said, Widrow has served as a mentor for the Society of Women Engineers chapter in her school, she spent time on outreach days with Girl Scouts and high schoolers in her local area, and she is now actively involved with the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineering as the recruiting chair and president.

The WTS-Boston announcement concluded that “Sarah is looking forward to learning more about designing multi-model public transit systems with a focus on equity and sustainability.”

WTS is a society for women in transportation with a mission to “... attract, sustain, connect, and advance women’s careers to strengthen the transportation industry” and a vision of “equity and access for women in transportation.”

(March 2022)