Dr. Patricia Mokhtarian, and the community of scholars she inspired, believe in the power of international dialogue.
An expert in how technology impacts the way people travel, Mokhtarian was recruited to Davis by one of the field’s luminaries, Ryuichi Kitamura, the late Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS-Davis) co-founder with Dan Sperling. When Mokhtarian retired in 2013, former students and colleagues, including Sperling, wanted to honor her with a permanent fund in her name.
Since ITS-Davis already had a fund established in memory of Kitamura—to recognize excellent research papers by students—Mokhtarian’s colleagues came up with a way for her fund to complement her mentor’s fund. The Patricia Mokhtarian Fund for Travel Behavior, one of many new endowments established during The Campaign for UC Davis, supports international travel for the Kitamura paper winners to increase intercontinental intellectual exchange.
“I like that the fund is synergistic with the paper award’s purpose of fostering young scholars,” said Mokhtarian, the founding chair of the interdisciplinary Graduate Group in Transportation Technology and Policy at UC Davis, “and it represents my own personal admiration for and gratitude to Dr. Kitamura.”
Jason Cao, a former student who is leading the grassroots fundraising effort, credits Mokhtarian with his successful early career on the University of Minnesota’s faculty and says he hopes the fund “will facilitate international exchange and cultivate future researchers and professors.”