Frances Fowler Wallace Memorial Award

The Frances Fowler Wallace Memorial Award provides financial assistance to support doctoral students’ dissertation research on “the cause, treatment, cure and prevention of mental disease, mental illness and mental disorders,” as designated in the will of Mrs. Wallace. The award provides up to $1,500 for research-related expenses such as survey mailings, software, participant stipends and training. Award recipients must provide a copy of the final dissertation to the foundation.

Mrs. Wallace was born in Austin in 1892 and died in 1972, leaving half of her estate to the Hogg Foundation as an expendable fund for research. The Frances Fowler Wallace Memorial for Mental Health was established by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System on February 1, 1974. Her husband, John Forsythe Wallace, served as a member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1920 to 1930, and on the State Board of Control.


Doctoral candidates in nursing, psychology, social work, sociology and other fields relevant to mental health programs at institutions of higher education in Texas are eligible to apply. Dissertations may be quantitative or qualitative in design and the dissertation proposal must have been successfully defended before submitting an application.

Applications should include:

  1. A clearly stated research question
  2. A description of the proposed dissertation and how it relates to mental health
  3. Background of the project and significance of the research, research design and methodology
  4. A description of research-related expenses and associated costs (examples include: web-based survey fees, statistical software, mileage to conduct focus groups or interviews, and participant stipends)
  5. A timeline for completing the dissertation.

Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • The applicant makes a compelling case for the importance or significance of the proposed project to the field of mental health.
  • The proposed project is relevant to improving the mental health of the people of Texas and aligns with the foundation’s vision, mission and core values.
  • The overview of existing research relevant to the proposed project demonstrates the applicant’s knowledge of the topic to be investigated.
  • The research project is well-designed.
  • A recommendation letter that strongly supports the applicant’s ability to carry out the project.
  • The budget expenses are justified.

This award is for research expenses related to the student’s dissertation project (i.e. mileage for the purpose of data collection, statistical software, participant incentives such as gift cards). Technology requests (i.e. computers, cameras, accessories) and travel to present research findings at conferences/professional meetings are outside the scope of the award and ineligible for funding.


Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and may be submitted at any time.

Applicants will be contacted approximately 30 business days after the submission of the proposal.

Applicants must submit a curriculum vitae, one letter of reference from the applicant’s dissertation committee chair or advisor, a proposal and a budget.

Submit online application.

Recent Recipients

Vivian J. Miller is a doctoral candidate at the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Arlington. While interning at a long-term care facility in Cleveland, Ohio, Miller developed a deep interest in advancing knowledge and research that enhances the well-being and promotes the human rights of older adults residing in nursing homes. Her study is titled “Transportation, Social Support by Family Visitation, and Depression among Nursing Home Residents: A Mixed-Methods Study.” Learn more

Ya-Ching Huang is pursuing a doctorate in nursing to research and develop systemic healthcare practices that will have long-lasting impact. Her research proposal is titled “The Impact of Illness Perception, Diabetes Management Self-Efficacy, and Mental Distress on Type 2 Diabetes Self-Management among Chinese Americans.” Huang seeks to help people adopt healthy habits that minimize the complications of diabetes and reduce the need for urgent and costly health care services. Learn more

Pamela Recto has experience as a maternal-child nurse, which deepened her understanding and desire to advocate for young mothers. Through her work on a wellness program at an alternative high-school for parenting and pregnant adolescents, Pamela developed considerable interest in mental health literacy among Mexican-American adolescents. The goal of her research is to identify contextual factors that impede or facilitate help-seeking and recognition of perinatal depression among Mexican-American adolescents. Learn more

Sophia Yang Hooper earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Beijing Normal University before coming to UT Austin, where she received master’s degrees in educational psychology and statistics. She is currently on track to graduate with a Ph.D. in educational psychology. Sophia’s proposed study is “A Meta-analysis on Teacher Autonomy Support, Academic Achievement, and Psychosocial Functioning.” The project will examine the effect of teacher autonomy support — or teaching practices designed to cultivate student autonomy, rather than impose control — on student mental health outcomes. Learn more

Hannah Szlyk was drawn to SSW while completing a post-masters clinical fellowship at the Menninger Clinic in Houston. She recently completed her third year at the UT Austin School of Social Work. Her research project will examine how life stressors (housing mobility, life events, discrimination, neighborhood environment, school progress) contribute to and predict ranges in suicidality, and how the specialized program at Garza may help students stay safe and graduate. Learn more


Questions about the application process, award, or eligible expenses may be emailed to Program Officer Rick Ybarra.