Frances Fowler Wallace Memorial Award

The application process for the Frances Fowler Wallace Memorial Award is now by invitation only. Please subscribe to our newsletters for future funding announcements.

The Frances Fowler Wallace Memorial Award, established in 1974, 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 Frances Fowler Wallace. Mrs. Wallace was the wife of John Forsythe Wallace, member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1920 to 1930. She left half of her estate to the foundation as an expendable fund for research.

The annual award provides up to $3,000 for research-related expenses such as mileage from related travel, survey mailings, software, participant stipends and training. Award recipients must provide a copy of the final dissertation to the foundation.

Eligibility and Application

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.

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


Application Submission and Selection

The application process for the Frances Fowler Wallace Memorial Award is now by invitation only. Please subscribe to our newsletters for future funding announcements.

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

All applications must be submitted through Fluxx, the foundation’s online grant portal.

Applications must include:

  • A clearly stated research question.
  • A brief description of the proposed dissertation and how it relates to mental health.
  • A brief 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).
  • A timeline for completing the dissertation.

Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • The applicant makes a compelling case, based on existing relevant research, 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.
  • A recommendation letter that strongly supports the applicant’s ability to carry out the project.
  • The budget expenses are justified.

Questions: Contact Rick Ybarra, Program Officer.

Recent Recipients



Danielle Lauricella-Ketring, M.S. LMFT-A is a doctoral candidate at Texas Tech University. Her research focuses on intimate partner violence, sexual trauma, and mindfulness. She is a practicing marriage and family therapist, working with individuals, couples, and families from a systemic perspective to help improve mental health and interpersonal relationships. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking with her husband and her dog. Learn more

Jesse C. Starkey is a PhD candidate in Media and Communication at Texas Tech University. Her research looks at the intersection of advocacy and mental health communication in specific community contexts, with the goal of providing advocacy strategies aimed at lowering barriers to accessing mental health services for all people. She is currently putting her research into action through serving on the Board of Directors of a non-profit community mental health center and working with the organization to increase their advocacy efforts. Learn more

Mary Hannah Key is currently a PhD candidate in Family Therapy at Texas Woman’s University and is in the process of completing her dissertation. She works as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate at a private practice in DFW. Mary Hannah specializes in working with couples, with several years of experience and advanced training. Learn more

Kate Magnuson is a fourth-year clinical psychology doctoral candidate at Baylor University. Her research interests broadly include the role of parent and caregiver engagement in clinical treatment of children and adolescents and the use of mobile technology to disseminate evidence-based, relatable treatment modalities to youth and families. Learn more

Ijeoma Madubata is a current fourth-year clinical psychology doctoral candidate at the University of Houston. Her research interests include culturally informed risk and protective factors for mood disturbance and suicide behavior in African American communities. Learn more

Lauren Pascarella is a PhD candidate in clinical psychology at Texas Tech University. Her primary areas of research focus on child psychopathology, child anxiety disorders and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in children. Her research focuses on the factors that contribute to such disorders, as well as their comorbidity. Learn more

Brianna Garrison received her undergraduate degree from Texas Tech University and her MSW degree and graduate certificate in Health Disparities at the University of Houston. Brianna was awarded a pre-dissertation fellowship with the Association of Gerontology Education in Social Work. Brianna currently serves as MSW Program Director at the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work Houston Campus and is a licensed clinical social worker and board-approved clinical supervisor. Although her current research focuses on caregivers of persons living with dementia, her broader interests include gerontology, health disparities, health equity, mental health for older adults, grief and loss, and social connection for older adults. Learn more

Jenny Holcomb is a DrPH candidate in Community Health Practice at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health (UTHealth). Her interests include improving healthcare programs and policies impacting diverse communities such as those who are living with a disability, rural populations, and older sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations. Jenny’s experiences working within the SGM community through community service and research led her to develop her study, More than one population: generational differences among sexual and gender minority individuals. Her dissertation focuses on resiliency factors such as social support and religion/spirituality to improve mental health in older SGM adults. Learn more

Alexis Blessing is a doctoral student in psychology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. After working with student veterans seeking treatment for PTSD, Blessing was inspired to investigate factors that can reduce the public stigma of military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Her work focuses on utilizing self-compassion, which is associated with empathy and prosocial behaviors, to reduce the negative emotions and thoughts towards veterans with PTSD. Learn more

Mary Odafe is a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Houston. Her study, “Children of Immigrants: Psychological Risk and Resilience,” explores the relation between suicide ideation and the striving for achievement among the children of immigrants. Odafe’s work contributes to our understanding of the lived experience of the children of immigrants to the U.S. Learn more

Becky Scott earned her doctorate from the Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University. Scott’s dissertation research project, “Feasibility of an Adaptation of Child Adult Relationship Enhancement (CARE) Model in Integrated Behavioral Health Care to Address Externalized Behavior Disorders in Federally Qualified Health Centers,” explores opportunities for primary care doctors to equip parents with the knowledge and tools they need to respond to challenging behaviors in children. Learn more

Mia Kirby is a licensed clinical social worker and doctoral student studying sociology at Texas Woman’s University. Kirby’s experiences working with Black women in treatment, as well as her engagement of Black feminist theory, led her to develop the study: “Cranes in the Sky: Exploring the relationship between the Strong Black Woman Archetype and the mental health help seeking behaviors of Black women.” Learn more

Dianna Boone is studying Clinical Psychology at Texas Tech University. Boone’s interest in pediatric obesity—and in particular how it occurs in Latino children at a disproportionately higher rate—led her to develop the study “Family Functioning, Parent Feeding Practices and Attitudes, and Youth Weight Status in a Latino Sample.Learn more

Carolyn Phillips is an oncology nurse turned researcher enrolled in The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing. Building on more than a decade of clinical experience, Phillips’ study, “A Feasibility Study to Evaluate Storytelling Through Music to Improve Well-Being in Oncology Nurses, tested whether an intervention combining storytelling, expressive writing and music could address the work-related emotions of people who care for cancer patients. Learn more 

Angela Powell is pursuing a doctorate at Sam Houston State University. Working as a school counselor, Powell was struck by the academic achievement gap between her African American and Caucasian students. To figure out its source, she made it the subject of her study: “The Relationship between Posttraumatic Symptoms and the Reading Scores on Standardized Tests of Third Grade African American Male Students.” Learn more

Margarita Sala is  earning her Ph.D. in Psychology at Southern Methodist University and got her start as a researcher in the Eating Disorders Lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her study, “Mindful Exercise: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial,” tests the potential of mindfulness as a strategy for influencing exercise behavior. Learn more

Lauren Smith is a student in the School Psychology program at The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education. An interest in community-based research and an affinity working for children led her to pursue a career in clinical therapeutic intervention. Her study is called “Identifying Factors of Parent Engagement in a School-based Mental Health Intervention: An mHealth Approach.” Learn more 

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 social service work 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