Two UNC Chapel Hill Public Administration Students Receive 2017 HSRC Scholarship

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (July 19, 2017) ─ The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Highway Safety Research Center announced today two recipients of the 2017 Megan Cornog Memorial Highway Safety Scholarship, Jonathan Holt and Detective Justin Stirewalt. Both Holt and Stirewalt are pursuing master’s degrees in public administration at the UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Government.

“Winning HSRC’s Highway Safety Scholarship is a tremendous honor,” said Holt. “I am proud to represent my field of public administration as part of the coalition of stakeholders, both within and beyond the university, that are seeking solutions to improve roadway safety.” The focus of Holt’s studies is the overarching motivation of advancing the public good. “When a community commits to the value of Complete Streets that can support and encourage mobility of all types, there are tangible improvements in public health, environmental sustainability and economic development,” Holt added.

A full-time detective for the Surry County Sheriff’s Office and part-time graduate student, Stirewalt plans to use his degree to become a stronger asset to his department and to his community. “Making sure that the men and women [serving in law enforcement] are equipped to face the issues that plague the public is one of the primary responsibilities of a public administrator,” said Stirewalt. Stirewalt’s grandfather, a former North Carolina State Highway Patrol officer and a tremendous role model, first got his grandson interested in transportation safety. “I always respected my grandfather not only for the job that he did, but for how he did it,” Stirewalt continued.

Both 2017 scholarship recipients will visit HSRC in the fall of 2017 to discuss their research and areas of interest with HSRC staff. Please let Jennifer Palcher-Silliman, know if you would like to attend to this free event.

The purpose of the annual Megan Cornog Memorial Highway Safety Scholarship is to foster the education and professional development of graduate students with an interest in transportation safety-related areas including, but not limited to, engineering, driver behavior, planning, public health and environment. Candidates are evaluated based on a written essay, as well as academic performance, career goals, extracurricular and professional activities and work experience.

The scholarship is named in memory of a former HSRC staff member, Megan Cornog, who died Nov. 7, 2010, at her home in Carrboro, N.C., after a courageous battle with cancer. After earning her master’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in May 2009, Megan began her career working as a project coordinator for HSRC, focusing on pedestrian and bicycle issues.

Since establishing the scholarship in 2006, HSRC has awarded ten scholarships to graduate students in the UNC system. Learn more at