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CE Ph.D. Student Earns NSF Fellowship

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Alena Mikhaylova, a Civil Engineering Ph.D. student, will spend two months this summer in South Korea under the auspices of a National Science Foundation East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI) Fellowship. Her research in steel fiber distribution within concrete mixes is complementary to her current research in steel fiber reinforced structures.

Alena Mikhaylova, UTA Civil Engineering NSF Fellowship winner

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any graduate student to experience research in an international setting with scientists from other countries. Receiving an NSF EAPSI fellowship is a stepping stone toward my success in procuring future National Science Foundation research grants such as NSF-CAREER and NSF GOALI, which is a key in becoming a successful professor,” Mikhaylova said.

Mikhaylova had a choice of where to go for her fellowship, and because of a contact from a previous collaboration, she chose Kyungpook National University, one of the largest universities in Korea.

“With the availability of facilities for testing and production, UTA is the only university in the country that is capable of doing research on as large a scale as we do on underground structures” she said. “Dr. Choi’s research is similar to mine, and the university has very good facilities where we can conduct our research.”

In addition to her research, Mikhaylova also teaches a mechanics of materials class at UTA, which she enjoys. Someday, she would like to be a faculty member at a university.

Her advisor, Civil Engineering Department Chair Ali Abolmaali, is excited about Mikhaylova’s opportunity. “This fellowship is a great honor that Alena fully deserves. Her Ph.D. research, which includes both full scale experimental and numerical modeling components, has been published in top tier journals and conference proceedings. She is serving as Co-Principal Investigator on two projects to which she contributed significantly in the proposal preparation phases, and an ASTM national and international design specification is being finalized based on her research. She has been an excellent teacher for the Civil Engineering Department. I am certain that Alena will be a successful academician,” he said.

An EAPSI award provides U.S. graduate students in science, engineering, and education:  1) first-hand research experiences in Australia, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore or Taiwan; 2) an introduction to the science, science policy, and scientific infrastructure of the respective location; and 3) an orientation to the society, culture and language.  It is expected that EAPSI awards will help students initiate professional relationships to enable future collaboration with foreign counterparts.


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