UT Tyler Office of Marketing and Communications

UT Tyler Student Earns Engineering Fellowship: Research to Help Decrease Earthquake Fatalities

July 31, 2018

Media Contact: Beverley Golden
Senior Director of Media Relations
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler

Following one of her country's worst natural disasters in more than eight decades, Alisha Khanal, a civil engineer, decided to dedicate the next phase of her educational career to developing a better understanding of earthquake effects in hopes of preventing future fatalities.

A fellowship from the American Society of Civil Engineers is helping Khanal realize her goal.

"After the devastating earthquake in Nepal in 2015, there were so many landslides and many lives were lost. I did some work there in the geotechnical field and developed a deep interest in studying how earthquakes affect our natural slopes," Khanal said.

A University of Texas at Tyler graduate student, Khanal has been awarded the $9,500 Trent R. Dames and William W. Moore Fellowship from the ASCE. This fellowship is intended to further the exploration of new applications of geotechnical engineering or the earth sciences to social, economic, environmental and political issues.

One of two students nationwide to receive this fellowship, she is studying with UT Tyler assistant professor, Dr. Gokhan Saygili, who is an expert in the geotechnical field.

"Receiving this fellowship is a tremendous honor for me as it is awarded by the most reputable organization of civil engineers. This will be beneficial to my career. The fellowship also affords me the opportunity to focus entirely on my research," she added.

Khanal is researching how earthquake mainshocks and aftershocks affect the Earth's natural hills and slopes.

After completing her master's degree, Khanal plans to put her research to practical use by working as a geotechnical engineer and then pursue a doctoral degree.

A member of the prestigious UT System, The University of Texas at Tyler focuses on student success and innovative research in the more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered. With more than 10,000 students, UT Tyler has facilities in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston.