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International Student Elina Geut Sets Her Sights Sky High

Elina Geut sits at a desk with a laptop and monitor.

Elina Geut set her sights on engineering at a young age and hasn’t looked back. Originally from Jalalabad, Kyrgyzstan, her family moved to Orenburg, Russia, when she was seven. After graduating from high school at age 16, she moved to the US, bringing her passion for engineering along.

Geut completed her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at UT Martin in three-and-a-half years to graduate at age 20. From there, she jumped immediately into UT’s master’s program in structural engineering, and she intends to continue with a PhD and study under Assistant Professor Tim Truster.

“A big reason why I decided to come to UT was Dr. Truster,” she said. “His passion about the research and the overall attitude influenced my decision. I also got to meet several faculty members, and all of them were extremely welcoming. The atmosphere at UT’s CEE reminded me of the one in Martin, which I was very happy about.”

Geut is delving into the world of fatigue behavior of structural materials, specifically working on advancing Truster’s NSF CAREER Award research, which has a goal of advancing the understanding of microstructural and textural influences on fatigue behavior of polycrystalline materials by understanding how stress applied at the bulk scale is redistributed at the grain scale. Geut is working to develop a new computational mechanism for understanding fatigue behavior.

Fatigue failures are hard to test for, and Geut’s effort to create a simulation that can predict the behavior of a material under such loading to provide a benefit for the field of structural engineering.

“The idea that I can contribute to improving of understanding of fatigue failures drives me,” she said.

For practical application, understanding the material behavior on a microstructural level directly influences macrostructural models which we see every day in buildings and bridges.

The microstructural level is the exciting part of the research. When one can understand what happens on the microlevel, the quality and material life can be greatly improved.”

—Elina Geut

“Elina is an exceptional student researcher who is technically inquisitive and manages her time well,” said Truster. “She is also a brightening personality who is uplifting to be around. I’m excited to have her on my team.”

Geut credits her academic muscle to good study habits and a supportive mother.

“My studying habits are strange for my peers,” she noted. “Nonetheless, I prefer studying by myself, in quiet, sometimes playing music. Having organized notes and creating color-coded study guides is the best way for me to learn and understand material.”

Although this rising star likes the microstructural level, she intends to one day work in industry and design complicated structures such as skyscrapers.

Élan Young: