Kathleen E. Wage

Ocean Acoustic Signal Processing @ Mason


Kathleen Wage’s research is a multi-disciplinary synthesis of array processing and underwater acoustics. Her current work applies random matrix theory and universal algorithms to problems in sonar signal processing and underwater acoustic propagation. Other projects explored the design of sparse arrays for underwater environments and investigated ambient noise in the deep ocean. Much of Dr. Wage's research incorporates real data from ocean experiments. During her career she has spent over 100 days on research ships in the North Pacific and Philippine Sea. She has a consistent record of funding that includes an Office of Naval Research (ONR) Basic Research Challenge Award (2013-2019), a Young Investigator Award (2005) and an ONR Ocean Acoustics Entry-Level Faculty Award (2002).

Prof. Wage is passionate about teaching and incorporates active learning in her courses. In collaboration with John Buck she developed the Signals and Systems Concept Inventory (SSCI), a standardized exam designed to measure conceptual understanding of linear systems. In 2022 she received the Rossing Prize in Acoustics Education from the Acoustical Society of America. Prior to that she received the 2016 Harriet B. Rigas Award from the IEEE Education Society and Hewlett-Packard for “championing active learning, developing an internationally recognized assessment instrument, and cultivating a sustainable and supportive environment for female engineering faculty”. She also received the John Toups Presidential Medal for Excellence in Teaching from George Mason University in 2019 and the Mac E. Van Valkenburg Early Career Teaching Award from the IEEE Education Society in 2008.

Dr. Wage has worked at Mason since 1999 when she joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department as a visiting assistant professor. She accepted a tenure-track position in 2000 and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2006 and full professor in 2022. While at Mason she has served her department, school, and university in a variety of ways, e.g., as a member of search committees for dean and department head and as chair of the ECE Department PhD committee (2008-2016). She has also chaired promotion committees for tenured and term faculty. In AY 2020-2021 she was a Distinguished Mentoring Fellow for a Faculty Mentoring Community.

In professional service, she was an Associate Editor for the IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering (2005-2019) and chair of the IEEE Underwater Acoustic Signal Processing Workshop (2013, 2015, and 2017). Dr. Wage is a senior member of the IEEE, and a member of the Acoustical Society of America, the American Society for Engineering Education, the American Geophysical Union, and Sigma Xi.


  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2000
  • E.E., Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1996
  • S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1994
  • B.S., University of Tennessee, 1990

Download Kathleen Wage's curriculum vitae: PDF format.

Kathleen Wage in her natural habitat (a.k.a. her office)