Sound of Success: Mason professor wins major acoustics award

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Kathleen Wage, a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at George Mason University, was recently awarded the Rossing Prize in Acoustics Education from the Acoustical Society of America (ASA). The award recognizes “an individual who has made significant contributions toward furthering acoustics education through distinguished teaching, creation of educational materials, textbook writing, and other activities.”  John Buck (ASA Fellow and chancellor professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth) cited Wage’s “exceptional classroom instruction, championing active learning, pioneering assessments and videos, and mentoring the next generation in acoustic signal processing” in his nominating letter.

Blue sound waves graphic
Sound Waves. Photo by iStock.

“I am incredibly honored to receive the Rossing Prize from the ASA, which has played a major role in my professional development since I joined the society in graduate school,” she said.  “Receiving the award prompted me to reflect on all those who paved the way for me, and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to express my gratitude.”

As the award recipient, Wage delivered the Acoustics Education Prize lecture at the ASA spring meeting. Her lecture was titled, DJ Prof: Reflections on Teaching. DJ Prof is an autobiographical character she created while exploring her artistic side in an article for Acoustics Today in 2016. DJ Prof mixes multiple modes of instruction to engage and excite students and illustrates the concept of active learning.

In the talk, Wage acknowledged several Mason groups who have aided her in her career, including The Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning. She also highlighted active learning strategies and associated research, provided attendees with an opportunity to reflect on their journeys as acousticians and educators, and challenged all assembled to create more inclusive learning and research environments.  

This year DJ Prof will teach courses in signal processing and work with her research students on projects sponsored by the Office of Naval Research, including a new grant on “Mode sensing and prediction in deep water environments” that started in July 2023. She also plans to lead a discussion of the book Inclusive Teaching: Strategies for Promoting Equity in the College Classroom by K. A. Hogan and V. Sathy.