Joseph Wang, of Blacksburg, an associate professor of aerospace and ocean engineering at Virginia Tech, has been invited by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) to participate in the 10th annual Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, Sept. 9-11 in Irvine, Calif.

Wang is among a select group of 86 engineers invited from throughout the United States to attend the symposium. These engineers — ranging from 30 to 45 years of age and representing academia, industry, and government laboratories — were selected in recognition of their contributions to the advancement of engineering and their potential as future leaders in their fields.

For more than nine years, Wang worked as an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he received the Lew Allen Award for Excellence in scientific research and was promoted to the rank of principal member of the engineering staff in 2000. He has led more than 20 research projects for NASA and the U.S. Air Force, including serving as principal investigator for ion propulsion interactions as part of NASA’s Deep Space 1 mission.

Since leaving NASA in 2001 to join the faculty of Virginia Tech, Wang has conducted research in the areas of advanced space propulsion, computational engineering, plasma and gas physics, and space systems. In addition, as a fellow of the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, he is studying microfluidics modeling for bioanalytical applications.

Wang earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering mechanics from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. He received his master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics and his Ph.D. in plasma physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"Advances in engineering are moving with incredible speed across many facets of the profession," said NAE President William Wulf. "The goal of the Frontiers in Engineering symposium is to bring together outstanding leaders of the engineering developments."

Wang and fellow symposium participants will hear presentations from the world's leading engineers and scientists on the topics of engineering for extreme environments, designer materials, multi-scale modeling, and engineering and entertainment.

This year's symposium is sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Air Products and Chemicals Inc., ATOFINA Chemicals Inc., Cummins Inc., the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the U.S. Department of Defense (DDR&E—Research), Eastman Kodak Co., Microsoft Corp., and NASA, as well as individual donors.

The National Academy of Engineering is an independent, nonprofit institution that serves as an adviser to government and the public on issues in engineering and technology. Its members consist of the nation's premier engineers, who are elected by their peers for their distinguished achievements. Established in 1964, NAE operates under the congressional charter granted to the National Academy of Sciences in 1863.

The College of Engineering at Virginia Tech is internationally recognized for its excellence in 14 engineering disciplines and computer science. The college’s 5,600 undergraduates benefit from an innovative curriculum that provides a "hands-on, minds-on" approach to engineering education, complementing classroom instruction with two unique design-and-build facilities and a strong Cooperative Education Program. With more than 50 research centers and numerous laboratories, the college offers its 2,000 graduate students opportunities in advanced fields of study such as biomedical engineering, state-of-the-art microelectronics, and nanotechnology.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become among the largest universities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech’s eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.