Kathleen Wage’s research is a multi-disciplinary synthesis of array processing, acoustics, and oceanography. Since joining Mason in 1999, she has established a strong research program with funding from the Office of Naval Research, including an ONR Young Investigator Award (2005). Currently, she and her students are working on three Navy projects. One effort focuses on designing sparse arrays for underwater environments that can achieve adequate performance with significantly lower cost than fully-populated arrays. The second project leverages new results from mathematics to analyze and improve sonar signal processing algorithms. Using data from several experiments, the final project focuses on characterizing ambient noise and signal scattering in the deep ocean. As a part of these experiments, Dr. Wage has spent over 100 days on research ships in the North Pacific and Philippine Sea.
In addition to ocean signal processing, Dr. Wage is passionate about teaching and very interested in educational assessment. She incorporates active learning in all her courses and mentors other faculty interested in using these techniques. 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 2016 she received the 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.”