Wong Awarded Wormley Family Early Career Professorship in Engineering


By Shea Bracken

Tak-Sing Wong, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, received the Wormley Family Early Career Professorship in Engineering.

Wong directs the Laboratory for Nature-Inspired Engineering, which focuses on studying natural systems in order to engineer bio-inspired materials that solve critical issues and improve human life. His research is highly interdisciplinary with applications in materials, water, energy, and health.

“It is a great honor to receive this early career title named after the Wormley family,” Wong said. “This endowment will allow me to continue pursuing high impact research and education activities, and contribute to the Penn State community and beyond.”

In 2014, Wong was named an Innovator Under 35 by the MIT Technology Review and was invited to participate in the National Academy of Engineering’s U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium in recognition of his work. Also in 2014, Wong received an Early CAREER award from the National Science Foundation and a DARPA Young Faculty Award. His work on bio-inspired surfaces was recognized as one of the Best Inventions using Biomimicry in 2011 and in 2012 he received the R&D 100 Award for the world’s top 100 technical innovations of the year.

A Penn State faculty member since 2013, Wong received his bachelor of engineering degree in automation and computer-aided engineering from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and his doctorate degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles. He completed his postdoctoral research at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.

Wong’s early career professorship appointment runs through June 2018.

Early career professorships offer support by targeting promising young faculty members at a crucial time in their careers. The professorships allow young faculty in the first ten years of their career to establish a commitment to teaching by directing initial energies to the classroom. Professorships may also provide start-up funds for new areas of research and teaching laboratories, as well as offer early recognition for outstanding accomplishments.

Dean Emeritus David N. Wormley and wife Shirley endowed this professorship. Wormley joined Penn State as dean of the College of Engineering in 1992. He retired in 2013 and received an Honorary Alumni Award from Penn State in 2015.


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Shea Bracken




The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is one of the nation’s largest and most successful engineering departments. We serve more than 1,000 undergraduate students and more than 330 graduate students

We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering and nuclear engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S., M.Eng.) graduate degrees in nuclear engineering and mechanical engineering. MNE's strength is in offering hands-on experience in highly relevant research areas, such as energy, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems.

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