Wagner appointed to early career and development professorship


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Alan Wagner, assistant professor of aerospace engineering, was one of seven faculty members in the College of Engineering who were recently appointed to early career and development professorships.

Wagner was appointed a Hartz Family Career Development Professorship in Engineering. He will hold the respective professorship for a three-year term.

Early career and development professorships are awarded to outstanding faculty early in their academic career within the Penn State College of Engineering and recognize current achievements and demonstrate a belief in potential.

Wagner joined the Department of Aerospace Engineering in August 2016, having previously been a social robotics researcher at the Georgia Tech Research Institute, where he worked in the Aerospace, Transportation and Advanced Systems Laboratory. He is also affiliated with the Penn State Rock Ethics Institute.

His research primarily focuses on developing the theoretical underpinnings necessary for human-robot social relations and the design and creation of systems which can interact with people pro-socially as they relate to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in search-and-rescue and humanitarian missions.

Wagner’s research has been featured in Scientist Magazine, Popular Science, The Wall Street Journal, Science, and on CBS News. His work was ranked 13th in TIME magazine’s Top 50 Inventions of 2010.

All faculty members selected for professorships were done so following a recommendation from the Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering, Justin Schwartz, for their outstanding teaching and research initiatives.


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Chris Spallino




The Penn State Department of Aerospace Engineering, established in 1961 and the only aerospace engineering department in Pennsylvania, is consistently recognized as one of the top aerospace engineering departments in the nation, and is also an international leader in aerospace education, research, and engagement. Our undergraduate program is ranked 15th and our graduate programs are ranked 15th nationally by U.S. News & World Report, while one in 25 holders of a B.S. degree in aerospace engineering in the U.S. earned it from Penn State. Our students are consistently among the most highly recruited by industry, government, and graduate schools nationwide.

The department is built upon the fundamentals of academic integrity, innovation in research, and commitment to the advancement of industry. Through an innovative curriculum and world-class instruction that reflects current industry practice and embraces future trends, Penn State Aerospace Engineering graduates emerge as broadly educated, technically sound aerospace engineers who will become future leaders in a critical industry

Department of Aerospace Engineering

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The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2569