Michael J. Plesniak

Michael W. Plesniak

Department Chair and Professor
Address: Science & Engineering Hall
800 22nd ST, NW
Phone: 202-994-9803

Areas of Expertise

  • Aerospace engineering
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Fluid mechanics, thermal science and energy
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Propulsion


Michael W. Plesniak holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, and B.S. and M.S. degrees from the Illinois Institute of Technology.  Prior to joining GW, he was a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, the Eugene Kleiner Professor for Innovation in Mechanical Engineering at Polytechnic University of New York, and the Director of the Fluid Dynamics and Hydraulics Program at the National Science Foundation (NSF).  He received the 2006 NSF Director’s Award for Collaborative Integration for his contributions to NSF’s cyberinfrastructure initiative. 

Dr. Plesniak is a Fellow of the following: American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the American Physical Society (APS), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); and a member of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society. Prof. Plesniak was a recipient of the 2011 NASA DC Space Grant Consortium’s Outstanding STEM Faculty Award, awarded to faculty that make an outstanding contribution to STEM that goes above and beyond the classroom. He served as 2011 Lead Judge for the Siemens National Competition. Dr. Plesniak was also named the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, National Capital Section Engineer of the Year 2010-2011 for his work on contaminant transport in aircraft, service to the fluid dynamics community and public policy advocacy.

In the area of public policy advocacy, Dr. Plesniak is a member of the national level AIAA Public Policy Committee (Aeronautics subcommittee), ASME Inter-Sector Committee on Federal Research and Development (NSF Task Force), and the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress (Infrastructure Issue Team, 2009-10). He is also a member of the national level AIAA Ethics Committee (2012-2014).

Current Research

Bio fluid mechanics, turbulence transport and mixing enhancement, cavitation, three-dimensional boundary layers, gas turbine cooling, environmentally-benign consumer aerosol sprays, and entrainment control


Post-doctoral Scholar, NASA Ames Research Center
Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 1990
M.S. Mechanical Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology, 1984
B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology, 1983

Office Hours

By appointment