Ligler-Wagoner Challenge for Frontiers of Engineering

What is the Challenge?

FOE ChallengeLaunched in 2021, the Ligler-Wagoner Challenge for Frontiers of Engineering (FOE) is the latest opportunity to support the FOE program and its alumni network. Spearheaded by Frances and George Ligler and Robert and Robyn Wagoner, this challenge will raise the profile of FOE and ensure its longevity for future generations through a solid foundation of unrestricted support.

The goal of the challenge is to raise $200,000 for FOE by December 31, 2024. Each dollar raised will be generously matched 1:1 by the Liglers and Wagoners to double the proceeds to enhance FOE innovation for past, current, and future participants.

Through your support, FOE will be able to: 

  • Enable invitees to attend, regardless of their funding situation;
  • Expand networking opportunities for current and former FOE participants;
  • Enhance the cross-disciplinary collaboration that has made it such an effective and esteemed program for the past 27 years; and more.

Who can participate?

This challenge can be supported by anyone – individuals, corporations/foundations, and especially our FOE alumni who have experienced the program first-hand. All donations and pledges to FOE qualify for the match.

Why should you get involved?

For more than 25 years—thanks to the support of our program sponsors and donors—FOE has sustained and enhanced innovation by identifying highly accomplished early-career engineers from academia, industry, and government and bringing them together to discuss leading-edge research and innovation across widely disparate disciplines. 

Attending was a wonderful, eye-opening experience – besides being a lot of fun! FOE is the most meaningful cross-disciplinary program that we have seen for young engineers. - Robert (NAE '95) and Robyn Wagoner

FOE ChallengeRecent innovations from alumni include:

  • Ali Mostafavi analyzing visitation patterns to essential establishments like pharmacies, religious centers, and grocery stores to assess the recovery of communities after natural disasters in near real-time. 
  • Renata Pasqualini engineering an inhalable COVID-19 vaccine that would be easier to administer and more accessible than a jab.  
  • Jenna Jambeck studying types of litter cleanup and location to extrapolate how pollution can be prevented in the first place. 
  • George Pappas engineering an algorithm to ensure the fruitful cooperation of information-gathering robot teams in complex, unpredictable environments such as mapping or search-and-rescue.

You make these and other USFOE innovations possible.  

From travel support so invitees are able to attend—regardless of their funding situation—to seed funding that can be leveraged to raise additional funds for important new interdisciplinary research and projects, your support makes a difference

The Frontiers of Engineering Program has been on the leading edge of promoting interdisciplinary engineering across engineering work sectors. We see the future of engineering as increasingly interdisciplinary and the FOE Program as supporting if not accelerating this trend. - Frances and George Ligler (NAE '05 and '17)

Engineering collaboration facilitated by FOE is critical to solving some of the world’s most difficult problems. Your gift to FOE ensures that collaboration continues for future generations of engineering leaders. Make a gift to support FOE today.

How do you get involved?

A tax-deductible donation of any size to FOE will be matched thanks to the Ligler-Wagoner Challenge for Frontiers of Engineering. Explore the different giving options available to determine what works best for you. 

If you have any questions about how to make a pledge or gift—or if your preferred method of contributing isn’t listed below—please contact Radka Nebesky, Director of Development or Stephanie Halperin, Associate Director of Development.


Online gifts are the most immediate way to support FOE. To give online, you can use our secure online donation form and follow the instructions provided. You have the ability to make your gift as a one-time payment, or as a convenient monthly recurring gift. Recurring donations can be paused, adjusted, or canceled at any time and they are predominantly paperless. A cumulative tax receipt will be issued to you annually and your provided card will be charged on the 15th of each month.

If you would like to pause, adjust, or cancel an active recurring gift, please email

FOE ChallengeMail

Our printable donation form offers an easy way to mail your contribution. Checks made payable to "Frontiers of Engineering" should be mailed to our secure offsite processing center at:

National Academy of Engineering
Office of Development
P.O. Box 936138
Atlanta, GA 31193-6135

Please note “Frontiers of Engineering” in your check’s memo line. 


To make your gift via telephone, please call the Office of Development at 202.334.2431 and be ready to provide the information requested on the donation form.

Donor-Advised Funds (DAF)

Frontiers of Engineering welcomes your gifts through Donor-Advised Funds (DAF). When recommending a gift, please make sure your name and Frontiers of Engineering are located on the check or supporting documentation for proper attribution. 

We encourage you to speak with your tax advisor regarding any questions you have about your DAF.

Stock Gifts

A gift of long-term appreciated stock (held for more than one year) allows you to avoid capital gains tax. When itemizing your deductions, you can deduct the fair market value of the stock. If you choose this option, please submit a completed stock gift form and contact us at 202.334.2431 so that we can accurately credit your contribution.

Planned Gifts

Your planned gift to FOE, often in the form of a simple bequest, represents your current commitment to the program’s long-term future. We encourage you to explore our planned giving site today.