Cyberstar. With engineer parents, it wasn't surprising when Min Wu "fell in love with computer programming" in third grade or became the first woman on her university chess team in Beijing. Now, boosted by a $350,000 National Science Foundation grant and an MIT young-innovator award, the University of Maryland professor is a cybersecurity expert. Wu, 30, specializes in digital watermarking, a method of hiding data in digital documents and other media. Her work stands to help industry, government, and Hollywood in fraud prevention and forensic tracking of sensitive material.
Washingtonian staff contributing to this section were Chuck Conconi, Sherri Dalphonse, Susan Davidson, Mary Clare Fleury, Cynthia Hacinli, Thomas Head, Stephanie Jones, Ann Limpert, Drew Lindsay, Chad Lorenz, Leslie Milk, William O'Sullivan, Cindy Rich, and Jeremy Stahl. Also contributing were writers Cathy Alter, Ann Cochran, and Jenny Sullivan.