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SOURCE Michigan Science Center
Tonya Matthews, Ph.D. joins the Science Center after serving as vice president of museums at the Cincinnati Museum Center
DETROIT, Sept. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Michigan Science Center (Mi-Sci) announced today it has appointed Dr. Tonya Matthews, as its new president and CEO. Effective Oct. 15, Dr. Matthews will succeed Jim Issner, interim executive director since December 2011 when he volunteered to assist in opening Mi-Sci.
"We greatly appreciate Jim stepping in to lead the Mi-Sci team," said Tom Stephens, chairman of the board, Michigan Science Center. "His effort and dedication were critical to the successful launch of the facility in December 2012."
Stephens added, "We are extremely excited to have someone with Dr. Matthews' strong museum background and passion for encouraging children to embrace science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) join our team. Her wealth of knowledge, leadership experience and enthusiasm is exactly what Mi-Sci needs to take it to the next level and engage even more kids and families across the state."
In her new position, Dr. Matthews will be responsible for overall operations of the Science Center, including implementing a strategic plan to fulfill the museum's mission and promote growth. She also will oversee educational and community outreach programs, partnerships, fundraising, budgets and external relations.
"I am thrilled to join Mi-Sci as its new president and CEO and lead the organization in its mission of inspiring children and families to explore all STEM has to offer," said Dr. Matthews, incoming president and CEO, Michigan Science Center. "I look forward to continuing to expand on the foundation that has been established and further engaging the community so they can experience science firsthand in a lively, hands-on environment."
"The Michigan Science Center provides outstanding educational opportunities to youth from our entire region," said Pamela Alexander, director of Community development, Ford Motor Company Fund. "Tonya Matthews was an invaluable part of the team at Cincinnati Museum Center that developed the nationally traveling exhibition Freedom's Sisters with Ford Motor Company. She inspires excitement and we look forward to working with her."
Prior to her position at Mi-Sci, Dr. Matthews served as vice president of museums at Cincinnati Museum Center, directing the education, research and community engagement footprints of the three museum, three research center, multi-site institution. During her tenure, she was instrumental in positioning the museum as a thought leader in STEM education and engagement. Dr. Matthews created the Museum Center's signature program in early childhood educator training in science that now annually trains more than 150 teachers throughout the region, with measurable classroom impact. Her responsibilities at the museum also included creating and sustaining private-public-corporate partnerships to support science, history and early childhood learning within the museums and across a three-state footprint.
Prior to her position at the Cincinnati Museum Center, she joined Maryland Science Center as manager of BodyLink, an innovative, multimedia education center focused on biotechnology. During her tenure at the Science Center, Dr. Matthews created an outreach lab program for city high school students and was instrumental in founding institutional partnerships between BodyLink, the National Institutes of Health, University of Maryland and the Baltimore City Health Department.
"Tonya Matthews is an important figure in the museum field and is a great advocate for science learning," said Ford W. Bell, president of American Alliance of Museums. "She has been a leader in Cincinnati Museum Center's 2012 accreditation and led the development of its award-wining ECSITE (early childhood science inquiry teacher education) program. The people of Detroit –especially its younger residents – should be aware that this is a person with a deep commitment to service – as evidenced to her work on our board of directors and a career devoted to engaging young minds in the wonders of science."
Dr. Matthews also has served as adjunct and visiting faculty at several colleges including Stevenson College in Maryland and George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She also spent an early part of her career at the Food and Drug Administration in the restorative and neurological devices division.
Dr. Matthews received a bachelor's degree in biomedical and electrical engineering from Duke University and completed her doctoral work at Johns Hopkins University in biomedical engineering. Her undergraduate degree also includes a certificate in African/African-American Studies. She is the recipient of a Whitaker Foundation Award for Engineering Excellence, an alumni member of the National Society of Black Engineers and the Society for Women Engineers, and sits on the board of directors for the American Alliance of Museums.
About The Michigan Science Center
The Michigan Science Center is a hands-on museum that inspires children and their families to discover, explore and appreciate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The Science Center features five theaters, including Michigan's largest screen at the Chrysler IMAX® Dome Theatre; the Dassault Systemes Planetarium; the Toyota Engineering Theater; the DTE Energy Sparks Theater; the Chrysler Science Stage; a 9,800 square-foot Science Hall for traveling exhibits; hands-on exhibit galleries focusing on space, life and physical science; Kidstown just for pint-size scientists; and, education and outreach programs.
For more information, please call 313.577.8400 or visit the website, http://www.michigansciencecenter.org.
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