Tonya Matthews has been hired by Wayne State University as its new associate provost for inclusive workforce development and director of STEM learning innovation. Provost Keith Whitfield made the announcement.
“I’m very pleased to have Dr. Matthews join Wayne State,” he said. “She will bring incredible experience and energy to inform and support STEM programs for WSU students and STEM education for the young people of Detroit. She will also provide needed additional insights and leadership in the design and development of the STEM Building.”
Matthews most recently served as the inaugural president and CEO of the Michigan Science Center, transforming the former Detroit Science Center into the region’s hands-on STEM learning center. Her broad educational background spans engineering, arts, social sciences and physical sciences. She is also the founder of The STEMinista Project, an initiative designed to inspire and support middle school girls in STEM learning and careers. She currently serves on the National Academy of Sciences Board on Science Education and the National Assessment Governing Board, the independent board that creates and reports on The Nation’s Report Card in math, science and reading.
“Wayne State University has been a critical, accessible force for education, research and community service and transformation for generations,” Matthews said. “I am excited to join the university during this extraordinary period of growth, innovation, and unprecedented collaboration — particularly in our work to support the next generation of STEM professionals and visionaries. I am delighted to join Wayne State — and ready to have a place among the state’s proudest ‘Warriors.’”
Matthews earned a doctorate in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Science in electrical and biomedical engineering from Duke University.
“Some of my early goals for this positioninclude shaping the new STEM Learning Innovation Center to recognize, celebrate and support Wayne State’s innovation in interdisciplinary learning with space designed to support and inspire the creativity of first-in-class STEM teaching and learning experiences,” Matthews said.
She also recognizes the importance of workforce development. “We need to continue to be a resource and a leader in creating pathways and providing data that supports inclusive workforce development — and thus economic growth — for our region and our state. We must strive to raise the bar for Wayne State’s recognized and pivotal role in the revitalization of Detroit and the education of its next generation workforce.”