Tonya M. Matthews, Ph.D.


Tonya MatthewsCurrent Position:

President & CEO


Michigan Science Center

What influenced your decision to serve on the Board?

The Michigan Science Center has been working with the Detroit Mercy on several programs – from Chemistry week to the ReBUILDetroit Initiative. I’m impressed by Detroit Mercy’s impact, vision, leadership and community focus. Being a part of the Board is an opportunity for me to not only support Detroit Mercy’s work, but also to learn and swap ideas with Detroit Mercy leadership and my fellow Board Members about how great institutions build great communities.

Biographical Profile:

A thought-leader in museum engagement and open-classroom, hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, Dr. Tonya M. Matthews serves as the Michigan Science Center’s president and chief executive officer. Her diverse background includes academic and professional work as a Ph.D. scientist, educator, community volunteer and award-winning writer/poet. Prior to the Michigan Science Center, Matthews served as the Vice President of Museums for Cincinnati Museum Center, directing the education, research and community engagement footprints of a 3-museum, 3-research center, multi-site institution. During her tenure, she was instrumental in positioning the museum as a thought leader in STEM and created the museum’s signature programs in early childhood science training and girl-focused STEM engagement. Matthews completed her doctoral work at Johns Hopkins University in biomedical engineering and baccalaureate studies at Duke University in biomedical and electrical engineering. Her undergraduate degree also includes a certificate in African/African-American Studies. Her poetic and social contributions to community and to new American poetry are commemorated with a permanent exhibit in the Reginald F. Lewis Maryland Museum of African-American History and Culture. She currently serves on the boards for the American Alliance of Museums, National Assessment Governance Board, Chatfield College, and Detroit Public Television. Matthews is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and The Links, Incorporated.