MATTHEW T. VONK

Countries: 
Nicaragua
Discipline: 
Physics and Astronomy
  • Associate Professor, Physics Department, College of Arts and Sciences
  • University of Wisconsin - River Falls, River Falls, WI
  • Lecturing: Bridging the Digital Divide: Collaborative Curriculum Development in Nicaragua
  • National Engineering University, Managua, Nicaragua
  • March - July 2010
  • Email: matthew.vonk@uwrf.edu
  • Fulbright Presentation
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Photos

Originally from Battle Creek, Michigan, I got my BS in physics at Hope College in Holland, MI and my PhD in physics from the University of Minnesota.  Since then I have taught physics in Kentucky and Minnesota.  I started teaching at the University of Wisconsin River Falls in 2004 where I teach the three courses in the electronics sequence in addition to Algebra-based physics, Modern Physics, and Astronomy.

During the spring semester of 2010 I received a Fulbright award which allowed me to live in Managua, Nicaragua where I taught at UNI (the National Engineering University).  The title of my project was Bridging the Digital Divide:  Uniting the Americas through Electronics Education and the objective was to 1) teach a course of digital electronics and to 2) collaborate with the faculty at UNI to incorporate programmable electronic chips (FPGA’s or Field Programmable Gate Array’s) into the curriculum.  It was an incredible transformative experience for my teaching, for me personally, and (I hope) for my Nicaraguan colleagues and students.

In 2013, my collaborators (Peter Bohacek and Ellen Iverson) and I received a grant from the National Science Foundation to create short videos of physical phenomena that will allow students to make measurements directly from the video so that the videos can be used as a substitute for written homework problems.  A library of our videos can be found here.