Distinguished Physics Alumni

Steven Gardner (2014)

Stephen received his B.S. degree in Physics from GVSU in 2009. During his time at Grand Valley, Stephen was a recipient of the GVSU Presidential Scholarship and Arend D. Lubbers Honors College Scholarship. He was a member of the Honors College and maintained standing on the Dean’s List throughout his undergraduate career. In addition, he was a member of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) and was inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma, the national SPS honors society. After graduation from Grand Valley, Stephen attended graduate school at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, earning a M.S. degree in Therapeutic Medical Physics in 2011. After his time in Nashville, he accepted a position in the Medical Physics Residency Program at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. Stephen completed the residency program in the summer of 2013, and is now employed as a Senior Associate Medical Physicist at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, MI. Though his appointment at HFHS is primarily clinical, Stephen also performs research; currently, his main interests are related to the integration and evaluation of advanced imaging techniques in radiotherapy. In addition, Stephen has taken on a mentorship role in the Medical Physics Residency Program at Henry Ford Health System.

Steven Gardner

Steven Gardner

Steven Gardner


Dr. Rhonda (Graves) Vickery (2012)

Dr. Rhonda Vickery is a prime example of the versatility of a physics degree and of lifelong learning. After earning her B.S. in physics from GVSU in 1984, Rhonda went on to earn her B.S.E. in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan, her M.S. in Computer and Information Science from the University of South Alabama, and her Ph.D. in Computational Engineering from Mississippi State University. She has worked on computer control of aircraft, paper manufacturing and the rendering of sedimentation models in a virtual reality environment. She is currently employed at Dynamics Research Corporation as the site lead for the DoD High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP) in support of the User Productivity Enhancement, Technology Transfer and Training (PETTT) Program. Her team works on the development of scientific visualization, data mining and knowledge discovery, image analysis, problem solving methods ad computational techniques for intelligent extraction of useful information from data. When she's not working, she enjoys spending time with her family in a variety of outdoor recreational activities, including cycling, hiking and camping.

Dr. Rhonda Vickery

Dr. Rhonda Vickery

Dr. Rhonda Vickery


Kenneth Bader

Kenneth Bader (2010)

Kenneth began his research in acoustics during his final years at Grand Valley, working with Dr. Karen Gipson. Their investigations into bio-effects of therapeutic ultrasound prompted Kenneth to pursue graduate studies at the National Center for Physical Acoustics on the University of Mississippi campus. Kenneth is currently in the final stages of his PhD, studying the effects of overpressure on the tensile strength of liquids, and nucleation mechanisms for acoustic cavitation.


Chris Brooks (2008)

Chris Brooks graduated from GVSU with a double major in physics and mathematics in 2001. He was on the Deans list for his entire undergraduate career and won senior awards in both departments. Following his graduation from GVSU, Chris went on to pursue graduate studies in shock-wave physics at Washington State University. He received his M.S. in physics in 2004; his thesis was entitled "Exploration of Several Aspects Pertaining to Multiply Shocked Water." He also received certification in Optoelectronics. Chris has been employed as a development engineer at Aculight Corporation since 2004, where he has done extensive research on fiber amplifiers and lasers. He has published numerous papers on that work, received one patent, and has several patents pending. He currently lives in Seattle.

Chris Brooks

Chris Brooks with Dr. Frederick J. Antczak , Dean of CLAS