Faculty-Staff Biographies


Ryan Ingalls - RCAL -Resident Community Advisor & Liaison

After leaving my hometown of Center City MN, I decided to come to UW-River Falls where I have attended for the last four and a half years. I will be graduating with a BA in Marketing Communications with a minor in Psychology. Through my time and experience at UWRF, I have developed a passion for traveling, culture, event-planning, and student engagement. ryan 2

While I have been at River Falls, I have served for two years as a Resident Assistant for Residence Life; the social media and communications intern for New Student and Family Programs; and a Peer Advisor for Global Connections, the education abroad office. I have been able been able to go on service trips, travel much of the United States, and participate in leadership conferences.  I have loved my involvement at UWRF and I believe that it has prepared me for many things to come.

During the summer of 2012, I was able to travel to Japan for six months, through the Guy Healy Program. I worked as an American camp counselor and got to spend my summer facilitating camp games, sharing and learning about culture, and helping Japanese students learn to speak English. I was also able to independentlyryan one travel to different places in Japan. My favorite moment from my time abroad, besides hanging out with the kids, was the moment I got to the top of Mt. Fuji at sunrise. I had some remarkable experiences and encounters that I will take with me for the rest of my life. 

I am confident and excited for the Experience China program and I am thrilled to start a new adventure, by supporting students and faculty in any way I can. I truly believe that this program is going to be life changing for everyone involved!


Kurt Leichtle, UW-River Falls, History

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I was born and grew up in Wisconsin.  On leaving the state for Luther College in Decorah IA, I had no intention in coming back other than for vacations and to visit relatives.  After graduating with majors in history and political science, I earned my MA and PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago in American History with an emphasis on the 19th century.  

Before coming to River Falls in 1985 I worked for several businesses including B Dalton Bookseller as an assistant manager.  For nearly four years I managed the Gibbs Farm Museum in St. Paul.  I, then, worked for almost two years as the public relations director and fundraiser for the Episcopal Church Home in St. Paul.  I arrived at River Falls after a year teaching at Hofsta University on Long Island.   Kurt L

When I started at UWRF registration was held in the gym using punch cards, we were on the quarter system, none of the department had a computer on their desks.  During my time at RF computers have proliferated across campus along with every other sort of electronic device.  I have taught a wide range of courses in American history including virtually all areas on the upper division level except colonial in U. S. history.  

My research has ranged from agricultural and rural history, to Edward Coles the governor who saved Illinois from slavery, to the rise of democracy in the 19th century, and now the development of scouting particularly in Minnesota.  

Karen, my wife, and I live in a house we invested a great amount of sweat equity in with our two sons and one dog.    

My hobbies range for going to museums, reading history, and reading science fiction.  I am a sometime war gamer but have not yet really gotten into computer gaming.  I leave that for my oldest son, Kyle, who is a video designer.    

Matthew Vonk, UW-River Falls, Physics

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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 Winona. This is my ninth year at River Falls.

In 2009, I spent the fall semester teaching physics and electronics in Santiago, Dominican Republic through a grant from the Rotary International Foundation.Vonk 1

During the spring semester of 2010 I received a Fulbright award which allowed me to live in Managua Nicaragua where I taught at the National Engineering University.  Also in 2010 I visited the Ifugao rice terraces in the mountains of Luzon, Philippines where I became convinced that the rice terraces of Southeast Asia are a wonder of the world and a topic worthy of study and protection. All of these experiences abroad were really wonderful and I look forward to spending the spring semester of 2014 in Hangzhou, China.

When I'm not traveling I enjoy spending time with my partner, John our son Gabe, who is currently a student at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. We split our time between our big old country home in Beldenville, WI where we raise chickens and ducks and our little flat in downtown Minneapolis.

University of Wisconsin-River Falls
410 S. 3rd Street, River Falls WI 54022 USA
Campus Information 715-425-3911