Meet the Class of ’18

On August 18, 2017, the day that a historic solar eclipse was unfolding across North America, the members of the University of San Francisco Museum Studies MA Class of ’18  met to begin their studies.  We tried to see the eclipse.  But unfortunately San Francisco’s fog did not afford us a good view.  The historic day did, however, foreground an enlightening adventure for our newest class.  We introduce them below:


Andrew Armstrong is from Madison, Wisconsin. In 2011, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a BA in History, with an emphasis on East Asia. While enrolled in college in 2003, his sense of adventure and desire to participate in world events led him to join the United States Army. Andrew was deployed for two years in Iraq in 2005 and 2009. While on the front lines, he was involved in operations that led him to visit ancient sites threatened by the current conflicts in the Mesopotamian valley. Such first hand experiences led him to realize his passion in preserving at-risk sites and conveying the significance of such sites for the benefit of future generations. Outside of the military, Andrew also spent two years in Japan, as a student in historically rich Nagasaki, and as an instructor in rural Japan. His experience working with elementary school aged children and in the military led him to believe the most effective way to share history and knowledge is through storytelling. He hopes to gain the skills and knowledge to pursue a career in history, archaeology and museum preservation. After a long hiatus from school, Andrew is excited to return and further his education.

2018 update:  Andrew is a collections intern at the National Japanese American Historical Society in San Francisco and the Western Neighborhood Project.


Jamie Blankenship grew up in Redding, California.  She started her education and career goals as a photographic artist. Jamie first attended CSU Fullerton where she pursued a Creative Photography degree. Longing for more of a small town feel, she decided to transfer to CSU Chico and graduated in Fall 2013 with a BFA in Art Studio: Emphasis in Photography, as well as a minor in Art History. She has four years of experience in traditional darkroom photography, together with 10+ years of experience in digital photography. Jamie also has had multiple opportunities to show her art in solo and group shows. Two photographs from her senior show were requested to be on display in CSU Chico’s Dean of Arts and Humanities office for a year.

Jamie started gaining museum experience at CSU Chico, where she interned at the Janet Turner Print Museum and helped with everything from assistant curatorial duties, to installations and collections management tasks. After graduation, she moved home to Redding and obtained a job at the museum within Turtle Bay Exploration Park where she has the privilege of working closely with the Curator and Collections Manager in the Exhibits Department.  Her favorite experiences during her four years there were curating and installing multiple small art exhibits and photographing numerous collections items, as well as all of the exhibitions during her time there. She even had the opportunity to run the Exhibits Department for four weeks while her boss was away on vacation. Hoping to focus more on art and photography within a museum setting, Jamie relocated to San Francisco for the Graduate Program in Museum Studies at USF.

2018 update:  This summer Jamie was an intern at the Western Neighborhoods Project.


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Beau Casazza

Beau Casazza grew up in Groveland, California, and received his BA from Holy Cross College in South Bend, Indiana. While at Holy Cross, he spent his summers working for the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department at Camp Mather in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and interned at the Southern Tuolumne County Historical Society (STCHS). At STCHS, Beau worked to add previously undocumented historical sites to STCHS’ records through interviewing local residents, analyzing county records, and photographing sites. Upon graduating from Holy Cross College in 2016 with a history degree, Beau moved to San Francisco and began working as a night guard in the Presidio at the Officer’s Club. After working and adjusting to life in The City, he applied to the Museum Studies program here at USF and is excited to learn about how some of his favorite places work. When not studying, he enjoys hiking in Yosemite, going to new breweries, and buying art at thrift stores.

Fall 2019 update:  In summer 2018, Beau was an intern at ShipArt.  He now works full-time there.



Jennifer Cha is from University Place, WA. Her love of fashion and position as a Nordstrom Fashion board member encouraged her to move to Los Angeles and pursue an associates degree in visual communications from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. At FIDM, she took her first art history course.  This brought her back to the Seattle area to complete her bachelor’s degree in art history at the University of Washington. While working towards this degree, Jennifer took an interest in Scandinavian studies and modern architecture courses which led her to study abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark for a semester as a Scan-Design Fellowship recipient. There, she was introduced to a new scope of contemporary artists and different types of gallery and museum spaces and exhibition methods that inspired her to pursue a career in museum curation for a contemporary art museum.

After graduating from the University of Washington, Jennifer became an intern for the Center on Contemporary Art, a non-profit arts organization in Seattle, WA. During her year-long internship CoCA, she was tasked with a wide range of positions such as assistant to the Executive Director, recording secretary at board meetings, gallery sitter, and curating intern. At that same time, she became an events volunteer for the Frye Museum as well as a volunteer in Seattle Art Museum’s Teacher Resource Center where she assisted the librarian with various education research projects. In her spare time, Jennifer loves reading, visiting museums of all types, traveling, eating new types of foods, and exploring nature.

Summer 2018 update:  Jennifer will be an intern at the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego.


Natalia Chavez was born and raised in Santa Rosa, California. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Sonoma State University where she majored in Earth Science, focusing on Geology, with a minor in Paleontology. Interested in research and field work, Chavez joined the Dune Undergraduate Geomorphology and Geochronology (DUGG) project in summer 2011 where she participated in field and lab work, culminating in a poster presentation at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting and Exposition in Fall 2011. Interested in pursuing a career in education, Natalia spent a year as a substitute teacher. Finding her way into more informal methods of education, she volunteered at the Museums of Sonoma County, assisting the Director of Public Program and Tours as well as the Art4Kids Youth Education Program. Natalia then worked as the Visitor Services Coordinator at the Charles M. Schulz Museum where she not only maintained volunteer floor coverage and ensured the safety and comfort of guests on the museum’s busiest days, she also lead school tours, facilitated guest speaker events, and planned and coordinated public programs. With a background in physical science, education and a passion for the natural world Natalia would like to focus her studies on collections management, within the realm of natural history, in order to preserve specimens for future generations. Natalia is excited to return to school and pursue her MA in Museum Studies at The University of San Francisco.

Summer 2018 update:  Natalia will be an intern at the Bolinas Museum this summer.


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Katlin Cunningham is from San Luis Obispo, California. She received to Associates from Cuesta Community College, then her BA from the California State University of Sacramento in Art History with a focus on Modern Art. During her time at Sacramento State Katlin served as an officer, Vice-President and President of the Art History Club where she focused on bringing in guest lectures, creating dialogues through social media and bringing awareness to the Art Department’s art collection. Katlin has interned with the Sacramento State art department collection for six months then stayed on as a volunteer. She also interned at the Crocker Art
Museum in the education department as well as the Maidu Museum and Historic Site.

A self-proclaimed “research rat” Katlin has a deep passion for color theory, art restitution, and other art crimes. Katlin knew her life would revolve around the arts since her first trip to the Getty when she was seven and saw her first Toulouse-Lautrec painting. Although she took what she describes as the “round-about way” of getting there, Katlin feels she is where she belongs. She looks forward to her time at University of San Francisco and is excited for all the opportunities this program and this city has to offer.

Fall 2019 update: After an internship at the Museum of Performance and Design, Katlin accepted a full-time position with the Disney Museum.


Emma Doctors grew up in the East Bay.  Her hobbies include card making, and photographing food and architecture. While attending college at University of San Francisco,  she studied Fine Arts, and joined the Dual Degree in Teacher Preparation Program (DDTP.) She was on track to receive her Multiple Subject Credential and Masters in Teaching, but decided to switch out of DDTP, as she decided to explore education in an informal environment. Emma began to focus on how to combine her art background, passion for education, and growing interest in science, which led her to go back to graduate school at USF in Museum Studies. She has interned at San Francisco Heritage, an architectural and cultural preservation organization housed in the historic Haas- Lilienthal House, as well as acted as the Public Programs Intern at Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland. Emma is currently a Docent at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, and hopes to continue to learn about the many facets of museum work.

Fall 2019 Update: Emma works as Education Coordinator at the Museum of Craft and Design where she completed her Summer 2018 internship.


Alice Fornari is a New Yorker who received her Bachelors of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Rochester. Her experience in museums started when she began working with PhD candidates on their research at the Richard Gilder Graduate School in the American Museum of Natural History in NYC during college working separately with frogs and fossil mammals. Her initial career goal was to become a research biologist; she even has manuscripts on Spanish lizards and mammal evolution currently being peer reviewed! For three semesters in college she worked as both a collections and digitization intern at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, working with historic and zoological specimens.  Most recently she finished working on a National Science Center funded project to digitize the macro-algae collection at the New York Botanical Garden, where she barcoded, imaged, entered label info into their database, and geo-referenced pressed and pickled algae specimens in the Herbarium.  Her interest in museums stems from an immense love for research science and the proven impact that ever-evolving technology has on museum collections as a tool to inform the general public of scientific advancements. In her spare time she obsesses over the intricacy and complex geometry of modular origami, which you can see in her blog here: 

Fall 2019 Update:  Alice completed an internship at the California Academy of Sciences in 2017, digitizing important scientific specimen collections that can be viewed here: She is currently living in Washington DC, working full time on natural science digitization projects at the Smithsonian Institution.


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Angeera Khadka was born in Nepal and grew up in Manchester, New Hampshire. From a young age, she was engaged in studio arts, taking classes and volunteering at the Currier Art Museum’s Art Center in Manchester. She received her BA in History of Art and Architecture from Boston University (2013). During her time at Boston University, she began interning at Childs Gallery, a fine arts gallery established in Boston, MA in 1937. Upon graduation, she received the Charles D. Childs fellowship to work full time. Later, she continued as Operations Associate, working with appraisals of various collections, private and public, cataloging research as well as curating some permanent collection exhibitions. In 2016, she moved to Albi, France to work as a Teaching Assistant for the French Ministry of Education. During her time in France, she was grateful to be able to travel and visit various artworks and museums that she had only read about. Upon her return, she took on a curatorial internship at the Currier Art Museum assisting the curatorial department with permanent collection exhibitions as well as collections research. Angeera was drawn to the Museum Studies program at University of San Francisco for their commitment to social justice. She looks forward to experiencing what the University as well as the city of San Francisco has to offer.

2019 update:  In 2018, Angeera was busy at three internships.  The first involved working with the collections of San Francisco’s historic Salesian Boys and Girls Club.  The second involved working with with the Palo Alto Public Art Program and researching a mobile app platform for the city of Palo Alto’s collection.  The third focussed on community participation and exhibition development at the Oakland Museum of California.  She is currently education coordinator for the landmark exhibition Then They Came For Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans During WWII and the Demise of Civil Liberties.



Sarah Lidwell was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and spends most of her time in sunny Oakland, where she currently resides. She received an Associates Degree in the Fine Arts from Skyline College before pursuing her BA in Art History and Art Management at the University of San Francisco. Her in-depth museum experience began with an internship at the Peninsula Museum of Art in Burlingame, California, where she assisted in the planning and execution of exhibitions highlighting local artists. After graduating, Sarah worked directly with the Collections Specialist at Filoli Historical Museum in Woodside, California. There she devoted her time to cataloging objects within the collection’s management system as well as digitizing the entirety of Filoli’s physical object records. Most recently, Sarah has been working at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco within the Visitor Services Department. In addition to her adoration of museums and artistic culture, Sarah has developed a wealth of knowledge within the artisan cheese world. She has worked for over four years as a cheese monger, developing a working understanding of the care, preservation, and heritage of cheese while establishing close ties with cheese makers in the greater Bay Area.  Sarah is excited to advance her knowledge of collections management and broaden her understanding of curatorial practices by earning her MA in Museum Studies at the University of San Francisco.

2018 update: Sarah completed an internship in the collections department at the California Association of Museums this summer.


Amelia Martinez was born and raised in Sonoma County, California. She received her Bachelor’s of Arts in Art History with a minor in Arts Management from Sonoma State University. While attending SSU she interned at the on-campus Art Gallery, and the Museums of Sonoma County. Along with her fellow classmates, Amelia curated and developed art exhibitions in the University Library Gallery and Marin MOCA. She also participated in the condition assessment of a substantial collection of paintings gifted to the SSU Art Gallery in 2016. With her passion for contemporary art, social justice, and a strong belief in museums as tools for social change, Amelia is very excited to be pursuing her Masters Degree at the University of San Francisco.

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Nicoline Meyer is a San Francisco Bay Area local who cruised the South Pacific and had a stint in the American Midwest where she received BAs in Classical Civilizations and Latin Literature and Language from Oberlin College. As part of the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies while abroad in Rome, she interned at the American Academy in Rome to help curate an exhibition on the early archaeologist Esther B. Van Deman. A summer internship at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, where she helped create the children’s program for the Rosicrucian World Conference and led tours of the exhibits, solidified her commitment to the development of museums as tools to understand other worldviews. Most recently, Nicoline’s passion for hand-binding books led her to the American Bookbinder’s Museum to share the art of bookbinding with visitors. Nicoline taught Latin 101 at Oberlin College and recently survival skills to campers at Trackers Earth. Her interest in ancient history and passion for accurately sharing different cultural mores led her to the growing field of museum studies. She is excited to be pursuing her Masters at University of San Francisco in the company of like-minded individuals.


Colette Militello was born and raised in San Diego, California. She lived there until she joined the U.S Army as a mechanic and was stationed in Hawaii. She deployed to Afghanistan where she was immersed in a new culture and realized that her calling was history. When she got out of the Army she returned home where she began studying history and her local community college. From there she was accepted to California State University Channel Islands and received her Bachelors of Arts in History. While attending CSUCI she had an internship at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum working with the curatorial team researching for the upcoming exhibit and organizing a comprehensive list of gifts received within the photo archives. It was here that she discovered her passion for museums and knew her future was in this industry. Her family and her made the move to the Bay area when she was accepted to the University of San Francisco Museum Studies program to work on her Masters of Arts.

2020 update:  After completing her collections internship at the Oakland Museum of California, Colette returned to the San Diego area where she accepted a full-time position in the exhibits department at the Fleet Science Center.


Jacob Montz was raised throughout the continental United States. You will hear him speak lovingly of Baltimore, Philadelphia, Kalamazoo, and San Francisco – and perhaps Santa Monica and San Mateo in passing. At Kalamazoo College in Southwest Michigan, Jacob earned his BA in Biology while simultaneously doing a thesis is Studio Art. While in college Jacob had his first exposure to museum/gallery work at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia. In the maelstrom of post-college life Jacob has worked in several experiential and informal education centers. This includes a tenure at The Aquarium of the Bay. Throughout his time at the Aquarium Jacob played several roles, culminating in the position of Education Specialist, where he wrote, taught, and trained others on a plethora of educational programs. These programs covered on-site guided tours, outreach programs based in climate science, and classroom programs, all ranging from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Jacob is thrilled to be at University of San Francisco, exploring the world of museums further and looks forward to the work to come.

2018 update:  Jacob will be an intern in the exhibitions department at the Maryland Science Center in Summer, 2018.



Charlie Moreno is from San Francisco, California. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of San Francisco (2016). He originally intended to become a certified teacher, inspired by his time volunteering at the Science Days club in high school, where he and other high school students went to a local elementary school and taught students about different components of physics using hands-on demonstrations and experiments.  After graduation, Charlie spent his time looking for jobs and internships that were focused on informal education, similar to his time spent at the Science Days club.

His first job at a museum was working at the box office at Chabot Space and Science Center, where he would sell admission tickets and describe to visitors popular areas of interest in the museum. In Spring 2017, Charlie began a school programs internship at the California Academy of Sciences. There, he co-taught elementary school kids about coral reef conservation while using the Academy’s coral skeleton collection to better demonstrate that topic. He enjoyed how the program offered the chance for those school groups to explore the museum, especially areas where they could further learn about coral. While at the internship as well as working at the box office at Chabot, he was curious to see if there was a path for him to combine two interests: education and museum collections. He discovered USF’s Museum Studies graduate program while searching for those answers. Charlie is excited to continue his education at USF and to better learn about the museum world and its role in education. In his spare time, he enjoys biking around the Bay, and watching those ever-popular Marvel movies.

2018 update:  This summer Charlie was an intern at Children’s Creativity Museum.


Marissa Nadeau is from the town of Brookfield, Connecticut, and has lived along the East Coast her entire life.  Transferring from a university down in South Carolina to one in Connecticut, Marissa ended up receiving her Bachelor of Arts from New York University, majoring in Art History with a double minor in Italian and Creative Writing (2016).  She has interned in galleries and non-profits throughout the Chelsea neighborhood of NYC, most notably C24 Gallery and The Kitchen; she helped expand their social media platforms and fell in love with curatorial work by getting the chance to work closely with the team’s curator and contemporary artists.  Marissa had the opportunity to study in Florence, Italy, for a semester (2015), which allowed her to adopt a global perspective of museums and the art market.  She uprooted her East Coast ties and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to follow her passion to pursue curatorial work, hoping to pass on her passion of the arts to future generations.

2020 update:  Marissa served as president of the Museum Studies Graduate Association. In summer 2018 she completed an exhibition curating and development internship at the University of California, San Francisco libraries.  She returned to Connecticut and in Summer 2020 accepted a paid position in marketing at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, CT.

Michael Reyes

Michael Reyes was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. He attended the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in English and American Literature with a minor in Museum Studies. He interned at the C.L. Sonnichsen Special Collections Department that is located at the university. At his internship, he helped curate an exhibition, ASARCO in El Paso: A Visual History of Industry on the Border, showcasing its effect on the border community in the past and present. He accepted a summer job at the department where he rehoused and produced finding aids for multiple manuscript collections that are relevant to the Southwest and border region. Michael also accepted an internship at the El Paso Museum of Art where he was under the guidance of the registrar. At the museum, he helped in the instillation and de-instillation of exhibits, rehoused artifacts, made condition reports, assist in the photography of the permanent collection, and assisted various departments when needed. Michael found his passion in the proper handling, labeling, storage, and display requirements for objects at the museum. Michael relocated to San Francisco to pursue his Master’s Degree in Museum Studies. He is excited to experience and work with local museums and to be a representative of upbringing on the border of Texas and Mexico.


Ana Paola Romero was born in Mexico City, Mexico. She holds a BA in Modern Languages and Cultural Management from Anáhuac University. Her first experience with the inner workings of a museum happened by chance, when a conference at her high school turned into an opportunity to
be part of the curating team for an exhibition at UNAM’s Universum museum. Since then she has worked as an education intern in the Museum of Contemporary Art (MARCO) in Monterrey, Mexico, as an archives intern at the UNAM’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MUAC) in Mexico City
and as a bit-of- everything volunteer in the lesser known Museum of the Object of the Object (MODO) – a small, private museum in Mexico’s City Roma District. After graduating she worked as an assistant curator for two exhibitions in Mexico’s National History Museum, Chapultepec Castle, and as an English teacher at Anáhuac University. Being a total bookworm and project collector and having a tendency to find everything interesting led her to the University of San Francisco where she is now pursuing master’s degree in Museum Studies.

2018 update: Ana Paola completed two internships this year.  The first was at the Cartoon Art Museum and the second was at the SFO Museum.

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Rebecca (Becca) Simoneaux enters the Museum Studies program after a long career in arts and advocacy. She was exposed to the transformative power of arts programming after her mother founded DrawBridge: An Arts Program for Homeless children in 1989. After interning with DrawBridge, Becca began work at Harambee Arts where she traveled to Kenya and Nepal in a “train the trainer” program doing art therapy with survivors of human trafficking. Most recently she was the curator at the Artist Within– a gallery that showcases the work of adults with developmental disabilities. Becca’s work at the Artist Within was part of her larger role as managing curator for Cedars of Marin where she curated a variety of shows, documented art, and maintained digital art portfolios for program participants.  Becca holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Teledramatic Arts and Technology from California State University Monterey Bay and looks forward to continuing her scholarly research on the intersection of art and social justice. She is excited to pursue a career that engages the museum as a site of transformation and cultural exchange.

2018 update:  Becca has two internships this summer:  one at Art Works Downtown in San Rafael and the other working on diversity programming at the Contemporary Jewish Museum.



Kaeleigh Thorp is a San Francisco Bay Area native. She obtained her Bachelor’s in Biology from Willamette University, and is a member of the Tri Beta National Biological Honor Society. While obtaining her undergraduate degree, Kaeleigh also became a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Captain of the Varsity Track and Field Throwers Team, Lead Team Member of Willamette University’s Opening Days Orientation Program, Student Supervisor at the Mark O. Hatfield Library, Department Host for the Prospective Student’s Program, Peer Mentor, and collaborator/actor for the Students Living the Motto Production. Kaeleigh currently works as the Development Coordinator for Building Futures, a nonprofit organization, as well as a body piercer at Orbit Skate Shop & Boutique. She is the Throwers Coach for Encinal High School, and also volunteers as a Science Demonstrator at the Chabot Space and Science Center.

Kaeleigh is eager to combine her passion for science with her skills in presentation and communication through the USF Museum Studies Program. Her passion is centered around studying animal behavior, and encouraging people of all backgrounds to explore the wonders and excitement of science, through interactive experiments and animal observations. Her dream is to one day create hands on, explorative exhibits exemplifying the complexities of animal behavior, in addition to other scientific topics not commonly explored in museums today.

Summer 2018 update:  Kaeleigh is an intern in the education department at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.


Briauna Tutwiler was born in Redwood City, California and raised in Maricopa, Arizona. She received her undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology at Southern Connecticut State University. Her interest in history and culture led her to New Haven Museum where she interned in the Education Department. As an intern Briauna prepared for school visits, led school group tours, and worked cultural events. At the New Haven Museum, she also had the pleasure of research new programs to bring to the museum. Briauna then spent four months studying in Australia where she volunteered in collections, quickly earning a job as a Museum Assistant at the Australian History Museum Her job required her to complete object condition reports, accession objects and photograph objects. In her free time, Briauna enjoys exploring the city, trying new flavors of ice cream and painting. She is excited to further her education and her career at the University of San Francisco. She is equally as excited to explore all the opportunities the vibrant city of San Francisco has to offer.

Fall 2019 update:  In Summer 2018, Briauna was an education intern at the Phoenix Art Museum. She was hired full-time after her internship and is now the Museum’s Higher Education Programs Coordinator.


Born and raised in Southeast Michigan, Anna Volante earned her B.A. in Anthropology and Near Eastern Civilizations at the University of Michigan. She first began her museum journey volunteering in archives and exhibit preparations at the Wyandotte Museums. In 2013 she interned at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History where she researched educational programs centered on Michigan ecology. When her internship ended she was hired on as a student docent to educate school groups through tours, demonstrations, outreach programs and special events. Although leading tours about dinosaurs was never dull, Anna’s heart was truly at the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology.

At UMMAA she took part in the Homol’ovi Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, where she analyzed, cleaned, and catalogued ceramics, lithics, and plant and faunal remains. She continued her collections work at UMMAA as a Digital Archive Assistant, digitizing archaeological collections from the Hopi Tribe and rehousing the collection for its return home to northeastern Arizona. Anna was moved by the stories told through these tangible objects, and knew she wanted to work in collection management. After a short pit stop in administration as the office manager at the U-M Museum of Natural History, she relocated to San Francisco to attend USF and continue her education in Museum Studies. Anna is passionate about making collections and their stories more accessible through digital media.

2018 update:  Anna was an intern this summer at the California Academy of Sciences.


Valerie Archer Wainwright grew up in New York City and will ever feel a part of that vibrant, engaging, cultural metropolis. She received her BA, cum laude, in American Studies from Yale University and launched into a career in cable television, directing and editing the seminal fashion program “YOU!.” She covered fashion shows in New York, Paris, and London as well as creating lifestyle segments and profiles of leading designers and top models. She moved on to CNN as Production Manager of “Style,” then the preeminent fashion program on television.

These experiences fine tuned Valerie’s video editing skills and nurtured her love of documenting modern culture in all its varied mediums of expression, through video and the written word. On relocating to the West Coast with her young family, she founded a small, independent production company, Lyric Media  to produce relevant local cultural content. The focus shifted to history and art as she followed the expansion of a local cultural center in a full-length documentary: “Villa Montalvo: The Evolution of an Arts Center” that includes 40 interviews with artists, architects, the founder’s family members, trustees, directors, authors and volunteers. At the same time, Valerie produced a local historical documentary collaborating with the Director of the Los Gatos Public Library, with whom she shares a love of historic photos. This documentary premiered to a sold-out crowd at the elegant Los Gatos Opera House.

When asked to join the Board of the “Friends of the Los Gatos Library”, Valerie leapt at the opportunity, taking a pivotal role in expanding the contributions of this institution by updating the non-profit’s website, creating an Amazon storefront and founding and then managing a brick-and-mortar book store that remains a great source of revenue, enjoyment and civic pride. She lobbied hard to share a space with the Museums of Los Gatos, and this interaction fueled her interest in the interrelationship between two public institutions where people gather safely in creative, welcoming environments. How museums and libraries interface is one of her current interests.

The bookstore engaged in community based service programs and hosted events such as a public marathon reading of “Beowulf” during National Poetry Month, which was videotaped and posted on the library’s website. Relocating to San Francisco three years ago, Valerie immediately began volunteering at the Fine Arts Museums of SF, as well as the Friends of the SF Library. Gaining insight into these major public institutions was incredibly inspiring. She was fortunate to be able to join the Visitor Services team at the new SFMOMA when it re-opened in May, 2016, and loves the creative community she has found there. USF matches this spirit in its global profile, socially aware programs and history of community service, making it a perfect place for her to further her professional career.

During the past year, SFMOMA’s inaugural year in the Snohetta building, Valerie served on the curatorial team for the SFMOMA staff art show, shooting a video documenting the staff artists. She also participated in the performance piece accessioned by the museum entitled “This is New” by Tino Seghal. Valerie’s desire is to stay in tune with the inspiring, revolutionary world of art and to make a personal contribution by becoming more involved in mediating and making content more inviting, exciting and accessible.

2018 update:  Valerie was an intern in Sumer 2018 at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California.


Brienne Wong is a Bay Area native from Castro Valley. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola Marymount University where she majored in Art History and minored in Film Studies and Business Administration. While completing her studies, Brienne worked in her university’s Department of Archives and Special Collections cataloging historical documents and objects from the department’s collections and encoding the information for the Online Archives of California. Additionally, she interned in the Corporate Giving department and Registrar’s Office and volunteered in the On-Site Services department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Through the University of San Francisco Museum Studies program, Brienne hopes to gain the tools and skills to digitize museum collections to make them accessible for the public. Outside of her interest in museums, she is an avid reader and traveler with the hope of visiting all seven continents before the age of thirty.

Fall 2019 Update: Brienne completed an internship at SFMOMA in Spring 2018 and an internship in the collections department at the SFO Museum in Summer 2018.  She is currently full-time registrar at the Chinese-American Historical Society in San Francisco.