In August 2018, the Museum Studies program proudly welcomed its sixth cohort of students. They’ve studied at universities as diverse as Evergreen State College; University of British Columbia; UC Santa Cruz; St. Mary’s College; and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. They’ve worked at institutions as varied as the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Smithsonian, and California Museum of Photography. And they’ve lived around the world and all over the U.S., from New Jersey to Mississippi, from Florida to Hawai’i, from Texas to Idaho, and more. Welcome Class of 2019!
Hannah Baldwin grew up in Dallas Texas and is the daughter of an underwater archeologist who now writes historical romance novels. As a competitive Irish Dancer, Hannah has competed at the international level. In 2015 she placed second at the World Championship. Hannah moved to the East Bay to attend St. Mary’s College of California, where she received her BA in English Literature. While at SMC, she took a Barbarians class and studied abroad in Italy and France studying early Christian art which helped her decide that history and museums were in her future. During her last year at SMC, Hannah interned at the Benicia Historical Museum, working as a docent and part time research assistant. Hannah is excited to be joining the new cohort at USF and is eager to learn new skills that will help her work in the museum world.
Rachel Barletta is originally from San Diego, California. She received her associate’s degree from Grossmont Community College and transferred to the University of Hawai’i at Hilo where she obtained her BA in Fine Arts, specializing in drawing. Always intrigued with Art History, she often would hang around her professor’s office after class discussing the subject and was prompted to intern at the local museum. She interned at the East Hawai’i Cultural Center for two years and interned for a summer at the Timken Museum of Art in San Diego. While at these facilities, she created surveys to collect guest experience data, organized pop-up museums, and created more efficient ways of managing membership. Rachel has a strong passion for museums and is interested in Membership Management and Collection Management. She currently works at the Walt Disney Family Museum where she hopes to further grow her career.
In her spare time, Rachel enjoys eating sushi, calling her mom, online shopping, and reading historical fiction. She considers herself very fortunate to be part of the Museum Studies program at the University of San Francisco, and looks forward to furthering her knowledge about the museum industry.
Rachel Brickell is from Jacksonville, FL and received her BA in Art History and English from the University of Georgia. While an undergraduate student, Rachel interned at the Georgia Museum of Art where she realized she had a passion for museum education. Upon completing her undergraduate studies, Rachel moved to New York City where she took a brief break from museum education and worked for a branding and marketing tech startup. Beginning in September of 2017, Rachel began working at the Brooklyn’s Children’s Museum as a museum educator. There, she was a member of a small education team that facilitated humanities, science and animal-based programming for visiting elementary schools from the five boroughs. She also volunteered with the Guggenheim Museum’s Learning Through Art Program and completed the museum’s gallery teaching course with its education staff. As an LTA volunteer, she assisted a teaching artist in a public school in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Along with pursuing her M.A. in Museum Studies, Rachel hopes to find more opportunities to support elementary education in museums in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Nikki Christensen is a museum loving, user-centric marketing professional with years of experience developing engaging consumer experiences and insight driven brand and lifecycle marketing strategies for leading game and entertainment companies. As a young child in Manalapan New Jersey, Nikki fell in love with the great museums of New York and Philadelphia which later inspired her to pursue a degree in Art History and coursework in Studio Arts at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Shortly after graduating, Nikki migrated west to San Francisco where her 20 year career in Product Marketing and Brand Development took off. As a Marketing Assistant at 415, an interactive web design company born out of the dot com boom, Nikki developed a passion for helping institutions like the Library of Congress and San Francisco Symphony engage and educate audiences through rich, interactive experiences. From there she was able to apply her love of finding the right message, for the right person at the right time to roles at Kodak and Shozu, a mobile social media aggregator based in the U.K. Nikki’s most recent foray was an 8+ year tenure at Electronic Arts where she enjoyed her time as a Product Marketer and Global Brand Director working on connected player experiences. For more details on Nikki’s past experience visit her on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/nicolerchristensen.
Ginger Daley was born in Texas and lived throughout the South and Midwest, until her family settled in California. She presently lives in Santa Rosa, where she docents at the Museums of Sonoma County. Ginger earned a B.A. in Public Relations from the University of Southern California and studied French language, gastronomy, and art history in Dijon, France at the University of Bourgogne. She was also an avid dancer and performed many modern and postmodern pieces. After college, Ginger forged a career in marketing digital technologies as a trainer and public speaker. She worked with Fortune 500 companies in most of the major cities in the United States. Ginger especially loved to visit museums, galleries and cultural events everywhere she traveled. She eventually opened her own marketing company and promoted small businesses through online marketing. Ginger volunteers with several different organizations to promote social justice and equality for people from all walks of life. She received the 2015 “Volunteer of the Year” award for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa where she was an art teacher at the homeless shelter. She curated an art show, where her students created and sold their original art. Ginger’s diverse family includes a husband, two children, as well as an adult step daughter. Her children are 22 years apart and the youngest has Down syndrome. Being intimate with people of all abilities has inspired her to create more accessible museum experiences, where she can merge her knowledge of technology with museum studies, to create multi-sensory exhibits.
Kirsten Desperrier was born in San Francisco and raised in Marin County. She worked in various art studios primarily in sculpting and painting, which culminated in her owning her own ceramic studio. She then moved on to international business and gained valuable skills in logistics and import/export. Seeking to change careers she went back to school and received her BA cum laude in 2016 and a MA in History 2018, both from Sonoma State University. Her research focused on ancient Greco-Roman art collectors using J.P. Getty as a case study. During her time at Sonoma State she had two internships: one was at the Sonoma State Gallery in conjunction with the Wende Museum for an exhibit called Revolutionizing the World. Her second internship was at the Sonoma Valley Archive and Museum. Her graduate thesis research and her time as an intern that convinced her to pursue a career in museum studies.
Lauren Dillon is from Jupiter, Florida and received her Bachelor of Arts in Russian and Eastern European Studies from The Florida State University. While working towards this degree, Lauren’s interest in history, culture, and the arts inspired her to take part in a study abroad program in Russia where she received an Intensive Russian Language and Culture Certificate from The Philological Faculty of the Moscow State University named for M.V. Lomonosov (МГУ). After her graduation from FSU, Lauren became an intern at the Boca Raton Museum of Art. During this internship, she worked in both the curatorial and collections departments. In the curatorial department Lauren worked on the organization and completion of the catalogues for the exhibitions “Regarding George Ohr: Contemporary Ceramics in the Spirit of the Mad Potter”, and “Contemporary Photography Forum”. In the collections department she did many different jobs such as: writing up collections reports, photographing pieces from the museum’s permanent collection, and working on the deaccession and auction of works. Her largest project while an intern was the digitization of all prior exhibition records from 1975 to 2011. Lauren is excited to attend the University of San Francisco’s Museum Studies MA Program where she hopes to gain more experience in collections management. Outside of school, Lauren enjoys visiting museums, music, dancing ballet, and spending time exploring new places.
Mackenzie Doerksen is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and received a B.A. from the University of British Columbia (UBC) with a double major in Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies with a concentration in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology; and Anthropology with a concentration in Museum Studies. In addition, she completed requirements for a minor in Spanish. Mackenzie enjoys learning new languages, pursuing both Akkadian and Latin throughout her education. At UBC, she volunteered in the Herbarium at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum for three years. She was also a Co-Curator and the Collections Manager for a course exhibit about Inuit printmaking, titled Printed from Stone: Art of Cape Dorset (exhibited in the Laboratory of Archaeology at the Museum of Anthropology Café in Vancouver). Based on the exhibit, the group was awarded a grant from UBC’s Anthropology Department to participate in the Graduate Student’s Poster Session On the Horizon: New Developments in Anthropology. Apart from Museum Studies, Mackenzie has pursued interests in archaeology and antiquity of the Classical and Near Eastern worlds: She participated in the 2015 UBC-led excavation at the site of Gerace in Sicily, and was President of the Archaeology Club at UBC for two years. At the Heinz History Center in her hometown of Pittsburgh, Mackenzie completed a Curatorial Internship and a Collections Management Internship. She also held a Collections Internship at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia. Her interests include the preservation of cultural heritage and protection of archaeological sites in the ancient Near East, Canadian and U.S. Indigenous ethical matters, social justice, and museums as a platform for change and education. She also enjoys traveling abroad and road tripping to national parks. Mackenzie is eager to continue pursuing her interests and career in Collections Management through the Museum Studies program at the University of San Francisco.
Dakota Harr is from the Pacific Northwest. With a background in scientific illustration, she has worked all over the world, from Scotland to Louisiana, with zoos and museums helping to educate the public about the natural world and scientific concepts. She has worked at institutions such as the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and the Audubon Nature Institute. Dakota received her B.A. in Ecology from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA and attended CSUMB’s Science Illustration graduate program in Monterey, CA.
Darina Homeyer was born in Kiev, Ukraine and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her BA from UCLA in Fine Art. During her senior year, she interned at Revolver Gallery in Beverly Hills, an exclusive gallery specializing in the works of Andy Warhol. Her hands-on experience in printmaking allowed her to contribute tremendously by writing detailed descriptions and summaries of the work on the gallery’s website and through various auction houses. After graduating, Darina moved back to San Francisco where she landed a position as Assistant to the Gallery Director at Martin Lawrence Galleries in Union Square. One of her favorite aspects of working there is putting on monthly exhibitions of artists we both contract as well as masterworks that the owner has collected and bought through auctions over the years. Darina has learned all aspects of working in a gallery but had always had in interest in curatorial work in an art museum. This program will be a great opportunity to further her career goals and passion in Museum Studies. When Darina has free time from working her two jobs, she loves to travel, go to the gym, spend time with her Pomeranian, and taking advantage of all the great restaurants in San Francisco.
A self-styled “gentleman adventurer and renaissance man,” Steve Kent hails from Pennsylvania although he considers greater Appalachia and the Ohio Valley as “home turf.” Steve is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York where he majored in military history. Upon graduating, he received the New York State Society of the Cincinnati Award recognizing him as the graduating cadet in the highest standing within his chosen field. Steve retired after a 20-year career as an officer in the United States Army with extensive experience in airborne operations, armored reconnaissance, satellite imagery, and GPS interdiction. He enumerates the Master Parachutist Badge and the parachutist badges of France and Germany as his most treasured awards from his military career. Owing to numerous postings across the continental United States and operational deployments to Iraq, Bahrain, and Mali in addition to travels throughout Western Europe, Steve observed and counted himself a member of numerous regional and foreign cultures. Steve’s interest in museology is a natural extension of his lifelong interest in history and the collection/preservation of its associated material artefacts. He has actively studied and collected diverse antiquities for over three decades and is a self-taught artist in several different media. While it is not surprising that he specializes in the collection and study of antique arms and military ephemera, his interests and tastes are legion. American daguerreotypes, coins, Roman glass, Native American lithic implements, American folk art, and Victorian jewelry are among the numerous genres to be found in his cabinets. Steve is particularly intrigued by the common objects of everyday life in mid-19thcentury America that have provenance, especially so if that provenance is linked to the California Gold Rush. Although 170 years too late, Steve is a modern day “argonaut” who has come to California in search of elements beyond just gold. Consequently, his career aspirations in the museum realm gravitate toward curation, collections management, and the attendant research necessary to properly contextualize those precious objects of our collective past.
Adelle Kincel was born and raised in California and Idaho, and received her B.A. in Art History from the George Washington University in Washington, DC. During her time in the capital city, she was able to work with the Smithsonian American Art Museum as a gallery educator with the Art a la Cart program, using props and artifacts to engage visitors with the collections. She also participated in public programs hosted by the Smithsonian Institution, and enjoyed playing different roles in welcoming and involving the public in these special events. She also led tours on bike along Washington’s National Mall, and enjoyed being able to use the monuments and memorials to expand understanding of national history. Additionally, she spent a semester in Florence, Italy, where she interned for the program’s study abroad office and took intensive courses in art, history, and exhibition curation. Over the course of the semester, she planned several student cultural events, led group tours through local museums and historical sites, and opened four art exhibitions. All of these experiences allowed her to develop her love for informal education and making subjects like history and art accessible to diverse audiences. Her goal is to continue opening doors to lasting immersive educational experiences in the museum setting.
Dana Klein grew up in Flanders, New Jersey. She received her B.A. degree from Yale University in New Haven, CT where she majored in American Studies with a concentration in material cultures and built environments; this area of study stretched across disciplines like the history of art, anthropology and ethnicity, race and migration. Dana’s academic passion for the study of American visual and decorative arts and her undergraduate degree culminated in the completion of her senior essay on the disparities of art education in New York City public schools. Through this project, Dana combined her art-based interests with her love of education, something that she further developed working for Yale’s Office of Gender and Campus Culture as a Communication and Consent Educator. Dana facilitated sexual violence prevention workshops for her undergraduate peers and spent numerous hours every week dedicated to engaging students in thoughtful and reflective discussion.The goal of this work was to foster a more positive social and sexual climate on campus and to build a community of respect. This type of thoughtful discourse underscored to her the importance of making spaces accessible to people of all cultures. She hopes to bring this line of thought to the museum world, especially in conversations around access, preservation and education. During the summer of 2018, Dana was an Exhibitions and Publications intern at the Yale Center for British Art where she conducted provenance research on works by 17th-century painter and illustrator Francis Barlow. In her spare time, Dana is an avid runner. She competed for four years at Yale on the women’s cross country and track & field teams and was named Captain of the women’s track team during her senior year. Outside of the classroom here at USF, Dana is competing on the track & field team for one last year as a graduate student. She is excited about exploring her new home on the west coast and finding the city’s best pancakes!
The philosopher Gaston Bachelard once wrote that “all really inhabited space bears the essence of the notion of home.” Given that museums are surely inhabited spaces, those where the public gaze, voice, and mind reside, what kind of home do they feel like? What kind of home should they feel like? Are they places that specialize in providing opportunities for private reflection and interiority? Or are they forums for the pluralistic exploration of social, political, and aesthetic concerns? If they fail, do they become the kinds of inhabited spaces that resemble model homes, where everything seems to have a place, but nothing seems to have much meaning? Does it really matter?
These are among the questions Kara Knafelc would like to explore in the Museum Studies program. Her interest in these queries and in the museum world more broadly stems from many years spent as a writer and thinker who focuses on how we produce culture. She has written about the interplay of ecosystems and our all-too-human relationship to them; she has also commented on the effects Goya’s tapestries may have had on King Charles III as they hung quietly in his bedroom. As a professor at USF, she has taught literature and rhetoric seminars on race, place, and gender. As a traveler, she has visited art and history museums across the world, her favorites being in Zagreb, Croatia (The Croatian Museum of Naive Art); Santander, Spain (The Prehistory and Archaeology Museum of Cantabria), and Los Angeles (The Museum of Jurassic Technology).
She holds prior undergraduate and graduate degrees in English Literature from Scripps College and the University of Washington, and has studied at the Budapest Film School, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Sydney. She is lucky to live in Oakland, where she regularly visits the Oakland Museum of California and grows terrific tomatoes.
Nell Krahnke was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She grew up in Bloomington, Indiana, and The College of Wooster in Ohio where he majored in Anthropology with a minor in English. She spent one summer interning at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures in Bloomington, where she worked on a variety of projects including redesigning the storage space for the Education Collection and helping with exhibition preparation. She also spent a summer working in the Osteology lab in the Anthropology department at Indiana University, reconstructing human skulls in preparation for a publication. She decided to attend USF’s Museum Studies program due to her love of San Francisco and firm interest in social justice. She intends to begin a career in Museum Education, possibly at a children’s museum. In her free time, she likes to pet all of the dogs she can, cook, and go hiking.
Jessica Noyes was born and raised in sunny San Diego, CA. From a young age she was engaged in the arts, developing a passion for painting, metal work and an interest in the museum industry. In 2016, she graduated from Sonoma State University with a dual-Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art History and Art: Sculpture emphasis, alongside a Career Minor in Arts Management (Museum Studies). While attending school, she gained practical exposure to the museum field by participating in a variety of internship and career opportunities. Jessica worked as an artist’s gallery assistant for over two years, developing an online database system comprising of over 3,000 2-D works. She took on a curatorial internship with the Museums of Sonoma County and later accepted a contract position with them as an Art Instructor for their Art4Kids educational program. Nearing her final semester, Jessica became the Exhibition Department Intern for Napa’s di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art. Here, she acted as co-project head in the restoration of Bay Area artist Paul Kos’ Zizi Va (1994), for the 2016 exhibition, Equilibrium: A Paul Kos Survey. Later that year, Jessica took the position of gallery assistant for a leading collector of African art and artifacts, Africa & Beyond Gallery. Through these experiences, and specifically working alongside Paul Kos, Jessica found herself even more enthralled with the curatorial and exhibition processes, influencing her to pursue a master’s degree in museum studies.
Samantha Ramirez is from Pebble Beach, California. In 2014 she graduated with honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a BA in History of Art and Visual Culture. After graduation she worked for many years as a fashion retail manager and Art consultant for Thomas Kinkade and Robert Wyland, gaining experience in customer service. As the child of a Coast Guard Captain father and an Art Historian, Real Estate, and Travel Agent mother, Samantha has always possessed a thirst for travel, art, culture, and beauty. She has lived in many places across the U.S. and traveled to almost every state and numerous countries. Some of Samantha’s favorite international destinations include Okinawa, Amsterdam, London, Venice, Buenos Aires, Prague, and Istanbul. In each city she visits, Samantha enjoys experiencing museums, as they provide a microcosm of the history, culture, and community of a place. Samantha’s passions for people and Art have led her to develop an interest in Arts Education. Outside of the academic world, Samantha is a devoted dog mom to her beagle girl, River. She is a self proclaimed tea connoisseur, aesthete, and as a sailor’s daughter has never lived far from the ocean (and never intends to do so). Samantha has just returned home after three years on the East Coast and is eager to visit her favorite California haunts. She is currently the Visitor Experience Manager at the Monterey County Youth Museum, a nonprofit organization with the mission of encouraging lifelong learning for children and adults in an interactive environment.
Imani Triplett is from Santa Clara, CA and currently lives in the East Bay. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.A in History and emphasis in American History. During her undergraduate career, she was able to explore all aspects of history and took a special interest in the era of slavery and in the Civil Rights Movement. This is what inspired her to intern in the development department at the National Civil Rights Museum, in Memphis, TN. After graduating, Imani continued her exploring her options in the museum field and worked at the Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, CA. Wanting to expand her resume, she then went to work at Candytopia also located in San Francisco, CA. In her free time Imani enjoys gardening, dancing, visiting museums, reading, and building her personal library.
Libby Tyson grew up in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, and received her undergraduate degrees in English and Classics from the University of Mississippi (UM) in Oxford. During her undergraduate years, she worked at the Copiah County Chancery Clerk’s Office and the UM Archives and Special Collections. She volunteered at the Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar House as a docent, but her internship with the David M. Robinson Antiquities Collection at the UM Museum gave Libby her first taste of curating and publicizing museum exhibits. As an antiquities intern, she produced and proofread text for a permanent Robinson exhibit and the Gods and Men: Iconography and Identity in the Ancient Worldexhibit, as well as managed a social media outreach campaign during the 2016 Rio Olympics. She developed a deeper interest in museums when the conversations in an Ethics in Archaeologyhonors course eventually led her to co-found the UM’s Archaeological Ethics Bowl Debate Team. As a member, she debated prompts focused on ethical archaeological dilemmas at the Society for American Archaeology’s 2016 and 2017 annual conventions. Libby spent the past year serving in a southeast Washington, D.C., second grade classroom as a City Year AmeriCorps member and is still greatly interested in national service. As someone who sees museums as vectors for social reflection and change, Libby is most excited by USF’s commitment to social justice and is interested in the curatorial and legal aspects of US history museums, especially those focused on the Deep South. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, exploring cities, tater tots, vegetarian barbecue, Broadway musicals, and dogs.
Megan Udell is from Rocklin, CA, where she grew up in a family of artists and musicians. In 2013 she graduated with honors from California State University, Channel Islands with a Bachelor’s in Art History and Studio Art. In her last year at Channel Islands, she received a faculty award for her paper on race and body image in 19th-century painting. After college, Megan worked as Development Assistant at Studio Channel Islands Art Center in Ventura County, where she also taught art to elementary school students. She worked on the art center’s second annual fashion show benefit and led the diversification of the gallery store, showcasing the work of over 50 local artists.
Since moving to San Francisco, Megan has volunteered at the International Art Museum of America, shown her own paintings in a small exhibition, and worked as a Teaching Artist. She currently works as Program Assistant for a non-profit music education organization, Music in Schools Today, coordinating music integration programs and reviving the organization’s Young Professionals Network. Outside of work, Megan enjoys cooking, traveling with her husband, and painting. She also makes a mean cappuccino.
You can read samples of Megan’s writing about art and things she doesn’t think are art at meganudell.wordpress.com.
Mauricio Velasco is a young emerging professional, artist, and social commentator in the museum industry. Born in San Salvador, El Salvador and raised in Los Angeles, he relocated from Los Angeles to attend the University of San Francisco. At USF, he aims to further his education while simultaneously gaining more work experience; he is currently employed as a Museum Educator at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. As an Anthropology Major from the University of California, Riverside, Mauricio has a background in the study of human societies and cultural development. During his early college years he worked as an art handler and preparator in his university’s museum, which is composed of three distinct spaces: The California Museum of Photography, Sweeney Art Gallery, and Barbara & Art Culver Center of the Arts. Shortly after obtaining his BA, he started an Internship in the Collections Department at The Wende Museum of the Cold War which is an art museum, historical archive, and educational institution in Culver City, California. It is here that he learned the skills needed to work in registrar, as a docent, and event staff member.
Mauricio is looking to network and collaborate with like-minded people who wish to push the envelope on what a museum can do as a public institution for its community. He is especially interested in Latin American art, cultural, and historical museums. In his spare time he likes some rest and relaxation. When traveling, he is sure to visit the local museum, whether it is in Auckland, New Zealand, at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki or at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Growing up in Dublin, CA, Paige Wilcox discovered her great love for silent films at an early age. After seeing Fritz Lang’s Metropolis in middle school, her trajectory was set. She graduated in 2014 from Chapman University with a BA in Film Studies, with an eye to move from film history into film preservation. She also has a passion for history, studying pre-modern history both in college and in her spare time. These two passions combine to form a lifelong love of museums. During college, she interned at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, in their Audio/Visual archives. Hoping to work with archival film specifically, she realized that no matter the material, she had a passion for archives and collections! Since graduating, she has volunteered in the collections at Pleasanton’s Museum on Main and tutored high school students in English and history. She also eagerly keeps her own collections, including postcards, figurines, and antique books.
To learn more about University of San Francisco’s Graduate Museum Studies program, click here.