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Board of Directors

Meet Cultural Connections' dedicated, all-volunteer board below. The board is made up of professionals in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors, who represent a diversity of experiences and backgrounds within free-choice learning fields. Each board member serves a two-year term, taking part in collaborative program planning and ensuring that Cultural Connections meets its mission and goals.

Cultural Connections Board 2020-2021

Sal Bell Alper

Sal loves learning and believes in the librartory possibility of museum spaces. Sal works to foster inclusive and engaging learning experiences for young people visiting the Exploratorium for over 10 years. They collaboratively build a team of educators to be responsive to visitors' interests and needs in a dynamic space. Sal also engages in institutional efforts for equitable internal and external practices. Sal recently completed a MA in Education focusing on bridging social justice, education and museums.

Carli Baker

Carli is an ecologist and science educator with a passion for utilizing engaging environmental education to create meaningful change in our communities. She holds a BA in Anthropology and a BS in Historical Ecology from UC Berkeley, and is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Her love of museums started at an early age when she received a membership at the California State Railroad Museum, and she has continued to pursue opportunities that allow her to share history, science, and environmental topics in an informal environment. She has worked as a naturalist and informal educator for over 8 years, where gardens, schoolyards, museums, aquariums, and zoos have served as her classroom. Although her most recent position has taken her away from the museum world, she hopes to continue to support the museum field through Cultural Connections, and to re-enter the industry in the near future.

Maureen Bourbin

Maureen has an M.A. in Museum Studies from San Francisco State University. She specializes in curating, registration, and collections management, and utilizes her skills working for private collectors, museums, and galleries. She has done extensive research on the symbolism in Spanish colonial devotional artwork, publishing two papers and speaking on the subject, and has curated several exhibitions on various topics in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Maureen also serves on the Advisory Board of Groundswell at City College of San Francisco. Former Board service includes the California Missions Foundation, the Museum Studies Special Interest Group of San Francisco State University, and the Treasure Island Museum Association.

Amy Cohen, Treasurer

A Chicagoland native, Amy has worked in non-profits and museums for over a decade. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Exhibit Envoy, a non-profit that develops and travels exhibitions for small and mid-size institutions. In this role, she develops and onboards exhibitions that help small museums connect with their communities, as well as manages the tour logistics of 30+ exhibitions and all fiscal duties. Each year, Amy has the pleasure of partnering with staff at 50+ museums, libraries, and cultural institutions to bring California stories to their visitors. Since entering the museum field, Amy has been a panelist/presenter at California conferences and an external grant reviewer for statewide organizations. Amy has a B.A. in History from the College of Wooster in Ohio and her M.A. in Museum Studies from John F. Kennedy University in Berkeley.

Madeleine Crow, Secretary

Madeleine Crow is the Senior Manager of Institutional Giving at the Bay Area Discovery Museum, in Sausalito, CA. There, she works closely with the various teams across the museum’s onsite and offsite programs, as well as external corporate, foundation, and government partners to fund programs, build long-term partnerships, and engage volunteers. She believes deeply in the power of museums as spaces for engagement and advocacy, and is interested in leveraging external relationships to source funding and build long-term partnerships.

Madeleine holds an MA in Museum Studies and an MBA from John F. Kennedy University, where her Master’s Thesis Project examined the sustainability of mobile museum education programs. She also holds a dual Bachelor of Arts in Art History and French from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, which sparked her interest in and passion for the importance of public access to art and cultural spaces. Prior to her role at the Bay Area Discovery Museum, Madeleine was the Education Programs Manager at New Museum Los Gatos, and she has also interned at the Palo Alto Art Center and Habitot Children’s Museum.

Cara Dodge

Cara Dodge has been a museum professional since 2007, and has enjoyed a number of different positions in science-focused institutions. She has written programming for The Tech Interactive, helped launch a new initiative at the Computer History Museum, worked on social media campaigns for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and is now an Exhibits Manager at NASA’s Ames Research Center. She also explored the potential within museums through her masters program, earning both an MA in Museum Studies and a Masters in Business Administration from John F Kennedy University. Her Master’s Thesis "Humor me a moment: The power of humor in science museums," explored how positive emotions, like humor, can be impactful for individuals, even those who are perhaps not interested in science. The results of this research encouraged her to continue to explore how to connect people with science, as there are still underutilized ways to do so, and trying new and innovative techniques can have powerful results.

Emily Eakland

Emily Eakland is the Event Production Manager at the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA), where she oversees the production of both internal and external events, from Friday Nights @ OMCA to weddings and conferences. She comes to museum work by way of the performing arts, and is passionate about creating opportunities for audiences to engage in multi-disciplinary programming and content. Prior to her work at OMCA, Emily was the Associate Producer at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), where she supported large-scale programs and events. Emily is a graduate of Goddard College, and was a 2015 National Arts Strategies Creative Community Fellow.

Nalini Elias

Nalini Elias is passionate about the intersection of art, history, culture and identity. She serves as the Director of Exhibitions and Museum Experience at the GLBT Historical Society, where she collaborates with community curators to develop exhibitions that showcase the Society’s archives, demonstrate the importance of queer history to the public, and emphasize diversity and social justice. Nalini also oversees the Society’s Museum operations and public programs.

Before joining the Society as Program Manager in 2018, she worked for the Museum of Latin American Art and interned at various cultural organizations in San Francisco including the De Young Museum, the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, and Fraenkel Gallery. Nalini holds a Master’s Degree in Museum Studies and a Bachelor’s in Art History/Arts Management from the University of San Francisco.

Jessica Johnson

Jess received her B.A in Art History from New York University and her M.A in Egyptian Art History and Archaeology and a Graduate Certification in Museum Studies from the University of Memphis. Her interests include ancient Egyptian Demonology and narrative constructions within religious texts, tombs, and temple wall decorations. Jess is also interested in Museum Studies and Digital Humanities. She has experience working within the museological field for the past ten years within university settings, galleries, and auction houses. She has worked at, most notably, Christie's Auction House, the National Civil Rights Museum, and now serves as the Assistant Curator at the Badé Museum of Biblical Archaeology in the Bay area. She pursues Digital Humanities through consulting on the creation of 3D models for the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology and incorporating the conversion of 2D images into 3D models for her forthcoming dissertation.

Paige Laduzinsky, President

Paige (Bardolph) Laduzinsky is the Director of the Global Museum at San Francisco State University and a lecturer in the Museum Studies Program, where she teaches courses in Curatorship and Exhibition Development. She has over a decade of experience working in museums, and has worked in the education, collections, and curatorial departments at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Autry Museum of the American West.

During her time at the Autry she served as lead curator for a project consisting of two exhibition galleries and an ethnobotanical teaching garden, which was the largest renovation in the institution’s history. Paige also consults for KCET, a Southern California based media company that produces cultural and environmental documentary programming. She is passionate about the intersections between art, science, and history, community collaboration, and developing inclusive and accessible exhibition spaces.

Terri Le

Terri Le has been the Development Manager at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center since September 2019. She has a demonstrated history of working in the museum and nonprofit field in the San Francisco Bay and Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area in communications, programming, special events, and development. Over the course of 10 years, Terri has worked at notable institutions including the U.S. National Archives, The Phillips Collection, Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, VisArts at Rockville, CalShakes, Charles M. Schulz Museum, Habitot Children’s Museum, the Oakland Aviation Museum, San Francisco Heritage, the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN), and the Asian Pacific-Islander Americans in Historic Preservation.

As a first generation Vietnamese American, Terri is passionate about civic service in the arts, culture, and humanities field, despite small opposition from her family. As a DMV area native, Terri received her B.A. in Art History and History from University of Maryland, College Park before moving to the Bay Area seven years ago. She moved to the Bay to earn her M.A. in Museum Studies, and M.B.A. from John F. Kennedy University.

Natasha Reichle

Natasha Reichle is the Associate Curator of Southeast Asian Art at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. At the museum she has curated exhibitions on a wide range of subjects including Javanese puppets, Asian performing arts, batik textiles, Southeast Asian jewelry and the first major US exhibition on the arts of Bali (Bali: Art, Ritual, Performance, 2010) Her early research focused on esoteric Buddhism in Indonesia (Violence and Serenity: Late Buddhist Sculpture from Indonesia (University of Hawai’i Press, 2007). More recent endeavors have focused on art and global trade in the seventeenth century (China at the Center: Ricci and Verbiest World Maps, 2015), Philippine art (Philippine Art: Collecting Art, Collecting Memories, 2017), and art and shipwrecks (Lost at Sea: Artwork Recovered from Shipwrecks, 2019). After studying literature at Yale, she received her PhD in the History of Art from U.C. Berkeley.

Morgan Schlesinger

Morgan is the Collections Manager and Registrar for the de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University. He stewards the museum’s wide-ranging collection of photography, video art, works on paper, paintings, mission-era artifacts, and more.

Morgan received an MA in Museum Studies from the University of San Francisco and an MBA from Willamette University. His journey into the museum field started as a child when he absorbed all he could about dinosaurs and fossils from natural history museums. A San Francisco native, Morgan has worked in various Bay Area museums since 2015 in collections management, exhibitions, registration, and development. During his internship with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, Morgan explored the long-term financial and social impacts of traveling exhibitions on host museums. This research sparked his interest in redefining how museums engage with their communities through exhibitions that both explore challenging ideas and support local businesses.

Lauren Peters, Vice President

Lauren Peters has worked in the Museum field for over 10 years. She started as an intern at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego and has worked for/with many institutions since, including the Bay Area Discovery Museum and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Lauren has a BA in Art History and received her Master’s Degree in Museum Studies in 2013 from John F. Kennedy University.

Most recently, Lauren was the Director of Marketing & Programs at the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County. Lauren is thrilled to have helped create and build CMOSC from the ground up. Lauren grew up in Santa Rosa, and is delighted that she has been able to help direct and nurture such an amazing resource for families in the community she loves dearly. Lauren loves living in Sonoma County and getting to spend her time baking, gardening, hiking, camping and exploring its beauty!

Allie Stephens

Allie Stephens is the Senior Manager of Education and Public Programs at Children’s Creativity Museum at the Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. Her role focuses on overseeing the creation of equitable and inclusive programming that nurtures creativity and collaboration in all children and families. Allie also works to form genuine connections for CCM through cultivating relationships with other organizations and the SOMA community. Allie received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and Theatre at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD. She has worked within the nonprofit, education, art, and museum fields for almost a decade utilizing her art background to create curriculum and programming that inspires creative confidence. Allie has also been involved in many different organizations within a volunteer capacity, coordinating events for conferences, mentoring teens, and supporting other museums. She is excited to continue being involved in the Bay Area community through Cultural Connections.

Gretta Stimson

Gretta is Acquisitions Manager at the Computer History Museum based in Mountain View. She tracks all new artifact and archival donations from initial contact with the donor through archival packing once the material is acquired.

Gretta developed her skills working for the Hayward Area Historical Society in Hayward, California and the Maryhill Museum in Washington State. Gretta achieved her BA from University of Hawai’i, where she studied Anthropology and English Literature with a minor in Theater. She went on to receive her MA from University of Leicester, Museum Studies Department. In her spare time, Gretta is involved with the Bay Area theater community, regularly performing in and watching theater. She also loves spending time with her dog Kiki, and reading. Gretta could not be more excited to be getting involved with Cultural Connections.

Patricia Thibodeau

Patricia Thibodeau is the Archive Coordinator at the California State University Maritime Academy and Collections Manager at the Oakland Aviation Museum. In her position she maintains archival and museum collections while aiding in institutional outreach and programming.

Patricia received her Masters of Arts Degree in Museum Studies and a Masters of Business Administration from John F. Kennedy University. She also has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Mary Washington. Patricia has been working in and out of museums and archives in the Bay Area and back in her home of Virginia for the past decade. She found her passion for cultural institutions and collections while moving every few years as a child. She was able to experience the good, the bad, and the strange when it comes to museum practice and see the ways culture impacts policies and practices for maintaining collections.

Jessica Williams

Jessica (Hicks) Williams is the Programs & Community Partnerships Manager at Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, CA. At Chabot she oversees many collaborative community programs that are educational, immersive and engaging for the public, including the First Friday program, Tinkerfest, The Bay Area International Children’s Film Festival, Bubblefest and more. All of these programs are driven by collaborations with local community organizations and partners from our local Oakland community as well as the greater Bay Area.

Jessica has her Masters of Arts Degree in Museum Studies as well as a Masters of Business Administration from John F. Kennedy University. She also has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art History from California State University San Bernardino. Jessica has previously worked at a number of institutions in the Bay Area under different facets of museum education with a strong interest and attention for active community engagement. These institutions include The Oakland Museum of California, The Exploratorium, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, The Walt Disney Family Museum and the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. She has also conducted in depth research and case studies on the community engagement practices of both museums and churches for her Master’s Thesis Project at John F. Kennedy University.

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