Meet Our Staff

Felicia Van Stolk, Executive Director
831-420-6115, ext. 11

Felicia was raised on the trails and beaches of Santa Cruz where she was born. At UCLA she pursued degrees in marine biology and conservation ecology. While focusing on her studies, she also discovered her passion for education and was involved in a student non-profit focused on teaching in underserved communities in Los Angeles. This background in science, conservation, and education informs an experiential, inquiry-driven style of teaching that promotes critical thinking, problem solving, and achieving depth of understanding. She is passionate about environmental education and facilitating experiences for all people in nature, and brings this enthusiasm to the Museum. She first joined the Museum team as the Education Director in 2016, and has overseen the growth of school and public programming. Felicia was appointed to the role of Executive Director in the fall of 2019.  When not at the Museum, Felicia can be found with her dog at the same trails and beaches that she grew up on, or SCUBA diving in her favorite kelp forests. Read more about Felicia.

Lucy Logsdon, Director of Operations
831-420-6115, ext. 12

A Colorado native, Lucy moved to California when she was 11 years old, and has spent most of her life since then exploring the state’s wild spaces. She graduated from Saint Mary’s College with a BA in Environmental Studies and has a passion for both conservation and nature photography. Lucy’s broad skillset and can-do attitude help in her operations work. Lucy has extensive experience in the nonprofit sector and has focused her career on supporting organizations that work to protect the environment. Her experience with nature photography and documentary film provides a creative outlet for her conservation work and she enjoys finding ways to use visuals to help educate and inspire the next generation. When not in the office, Lucy can usually be found in the garden, floating on a river, or on top of a mountain with a camera in hand and her husky, Frankie by her side.

Kathleen Aston, Collections Manager
831-420-6115, ext. 20

As Collections Manager, Kathleen Aston is responsible for the physical and intellectual organization and preservation of the Museum’s collections. She joined the museum’s staff as collections specialist in 2017, and holds a B.A. in Linguistics from Reed College and a Master’s of Library and Information Science from the University of Washington. Kathleen is fascinated by the informational life of collections and how they anchor people to an understanding of the natural world. Her other interests include coffee, stargazing, weird plants, animals that look like blobs, and the repair and reuse sections of the waste management cycle. Read more about Kathleen. Read more about Kathleen.

Liz Broughton, Visitor Experience Manager
831-420-6115, ext. 22

Liz grew up in the redwoods of the San Lorenzo Valley before heading off to UC Berkeley to pursue a degree in anthropology and Celtic studies. While there she conducted research on baboon teeth morphology for the Integrative Biology Department and interned with the Hearst Museum of Anthropology. She continued her education at the University of Washington in Seattle where she earned an MA in the little known field of Museology. She gained a broad understanding of museums through coursework and internships at the Burke Museum of Natural History, the Woodland Park Zoo, the Museum of Pop Culture. Liz is passionate about public understanding and engagement in science and is an all-around museum nerd. She joined the Museum in 2010, and as the current Visitor Experience Manager she oversees the public spaces of the Museum. Read more about Liz.

Ross Johnston, Public Programs Manager
831-420-6115, ext. 15

Ross, a Watsonville native, has a background working in the education departments of informal science institutions. He holds a BA in environmental science from Brandeis University and an MA in science education from New York University. His experience working at the American Museum of Natural History, Mote Marine Laboratory, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Aquarium of the Pacific, and Selby Botanical Gardens has shaped his passion for science interpretation and “edu-tainment.” As Public Programs Manager, he is responsible for engaging the public, providing high-quality learning experiences, and fostering partnerships in support of the museum’s core values. Points of professional pride outside the museum sector include a tenure with AmeriCorps and as science host for a show on PBS Kids. When not working in this museum, Ross enjoys visiting other museums, volunteering, and trying every restaurant recommendation sent his way.

Jenny Rieke, Education Manager
831-420-6115, ext. 17

Jenny grew up on the shores of Lake Erie, amongst the gurgling streams and sprawling deciduous forests of the Great Lakes region. She completed her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies at UCSC, where she was exposed to the wonder-full world of Natural History. There she discovered her passion for field-based learning and environmental education. Since graduating, she has worked for various environmental organizations as an educator and field biologist. Although she is a certified bird-nerd, her love and wonder for the natural world extends to all things, both living and nonliving. When she is not working, you can find Jenny swimming in mountain streams, riding her bike, or hiking with her adorable dog, Tule. 

Emily Antonino, Education Coordinator
831-420-6115, ext. 19

Emily grew up in Santa Cruz and has enjoyed its natural beauty by going to the beach, hiking in the redwoods, and watching sunsets on the cliffs. She traveled to California’s Central Valley to run intercollegiate track and field and obtain her Bachelor of Arts degree in Plant Biology at University of California, Davis. She discovered her enthusiasm for outdoor science education at the UC Davis Student Farm. Emily strives to ignite curiosity and empathy for the natural world in every person she encounters. When not teaching science, she enjoys running, reading, and music. Emily joined the museum staff in 2021Read more about Emily.

Rocio Sánchez-Nolasco, Public Programs Coordinator
831-420-6115, ext. 13

Rocio grew up in Santa Cruz County and has cultivated her life-long appreciation for nature through gardening and by exploring local wetlands, beaches, and forests. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a B.A. in Art History and a minor in Digital Humanities. While at UCLA, Rocio learned about the importance of museum education and public programming in helping bridge a sense of community among people of all walks of life and cultivating knowledge through different perspectives. She aims to share her passion for local ecology and museums by helping others learn and connect to nature. In her spare time, Rocio can be found at the beach, watching horror films, or making art. Read more about Rocio.

Chanel Robles, Public Programs Coordinator
831-420-6115, ext. 25

Chanel grew up in Santa Cruz and remembers visiting the museum while in elementary school. She attended UC Santa Cruz and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, and her Master of Arts/ Teaching Credential in Education. Due to her vested passion for ocean conservation, she returned to graduate school to pursue a MAS in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Before joining the Museum she was a CA Sea Grant Fellow at the Monterey Bay Aquarium where she supported tri-county outreach efforts in the Marketing Division and advocated for decentering Western Science within the Conservation and Science Division. Chanel enjoys being outdoors, conducting research, and connecting with people through science.

One thing I enjoy about working with the Museum is the opportunity it has given me to continue building upon my experience in bridging the human connection with science. My work falls under the Outdoor Equity Grants Program, which has allowed me to continue learning about how educational scientific institutions, like the Museum, can become culturally relevant institutions and be part of the greater community.

Chris Soriano, Education Coordinator
831-420-6115, ext. 18

Chris Soriano is a large omnivorous mammal that can be seen wandering the forests of the Pacific Northwest. He has been sighted in many states including Texas, Colorado, Montana and Washington, but the largest number of recorded encounters have occurred in California. He graduated from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, with a B.S. in Zoology and Evolutionary Biology. Chris has taught people about nature from the day he could talk, and still rattles on about dinosaurs just like he did when he was three years old. He enjoys hiking, playing music, and rainy weather. Because of his strong resemblance to Enhydra lutris, Chris is also known as Otter. He joined the Museum in August 2018 and hopes to inspire every child in Santa Cruz County to spend some time outside. Read more about Chris.

Isabelle WestCollections Coordinator
831-420-6115, ext. 21

Isabelle began volunteering with the Museum in 2016, first as a docent leading school tours, and soon she came to help with administrative tasks, eventually finding her way to the Collections Department. Today, as Collections Assistant, she helps organize, tend to and record  the many artifacts, specimens and documents within our care. She holds a B.A. in anthropology with a focus in Native American studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. In her spare time, she keeps her own collection of curious items found at antique faires, thrift stores and garage sales. Isabelle is eager to make museum access easy and organized for all. She enjoys visiting museums throughout California, attending local, do-it-yourself style concerts, and trying her hand at a host of ever-rotating creative pursuits. Read more about Isabelle.

Tara Thomas, Development & Community Engagement Manager
831-420-6115, ext. 16

Born and raised amid the coastal redwoods of Northern California, Tara has spent their life exploring California’s rich natural history and expansive trail systems. A lifelong advocate of educational programming, Tara has volunteered for K-5 docent programs at California Parks, taught ESL in the Ecuadorian Andes, and is teaching faculty at UC Santa Cruz’s Oakes College and Department of Literature. They hold a Ph.D. and M.A. in Literature from UC Santa Cruz and a B.A. in English from Southern Oregon University. Tara’s research explores nineteenth-century engagements with the ancient world, including gender and sexuality, aetiological mythology, and ancient philosophy of science. Tara has over 10 years of experience working in development and communications for educational programs, including with The Dickens Project, Students Rising Above, and Digital NEST. When they’re not working at the museum, you can find Tara and their dog Circe hiking in the Santa Cruz mountains, exploring local beaches, and gardening.

Monica Richardson, Visitor Services Representative
831-420-6115, ext. 10

Ellen Stone, Education Assistant
831-420-6115, ext. 23

Ellen spent her childhood peering into creeks, hiking in the mountains, and visiting the Natural History Museum in her hometown of Santa Barbara. She made her way up to the land of the redwoods to attend UC Santa Cruz, obtaining her B.S. in Environmental Studies. Since graduating, she has had the wonderful experience of being able to spend her time outdoors helping children make connections with the natural world. In her free time she enjoys making art, taking friends on interpretive hikes, and visiting museums of all kinds whenever she travels. She joined the museum staff as an Education Assistant in September 2019. Read more about Ellen.

Hannah Caisse, Education Assistant
831-420-6115, ext. 23

Hannah Caisse was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California, and she developed a love for nature at a very early age. As a child, she regularly visited the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History and other local scientific institutions, and it was this exposure to nature and science that got her hooked on a lifelong love of biology. As an Education Assistant, Hannah finds so much gratification in teaching the next generation of young people all about science and the natural history of the Monterey Bay. When she is not showing kids around nature, you can find Hannah working at her local rock climbing gym, drawing detailed science illustrations at her desk, baking, reading, walking along the beach, drinking tea, or gossiping about the latest findings in paleontology.

Mary A. VeruttiVisitor Services Representative

Mary has been with the Museum since 2006 and has seen so many changes through the years. She continues to be amazed at the contribution the Museum makes to the City of Santa Cruz with such a small staff. She has an English/Writing degree from Chico State but has always had a passion for history, especially of Santa Cruz. She has learned so much about natural history from working at the Museum and is excited when all who enter feel the same. Mary loves all things Italian, New Orleanian, rainy days, moonlit nights and is teased by friends and family for being “married to music.” Read more about Mary.

Hannah Rouland, Visitor Services Representative

Hannah was born in Fremont and has lived in Santa Cruz since 2018, when they began studying Fine Art and History of Art and Visual Culture at UC Santa Cruz. Their love of nature and art has manifested in works like microscopic flower photographs, bee portraits, and anemone prints. They believe creating and viewing nature artwork, as well as learning about natural history, bonds people to the land and increases their sensitivity to the planet, making them better stewards of their environment and community. Hannah is a music lover and has worked for the UCSC radio station, KZSC as Station Manager, Design Director, and continues to DJ. When not spending their Sundays at the museum, they can be found biking around the Bay Area, painting, or hanging out with their grandma.

Tricia Hayes, Administrative Assistant
831-420-6115, ext. 24

Tricia joined the museum in 2023. She is a nemophilist; someone with a fondness for forests – a haunter of the woods. When not working she can be found hiking, reading or quilting. “It’s good to be curious about many things.”-Mister Rogers