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Educator Bios

  • Jessa Barzelay | Chief Programs Officer and Director of Education

    Jessa joined CuriOdyssey after 13 years in Education management and leadership at the San Francisco Zoo and San Francisco Botanical Garden. Passionate about connecting children and families to science and the nature, Jessa leads the Education Department and oversees its programs, including steering STEMCorps, a pilot program with a goal to support and empower youth from underrepresented communities to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math learning. Jessa graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in Biology and University of San Francisco with a MA in Nonprofit Administration.

  • edu-bio-BlasHerrera

    Blas Herrera | Assistant Director of Education

    Blas is a STEAM education professional with experience in both formal and informal settings and a personal passion for bees and gardening. He also curates a very extensive collection of fauna and flora in his home zoo and garden! Blas is key in stewarding our education programs, in particular, managing our Camp programs and advancing all aspects of our STEMCorps initiative (mentor program + educator professional development + youth leadership program).

  • Portrait of Early Childhood Education Specialist Romina Benedict

    Romina Benedict | Early Childhood Education Specialist

    Romina majored in Biology emphasizing Zoology with a minor in Education from San Francisco State University where she joined her passions for informal education and science into one. From an early age she's always loved animals and learning, creating new projects for herself throughout her life. Prior to joining the CuriOdyssey family, she had experiences in many local scientific institutions around the Bay Area including San Francisco Zoo, the Exploratorium, and the California Academy of Sciences.

    Romina’s other interests include her love of all things Disney, house plants, and musical theater. In her free time, you can often find her playing games with friends, cuddling her pets, or taking a nap.

  • Portrait of STEM Educator Matt Naffziger

    Matt Naffziger | Education Specialist

    Matt holds a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Cal Poly SLO where his studies focused on the identification and taxonomical relationships of California’s plant and animal life. After graduating Matt pursued his passion for education by spending a year teaching English in South Korea. After that he spent 2 summers teaching camps at the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma WA, a season as an Environmental Educator at the Alabama 4-H Center, and a year as the Education Coordinator at the Slater Museum of Natural History in Tacoma. In his free time Matt enjoys traveling new places, making fun-fact videos for his Youtube channel, and trying new foods.


Educators inspire students to think creatively, be curious, and to draw on lessons learned through their own discoveries.

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1651 Coyote Point Drive
San Mateo, CA 94401
Ohlone Land Acknowledgement

[email protected]

CuriOdyssey is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Tax ID 94-1262434

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