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.
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).
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.
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.
Lanipse Rosario | Instructional Designer
Lanipse Rosario (she/her), Instructional Designer, is passionate about using the science of learning and art to create inclusive engaging educational experiences for all. Lanipse served as a Special Education and Bilingual Science Teacher in The Bronx, NY for five years where she created and modified in-person and digital Science curricula with accessibility in mind. Most recently, Lanipse served as a Resource Specialist for Math and English in San Francisco, CA. Lanipse holds a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Digital Arts from Stony Brook University and a M.S. in Education with a concentration in Special Education and Bilingual Education from City College of New York. During her free time, Lanipse enjoys creating art, watching documentaries, and playing with her two cats.