About Us

History

The Museum Educators of Southern California was formally founded in 1977 and obtained 501 (c)(3) status.

MESC is one of the oldest and largest museum education professional organizations in the country providing Southern California museum educators with professional development, theoretical discourse, practical training, and networking for over 30 years.

Mission

We are an inclusive alliance of critically aware museum educators who cultivate and build strategic relationships rooted in sharing resources and encouraging experimentation that empowers the field.

Mission & Values

MESC envisions a community of empowered museum educators who will advance the field.

TRANSPARENCY
Through transparent processes and open communication, we share organizational authority among empowered museum educators.

COMMUNITY
Our community is cultivated through collective empathy, vulnerability, and integrity.

INCLUSIVITY
We invite, celebrate, and respect diverse voices and strive for honest, reflective, and productive dialogue.

SOLIDARITY
Our solidarity is what gives us the credibility and power to advocate for ourselves and others.

 

Our Board

 
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Rebekah Harding
President

With over 15 years of experience in informal education, program design, and audience engagement, Rebekah Harding is dedicated to cultivating community, creating space to engage, connect, and be leaders in our field.  She currently serves as the Associate Director of Learning and Engagement at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute,  focusing on the intersections of historical interpretation, civic engagement, and professional development for the P-12 community. Rebekah is the Professional Development Chair for EdCom, the Education Committee for the American Alliance of Museums, serves on the Board of Directors for the Southern California Social Science Association and holds a Master’s Degree in American History from California State University, Northridge. Outside the museum world, Rebekah leads an adventurous life raising her fierce daughter.

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Hanna Mesraty
Vice President 

Having 12+ years of professional experience as an Experience Designer, Hanna is a strong advocate for immersive, interactive happenings that engage the curious. She currently is the Manager of Guest Relations and the Guest Experience at the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. She helps develop and implement strategies to enhance and enrich the guest experience and thinks a lot about science access. Additionally she serves as Vice President of the California Lichen Society, is working on her Masters in Science Communication and Public Engagement from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and co-stewards a city park in Los Angeles. She believes in accessible science and enjoys cultivating engagement around nature, science, craft, and culture in new innovative ways. 

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Alice Bebbington
Digital

Alice Bebbington is passionate about designing viewer-centered, object-based engagement experiences that allow people to practice skills that allow them to critically examine their world. She is an Educator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, where she leads student-centered tours and trains teachers on developing visual literacy in the classroom. She is also an Educator in School and Teacher Programs, as well as Family Programs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and is an Education Facilitator for weekly The New York Times web program, What’s Going on in This Picture. Alice is also passionate about performing arts education, and has worked with Center Theatre Group on teacher trainings and works with Story Pirates as a storyteller. She hails from the Bay Area, where she gained her B.A. with High Honors in History of Art from UC Berkeley, and got her start as a museum educator working in the Teen Program and School Programs at the de Young Museum. Alice is also an avid improviser, performing around the city and leading improv workshops to train educators, teens, and students on saying yes, not being afraid of failure, and embracing group creativity to generate groundbreaking ideas.

 
 
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Allison Clark
Secretary

Since joining the Bruin family in May 2017 as the Education Manager at UCLA’s Fowler Museum, Allison Clark has welcomed thousands of students to the Fowler, produced eight professional development workshops for K-12 educators, and designed over 40 family programs for both kids and kids-at-heart. Currently, her work highlights the intersections of visitor-driven interpretation, inclusive storytelling, and project-based learning. Prior to working at the Fowler, she connected audiences to artworks at the J. Paul Getty Museum; the Blanton Museum of Art; Asia Society Texas Center; the Printing Museum; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Allison received her M.A. in Art Education from the University of Texas at Austin and her B.A. in Art History and Anthropology from Rice University. When Allison is not on the Westside, she is likely getting lost in downtown’s architecture or yet another book (historical fiction, always!).

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Michael Fritzen
MESCsperiments

With over 15 years of experience in informal education, program design, and children and family engagement, Michael Fritzen is passionate about connecting audiences of all ages to the wonders of museums, zoos and outdoors spaces. He has worked at a variety of respected Los Angeles destinations, such as the Natural History Museum of LA County, Skirball Cultural Center, USC Pacific Asia Museum and the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. Currently Michael is the Program Manager for PJ Library in LA. In his spare time, he serves as a docent at the Los Angeles Zoo and TIllman Japanese Garden as well as serves on the boards of the California Association for the Education of Young Children and the Valley Relics Museum. He holds a Masters in Arts Management from Claremont Graduate University.

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Holly Gillette
Membership Engagement

Holly Gillette is an art museum educator with an interest in gallery teaching and community building. She is currently the Manager of Mobile Programs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) where she oversees the Ancient World Mobile and Maya Mobile programs. Holly joined LACMA in 2012 as an education coordinator for the Art Programs with the Community: LACMA On-Site program, a position she held for six years.  Prior to working at LACMA, Holly began her career in Museum Education at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, CA, focusing on school, early childhood, and family audiences. Holly holds a MS.Ed. in leadership in museum education from Bank Street College Graduate School of Education and a B.A. in art history and studio art from University of California, Davis. Holly also serves on the Board of Museum Educators of Southern California (MESC) and is a Western Region Co-Representative for the American Alliance of Museum’s professional network EdCom. In her down time, you can find Holly knitting and posting on her Instagram @hollymarieknits and taking her mini schnauzer on hikes around Los Angeles.  

 
 
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David Hernandez
Web

David Hernandez is an artist, educator, and public programmer living in Los Angeles, California from Chicago, Illinois. His work draws heavily from popular culture, history, hip-hop, and race, class, and gender politics. Institutions he has worked with include YouTube Education, Brown University, The Art Institute of Chicago, Smithsonian Latino Center, National Museum of Mexican Art, Young Chicago Authors, and the Illinois Caucus of Adolescent Health. He is currently the Public Programs Coordinator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

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Angela Medrano
Treasurer

Angela Medrano is a first generation Mexican-Filipina-American dedicated to furthering educational equity through the arts. She is currently working as a Program Assistant at Turnaround Arts: California, a non-profit that brings arts-based educational strategies to priority schools to narrow the opportunity gap, increase student engagement, and improve campus culture and climate. She assists with program administration, communications, and operations.

Prior to working at Turnaround Arts: California, she worked as a Museum Educator, an Artist Assistant, and Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Intern at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), a McDermott Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA), and a Museum Education Assistant at the Dickinson College Trout Gallery. Angela holds a BA in American Studies from Dickinson College, located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

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Kai Monet
Past President

Kai Monet is a native to Los Angeles and dedicated to a mindful, reflective and constructivist teaching practice and creating a more diverse and inclusive field of museum education. She is an Education Program Coordinator at The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) where she works with teachers, students, and families to engage critically with contemporary art and the world. Kai serves on the Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for the National Art Education Association (NAEA) and is the founder of a local teen programmer network established for practitioners to share resources in order to collectively better serve teens in Los Angeles. Kai received her MA in Arts Management with a concentration in education from Claremont Graduate University in 2013 and holds a BA in Urban Studies and a BA in Art Education from Loyola Marymount University. Her practice outside of the museum space is in flow on a yoga mat or with a hula hoop.

 
 
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Sohayla Pagano
Advancement

Sohayla Pagano is museum educator and administrator currently based in Los Angeles, California. Originally from the east coast and having spent five years living and working in the midwest, Sohayla brings to her work a wealth of knowledge and experience gained from working in museums of varying sizes and disciplines throughout the country. Sohayla currently serves as an Education Specialist at both the Japanese American National Museum and ESMoA, as well as a Teacher for Mobile Programs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Sohayla holds a master’s degree in Art Education with a specialization in Museum Education and Administration from The Ohio State University and bachelor’s degrees in Art History and Architecture from Penn State University.

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Mariel Rowland
Diversity + Inclusion + Accessibility

Born in Philadelphia, Rowland holds a BA in Urban Environmental Policy from Occidental College. She is currently the Associate Education Specialist at the J. Paul Getty Museum working on teen programs. She previously worked as the Family Programs Coordinator at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, CA where she developed an active teen council. She has previously worked in the Education departments of the Santa Monica Museum of Art and 18th Street Arts Center. Throughout her work she aims to bridge the gaps between museums and young people of color. 

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Carolina Zataray
Community Engagement

Carolina Zataray is an educator with experience in both a formal and informal setting.  After working as a middle school and high school history teacher in the Inland Empire, she entered the museum field and moved to Los Angeles, seeking to create powerful experiences for students and teachers.  Carolina is currently the Curator of Education at the San Bernardino County Museum where she develops programing for youth and the community.  Prior to her move back to the Inland Empire she worked at the Autry Museum of the American West as Senior Outreach Coordinator, where she worked on the award winning program, Autry Classroom Curators.