Gateway Science Museum

Gateway Staff


Garden Curator

Hello! My name is Laura, and I’ve been the Garden Curator at Gateway since 2019. I love working outside in our gardens and maintaining them as an educational space and as a habitat for our local flora and fauna! I received my BS in Evolutionary, Ecological, and Organismal Biology and a minor in Studio Art from Chico State in 2018, and also studied field botany with the University of Idaho. I am currently studying historical changes in plant-pollinator interactions for my MS in Biological Sciences here in Chico. I love exploring our natural world and showing my friends, family, and community how exciting it can be!
Fun fact:  I’ve been gardening all my life, and helped lead a gardening project in my local 4-H club. Some of my other hobbies are hiking, camping, printmaking, sewing, and baking for my friends!



Education Coordinator

Hello, my name is Leilani! I am a Education Coordinator at Gateway Science Museum. I graduated from CSU Chico State in Fall 2021. My plan is to become an elementary teacher.

Fun facts: In my free time I love finding new music and attending local live music shows with my friends. Normally, you could find me at the University Farm either seeding in the Greenhouse, tending at the Organic Vegetable Project, or attending class in the animal units or the mechanic shop. I love exploring nature and my favorite places have been Potem Falls or Multnomah Falls. I have so many plants that I lost count after 40.


michelle bio

Artist in Residence

As Artist in Residence at Gateway I get to incorporate my skills as a visual artist into the programming, exhibitions, and events at the museum. I work as an illustrator and artist and am inspired by and curious about the natural world and our universe. I grew up in Minnesota and have now lived in California for 13 years.  After earning an MFA at UC Berkeley I moved to Chico in 2017 and have been enthusiastically on staff at Gateway since 2018.
Fun Fact: I spent four summer seasons working at McMurdo Station, Antarctica where I learned how to make round cookies for a community of over 1000 people.


Bree outside Kendall hall

Curiosity Guide & Greeter

Hello!! My name is Breanna Fernandez and I started working Gateway Science Museum in March of 2021. You can find me in the museum as the occasional curiosity guide or heading down to the creek running through Chico State’s campus for water quality testing! I recently graduated from Chico State in May of 2021 with a degree in Environmental Science.

Fun fact: My favorite things to do in my free time are hiking, exploring new places, and cooking!



Curiosity Guide

Hi my name is Dafne. I am a curiosity guide here at Gateway! I started working one year ago. I go to Chico State, my major is Animal Science and I hope to one day become a veterinarian🐶🐱

Fun Fact: I love hiking, and my boyfriend and I just adopted a dog, his name is Sherman he is a German Shepard🐶🥾


cole bio

Operations Assistant

Hi there! My name is Cole Schmitt and I am the Operations Assistant at the Gateway Science Museum. I started here as a volunteer fall 2019 and now have the best job ever! I am in my junior year at Chico State and I'm double majoring in Ecological Biology and Science Education. I see our museum as a vitally important resource for our community. Science museums aren't just for people who study science, they're a place to be curious. My life goals are to first work for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and years later, the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Some of my hobbies include hiking, woodworking, playing video games, and my biology honors society Omicron Theta Epsilon. I hope to see all of you at the museum sometime in the future!!!!!

Fun Fact: I've jumped out of a helicopter to ski down a mountain in Alaska


Kurt with an owl on his arm 

Curiosity Guide

Hello! My name is Kurt and I am a Curiosity Guide at the Gateway. I participate in many of the field trips at the museum and often lead tours. I love talking about fossils, wildlife, and providing scientific information to people. I am also a father to two wonderful kids and I run a small business with my son Carter. My background is in wildlife education, research and photography.

Fun Fact: I did wildlife rescue and rehabilitation work for several years. I helped train an injured owl to be an education animal and had an injured owl living in my house for a year. My kids grew up sharing their home with hummingbirds, hawks, baby squirrels, baby raccoons, a ringtail, and even a baby coyote.



Visitor Service Supervisor

Hello! My name is Julia, the Visitor Service Supervisor & Coordinator, at Gateway Science Museum. I graduated from CSU Sacramento State in Spring 2020 with a Bachelor Degree in Communications. I love to work with students of all ages to inspire and educate about opportunities and programs in school that is in line with their passion! I have been a peer mentor, recreational leader, volunteer program intern at shelters, and special events leader! I like to constantly be learning!

Fun Fact: I love to go hiking and travel to different parts of the cities every weekend!