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Spotlight

Peccary Dinner Set for October 21, 2022

Our 30th Annual Peccary Society Dinner will convene on Friday, October 21 as part of Webb’s Centennial Celebration. Items on the program will include:
  • Announcement of the latest discoveries from the summer peccary trip to Wyoming – dinosaurs, turtles, birds, sharks and more!
  • Highlights of the latest research by Webb students, including the introduction of this year’s Rogers Peccary Scholars – a student research program that happens only at Webb
  • Introduction of our new Augustyn Family Curator of Paleontology, Dr. Mairin Balisi
  • Presentation of the Raymond M. Alf Excellence in Paleontological Research & Education Award
  • And more!
To sponsor or purchase a ticket for this event, please visit the registration page. If you have any questions, please contact Danielle Gordon, director of development, at (909) 482-5267 or dgordon@webb.org.

Museum Staff Promoted to New Positions

The Alf Museum is excited to announce some big changes! Two members of our team, Gabriel Santos and Bailey Jorgensen, are stepping into new positions at the Alf.

Gabriel Santos is the museum’s new Director of Visitor Engagement and Education. Gabriel has been with the Alf Museum since 2015. He received his Bachelors in biological sciences at UC Irvine and then his Masters in geological sciences at California State University, Fullerton. Beginning in his position as collections manager and then outreach coordinator, he has played an important role in the development of the Alf Museum’s public programs and DEI initiatives, such as the Cosplay for Science Initiative and ACCESS Paleo SoCal internship program. In 2021, he was named a Grosvenor Teacher Fellow with Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic. As Director of Visitor Engagement and Education, Gabriel will continue to grow our public programs and develop the Alf Museum as an educational resource for our community.

Bailey Jorgensen, who has been with the Alf since 2017, is stepping into the role of Collections Manager. Beginning in her position as Collection and Outreach Assistant and then Senior Collections Assistant, she has been essential in the organization, care, and maintenance of the museum’s 190,000 fossil specimens and historical archive. Her work in specimen digitization and databasing has expanded the accessibility of the museum’s collection for students, researchers, and the public. Bailey received her Bachelor’s degree in archaeology at Montana State University and will be starting her Master’s program in maritime sciences at State University of New York. As our new Collections Manager, Bailey will work in collaboration with our curator and other collections staff to oversee care and use of the Alf Museum collection.

Both Gabriel and Bailey have been essential members of the Alf Museum team and we very excited to see them step into their new positions. Please join us in congratulating them both! We are so grateful to have them on team Alf!

 

 

Paleontologist, Dr. Mairin Balisi, Joins Alf Museum as New Curator

Filipina woman holding a Smilodon skull in an aisle of museum cabinets

Paleontologist Mairin Balisi, an expert in fossil mammal carnivorans – such as dogs and cats – has joined the Alf Museum as the new Augustyn Family Curator of Paleontology.

Balisi earned a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology at UCLA. She earned her Master of Science in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan. She attended UC Berkeley as an undergrad, earning a Bachelor of Arts in both integrative biology and comparative literature.

Most recently, she has worked as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral research fellow at the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum, and concurrently as a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Merced.

She specializes in small to mid-sized mammals from 40 million to 40,000 years ago – including some that remain part of our world today.

“I really view the present as an extension of the past and as an early sign of the future. What we see in the fossil record are the roots of the present,” Balisi said. “What I hope to bring to the Alf Museum is this perspective of continuity between the past, present and future.”

Balisi succeeds Dr. Andrew Farke in the role of Augustyn Curator, a post created by the Augustyn family in 2011. Farke, who focuses largely on dinosaur paleontology, became director of the Alf Museum in 2021, succeeding Dr. Don Lofgren. Like Balisi, Lofgren specialized in mammal paleontology.

“Dr. Balisi’s outreach and publication records are impressive, as is her deep connection with the Southern California paleontological community,” Farke said. “She has conducted fieldwork throughout the western United States and Mexico, in addition to her work at the Tar Pits. Furthermore, she has a significant track record of mentoring students – including high school students. She’s an extraordinary addition to our team at the Alf Museum.”

Balisi will join Farke and Webb students on her first Peccary Trip, a sojourn to Wyoming from July 23 to August 6 to explore a site rich in mammals and dinosaur fossils.

During the academic year, Balisi will also teach paleontology courses within The Webb Schools Science Department, assist with after-school museum volunteering and mentor students in advanced research courses. 

Announcing the ACCESS Paleo SoCAL Internship

The Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology is excited to announce the launch of the ACCESS Paleo SoCal Internship developed in collaboration with the University of California Museum of Paleontology.

The Advancing Community College Education and Student Success in paleontology project, or ACCESS, is a collaborative project created at the University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP) to build collaborations with local community colleges to increase access to STEM fields like geosciences & paleontology for students from historically excluded groups and communities.

The ACCESS Paleo SoCal internship is intended to recruit students from historically excluded and underrepresented groups or communities currently enrolled at a two-year institution who seek to transfer to four-year institutions in pursuit of a degree in paleontology, museum science, and other related fields.

During this 7-week internship, students will be introduced to the fields of paleontology, geosciences, museum science, and science communication. Students will work with staff of the Alf Museum and mentors to learn basic skills and best practices in fossil preparation, curation, research, and science communication. Students will also be provided opportunities to begin to begin composing their transfer applications with staff and mentors. In addition, weekly field trips to other science institutions and universities where students will meet and learn about careers paths from other professionals in the field.

Following the end of the program, alumni of the program will be offered continued support through check-ins and other networking opportunities. Additional travel funds may be available for alumni of the program to attend professional conferences.

Funding for this internship was generously provided by the David B. Jones Foundation.

For more information about the ACCESS SoCal Paleo Internship or to apply, please visit: https://www.alfmuseum.org/about-us/internships/ 

 

 

Virtual Museum Now Available!

Explore the Alf Museum online! Our virtual museum is now available, for both the Hall of Life and Hall of Footprints.

Directions:
– Click on the white circles to move through the museum.
– Click on small blue circles for information on the fossil specimens.
– Scroll up or down on your mouse to zoom in to fossils and exhibits.

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