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Michael F. Brown
Dr. Brown, a cultural anthropologist, has been president of the School for Advanced Research since 2014. His research covers a broad range of topics, including the Indigenous peoples of Amazonia, new religious movements, and the global challenge of protecting Indigenous cultural property from misuse and appropriation. He has an AB degree from Princeton and a PhD in anthropology from the University of Michigan and has been awarded research fellowships by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Institute for Advanced Study. Prior to his appointment as SAR president, Brown served on the faculty of Williams College for 34 years.
In addition to numerous scholarly articles, Brown is the author of six books, including The Channeling Zone: American Spirituality in an Anxious Age (1997), Who Owns Native Culture? (2003), and Upriver: The Turbulent Life and Times of an Amazonian People (2014). He has also published articles and reviews in publications including Natural History, Smithsonian,The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Times Literary Supplement, and the New York Times Book Review.
Vice President for Finance & Administration
Alex Kalangis joins SAR with a wealth of experience in finance and operations in educational and nonprofit settings, primarily with Bosque School in Albuquerque, NM, United World College-USA in Montezuma, NM, and the International Center of Hellenic and Mediterranean Studies in Athens, Greece. A Santa Fe native, Alex has a BA in Business Administration from Baylor University and earned his MBA in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.
Director of Public Programs and Communications
Nate Francis is from Albuquerque, NM, growing up in the Four Corners Region, his family originating from the Tewa speaking pueblo people of New Mexico and Arizona. Nate is a self-taught graphic designer, illustrator, photographer, and muralist. In addition to design and art work, Nate loves being on the water and in nearby canyons, visiting ancestral Pueblo sites and honoring his ancestors who lived there. He grew up backpacking, rock climbing, hiking around the Four Corners. Nate is also a guide passionate about teaching ancestral Pueblo history.
Executive Services Coordinator
Director of Leadership Giving
Helen previously served as the founding hospital chief executive for Presbyterian Santa Fe Medical Center. After more than twenty-five years in health–care leadership roles, and having achieved licensing and accreditation for the new facility, she has joined SAR’s team to focus on major and planning giving. Along with work in the realm of clinical operations, strategy, program development, philanthropy, marketing, and public relations, Helen has also served on the boards of numerous arts and civic organizations, including the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor’s Economic Development Committee, and the National Board of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Director of Advancement Operations
Lindsay grew up in Taos, New Mexico. She received her master of business administration from Anderson School of Management at the University of New Mexico. She began her career working in international development and with indigenous cultures in Kenya and Brazil before settling back in New Mexico. She has worked in fundraising for non-profits in New Mexico for over ten years including the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.
Melinda Sue Robbins
Melinda moved to Santa Fe in early 2021 to hike mountain trails and enjoy the many cultural events that the city offers. Originally from rural Pennsylvania, she has a BA in Photography and an MA in Adult & Community Education. In her previous career directing outreach education for art colleges, Melinda learned to procure corporate, foundation, and government grant funding to support programming. Since then, she has expanded her grant writing skills to help organizations in higher education, the arts, and social service sectors meet their fundraising goals.
Amy grew up outside Detroit and graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Comparative Religion with a focus on Psychology, Anthropology, and Sociology. After spending two years in Israel, she moved to Boston and worked in mutual funds and children’s book publishing. She relocated to Santa Fe in late 2002, leaving humidity and mosquitos behind and has worked in membership capacities at IATSE Local 480 and Temple Beth Shalom. In her spare time likes to walk, read, ride her bike, and knit.
As the membership coordinator, Amy is responsible for the overall operations of SAR’s membership events and programs, including our local and regional field trips, along with bringing creative thought to all membership related initiatives.
Kat is from Fairbanks in the Golden Heart Interior of Alaska. Continually curious, Kat is fascinated by the stories told by Paleolithic art and the impact of geography and religion on cultures and languages. She has a Master’s Degree in Education, a Bachelor’s in English Literature and Music, and a professional background in accounting and journalism. Her great-grandmother fell in love with the City Different in the 1930s, becoming a revered member of the community for over thirty years. Kat enjoys uncovering the layers of history in Santa Fe and New Mexico, traveling, hiking, creative writing, choral music, jazz, and languages. Kat is honored to be part of the resilient community of creative thinkers at the School for Advanced Research.
Scholar Programs Director
As the director of Scholar Programs, Dr. Paul Ryer helps guide the selection of resident scholar fellowships and supports researchers during their residencies. He also oversees the J.I. Staley Prize, manages a range of on-campus scholar seminars, and serves as the primary point of contact for a growing, global network of SAR alumni. Under his leadership, the department has initiated efforts that ensure the program’s relevance to twenty-first century scholarship via an increased focus on: cross-disciplinary work; newly-developed fellowship field areas; collaboration among participating scholars; and the establishment of programs that embrace a greater awareness of new theories and emerging paradigms within anthropology and related fields.
Dr. Ryer received his PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of Chicago in 2006. With over two decades of experience in academia, professor Ryer’s specific areas of anthropological expertise include the Caribbean, migration and diaspora, historical anthropology, semiotics, cultural citizenship, and religion. Since his initial fieldwork as a Ruth Landes Fellow in the 1990s, while affiliated with the University of Havana, he has conducted long-term research on Cuba and its diasporas. Currently, Ryer is studying the contemporary Cuban Protestant revival island through the lens of an ecumenical seminary in Matanzas, Cuba—an institution which survived the atheism of the early Revolution and is now thriving. He is the author of Beyond Cuban Waters, an ethnography which not only explores the cultural life of contemporary Cuba, but examines Cubans’ understanding of the world, and Cuba’s place in it through the lens of revolutionary-era Cuban-African educational exchanges. Prior to coming to SAR, Professor Ryer taught at the University of Chicago, Williams College, Mount Holyoke College, and the University of California, Riverside. Read more…
Program Coordinator, Scholar Programs
With two decades experience in the museum field, Elysia’s career has demonstrated a commitment to collaborative programming and a dedication to community-based collections care. Under her leadership, the IARC continues to be at the forefront of the national conversation around how collecting institutions and Native American communities can work together to foster and promote cultural heritage and further contemporary art practices. Formerly the IARC’s curator of education, Elysia furthered a Native artist fellowship program that is now one of the most nationally recognized. She developed and led IARC education outreach initiatives and facilitates an annual IARC speaker series that explores Native American arts and culture. She received her BA in art history and criticism from the University of California, San Diego and MA in art history from the University of New Mexico. Prior to coming to SAR, Elysia worked for the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles, Museum of Indian Arts & Culture in Santa Fe, and Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque.
Jennifer Day joined the SAR staff in June 2005. She came to the organization with a background in museum registration and completed a graduate degree in museum studies at the University of Florida. As SAR’s head registrar, she administers SAR’s collection management database at its Indian Arts Research Center (IARC), and also handles documentation of acquisitions and object loans, rights and reproduction for images of collection items, and manages several volunteers and interns. She has a passion for organizing collection data and making it easily accessible for staff and researchers; her mantra is that “A database is only as good as the information it contains.” Jennifer particularly enjoys working with members of Native American communities to improve documentation of items housed in the IARC collection and also designing database reports.
Laura Elliff Cruz
With sixteen years of collections care experience, Laura re-joined the SAR staff in December 2020, and was the previous collections manager at IARC from 2008-2014. Prior to returning, Laura was head of the collection management department at the Denver Art Museum for nearly six years overseeing the daily care, including a major collection move project and numerous grant storage upgrades during her time there. Previous experience includes working as a collection consultant, as an on-line teacher through Northern States Conservation Center, four years at Fort Lewis College, Center of Southwest Studies, and she was a former Americorps VISTA volunteer. She has a BA in Anthropology from Illinois State University, a graduate certificate in Museum Collections Management and Care from George Washington University, and an MA in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Overall, Laura will be in charge of caring for the IARC collections, and preventive conservation and collaborative care with source communities is her main passion.
2021–Present • 505-954-7273 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Paloma López grew up in Gallup, New Mexico. She received her BA in Cultural Anthropology from Boston University and continued her studies in Puebla, Mexico. Upon returning to the United States, Paloma spent several years teaching K-12 special education in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2021, she received a master’s degree in Museum Studies with a concentration in art museum education from The University of New Mexico. Before joining SAR, Paloma served as an AmeriCorps Member at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) in Albuquerque, NM where she developed curricula for the NHCC Art Museum. In her role as educator at the IARC, Paloma oversees the Anne Ray Internship program, docents and volunteers, and supports community outreach efforts.
Olivia Amaya Ortiz
2021–Present • 505-954-7239 • email@example.com
Olivia (she/her) facilitates museum education, community outreach initiatives and oversees the Native Artist Fellowship Program. She received a dual-major BFA from the University of Arizona in Illustration & Design in addition to Art & Visual Culture Education, with an emphasis on Community Engagement and Museums. She went on to complete a MA in Art Education from the University of New Mexico.
Prior to joining the IARC, Olivia worked for both the Tucson Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA Tucson) in Arizona. She contributed to the planning and execution of community-based education programs for diverse audiences. Previous experience includes working in K-12 art classrooms, gallery management and she served as an Indigenous Educator Corps (IEC) member at the Native American Community Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Early experiences growing up in the Sonoran Desert have largely informed her research and intellectual pursuits today. As a Chicana and a guest to Tewa lands, Olivia is passionate about museum practices that further decolonial theory, cultural revitalization and preservation, Indigenous knowledge ways and anti-racist pedagogy.
Daniel Kurnit has been the administrative assistant at the Indian Arts Research Center since 2001. He is a graduate of Santa Fe High School and a longtime Santa Fe resident. Prior to joining SAR, he worked at a number of local businesses, including the New Mexican and the Santa Fean. His writing and editing skills now come in handy for the various brochures, flyers, and other printed materials that the IARC regularly creates. His other responsibilities include record keeping, organizing mailings, and arranging tours and special events. He is also the point of first contact and answerer of questions for most visitors to the IARC.
Daniel received a BA, with a concentration in American History, from Bard College in Annandale, New York, and visits friends and family on the East Coast often.
Registrar for Cultural Projects
Stephanie, a member of the Pueblo of Acoma tribe, received her BA in anthropology with an emphasis in cultural anthropology and museum studies from New Mexico State University. Prior to joining IARC, she worked for several years at the Sky City Cultural Center & Haakú Museum and at the New Mexico State University Museum. She has also completed a residency at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in collections management. Thanks to previous projects she has been involved in, Stephanie has become passionate about learning and sustaining traditional pottery-making practices.
Assistant Collections Manager
Molly began at SAR in October 2019. In her role as collections assistant, Molly supports the preservation of and access to the IARC collection. From Ohio originally, she received her BA in sociology from the University of Dayton and went on to complete a master’s degree in museology at the University of Washington. In graduate school she focused on collections management, community collaborations, and incorporating cultural context into collections care. She then spent two years as a culture collections move assistant at the Burke Museum in Seattle. She has also completed internships with the Seattle Area National Parks, Seattle Space Needle, Renton History Museum, Dayton Society of Natural History, and Cincinnati’s Heritage Village Museum.
SAR Press Director
Sarah E. Soliz is an editor with over fifteen years of experience in scholarly publishing. She established her own editorial business after earning a master’s degree in cultural and linguistic anthropology at the University of New Mexico. As press director, Sarah develops new resources to offer readers value that extends well beyond the printed page. She oversees day-to-day operations; shepherds manuscripts through developmental editing, peer review, and into production; and shapes the publishing program to ensure its sustainability and success. Sarah builds relationships with diverse authors in the fields of Southwestern and Latin American anthropology, archaeology, history, and Indigenous studies; commissions and cultivates innovative work; improves digital access; and promotes the press through the organization’s newsletters, blog, social media channels, and events. She also works as the staff editor at SAR to support public-facing communications throughout the organization and writes for the blog.
Katherine manages the library at SAR, serving as librarian and archivist. She has been in the library profession for over twenty years, with experience in special, public, and academic libraries. She holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Science (MLIS) from San Jose State University and a BA in Art History/Criticism with a minor in Environmental Studies from the University of California, San Diego. Prior to her position at SAR, she was a librarian at the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe. She has a certificate in Digitization Skills for Libraries and Cultural Heritage Institutions and completed the Western Archives Institute (WAI) in California. More recently, she attended two courses from the UCLA California Rare Book School on special collections librarianship and Indigenous social justice in libraries. Before relocating to Santa Fe, she was a public and special collections librarian in San Diego. Katherine enjoys working close to nature on the SAR campus in a creative and scholarly environment.
As staff accountant, Bob’s primary responsibilities include accounts payable functions, maintenance of cash position including deposits and on-line banking activities, posting of monthly accounting entries, and other general accounting duties. Bob retired from the State of New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department after twenty-six and a half years in the field of accounting and financial management. He has a bachelor of arts in accounting from New Mexico State University.
Bob is a native Santa Fean. He and his wife, Paula, have a son in college and a young daughter in elementary school.
Human Resources Director
Carol, as Personnel Director, manages all functions involving personnel, payroll and benefits administration, and government compliance.
Hired in 1984 as the Accounts Payable Clerk in the School’s Business Office, Carol served in different capacities before taking over the personnel function in 1992.
A native Santa Fean, Carol is a member of the National Society for Human Resource Managers (SHRM).
She attended the University of New Mexico and is a Certified Professional in Human Resources through the Robert O. Anderson School of Management at University of New Mexico and SHRM.
Guest Services Director
Guest Services Assistant
Carla, originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, has lived in Santa Fe since 1994. She began working as the campus housekeeper at SAR in 1997. Carla moved on to Academic Programs assistant, and was promoted to her current position in the spring of 2004.
Carla enjoys being a mom and spending time with her daughter Arely.
Robert E. Lujan
Physical Plant Director
Robert comes to us after nine years as the Facility Complex Manager for the NM Dept. of Public Safety. His area of responsibility included the State Police training facility off Cerrillos Rd. Before 2007, Robert worked for ten years for the NM General Services Dept. including two years as Facilities Manager. He has lots of experience with both old buildings and guest relations. Robert is a native Santa Fean. He enjoys spending time with his wife, daughters and grandchild.
Isidro has a background in landscaping. He joined the staff in the Physical Plant division working with Ray Sweeney and Randy Montoya. He is responsible for maintaining much of the landscaping on campus and takes a great deal of pride in his work.
Isidro is married and has two children.