Photo: Olson Kundig
Photo: Olson Kundig

UW College of Arts & Sciences

The Burke Museum is governed by the University of Washington Board of Regents and administered by the College of Arts and Sciences.

Executive Director

portrait of gabriela chavarria in the burke museumGabriela Chavarria

Dr. Gabriela Chavarria serves as the Executive Director of the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. In this role, Dr. Chavarria carries forward the Burke's mission to care for and share natural and cultural collections so all people can learn, be inspired, generate knowledge, feel joy, and heal. 

Prior to the Burke, she served as the VP and Chief Curator, Science Division, at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Previously, she was senior science advisor and forensic science branch chief at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife National Forensics Laboratory. Dr. Chavarria received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and her master’s and Ph.D. in organismic and evolutionary biology from Harvard University.

Growing up in Mexico City, Dr. Chavarria developed a passion for nature and science at an early age, especially for bees. She has devoted her career to the conservation of native pollinators, especially bumble bees. Her recent work as a wood anatomist focused on fighting the illegal trafficking of tropical hardwoods. Dr. Chavarria has conducted research in more than 30 countries throughout the world and sits on numerous boards and advisory councils, including the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the National Parks Conservation Association, Defenders of Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy of Colorado, and the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Photo: Timothy Kenney/Burke Museum

Executive Staff

Michelle Banks, Director of Development

Andrew Flannery, Administrator

Melissa Kennedy, Director of Interpretation

Joanne Matsusaka, Director of Communications

Polly Olsen (Yakama), Director of Diversity, Equity,
Access, Inclusion & Decolonization / Tribal Liaison

Nicole Robert, Director of Visitor Experience


Holly Barker, Curator for Oceanic and Asian Culture

Katie Bunn-Marcuse, Curator of Northwest Native Art

Sara Gonzalez, Curator of Archaeology

Sven Haakanson, Curator of Native American Anthropology

Peter Lape, Curator of Archaeology

Adam Leaché, Curator of Genetic Resources & Herpetology

Gregory Wilson Mantilla, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology 
and Associate Director for Research & Collections

Alejandro Rico-Guevara, Curator of Ornithology

Sharlene Santana, Curator of Mammals

Christian Sidor, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology

Caroline Strömberg, Curator of Paleobotany

Luke Tornabene, Curator of Fishes

Burke Museum Association Officers

hunter jeffers portrait

Hunter Jeffers
Community Volunteer

portrait of ellen look

Ellen Look
Vice President
Community Volunteer

Kisha Xiomara Palmer

Kisha Xiomara Palmer
Vice President
Inclusive Leadership Development Consultant and Coach

portrait of tiffany clark

Tiffany Clark
Education Consultant

portrait of heather coldwell

Heather Coldwell
Davis Wright Tremaine

elise hebb headshot photo

Elise Hebb
Past President
Community Volunteer

Fundraising Board

Burke Museum Association

The Burke Museum Association actively supports the museum by raising funds for programming and growth, strengthening ties to our diverse communities and fostering recognition of the Burke as a museum leader.

The BMA is a separate 501(c)(3). For more information about the BMA, email burkeadm@uw.edu.

Burke Museum Association

Brittany Bakken

Kiana Lodge, Suquamish Tribe

Geri Ann Baptista


Mike Bruemmer


Lester Brown

Pine Street Group

Dwane Chappelle

Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning

Tiffany Clark

Education Consultant

Heather Coldwell

Davis Wright Tremaine

Anne Delaney

Columbia Pacific Wealth Management 

Ellen Ferguson

Community Volunteer

Cezanne Garcia

Community Volunteer

Indira Gillingham


Lauren Guzauskas


Hunter Jeffers

Community Volunteer

Leslie Kincaid-Lawrence

Convoy, Inc.

Janine Ledford

Makah Cultural and Research Center, Makah Tribe

Ellen Look

Community Volunteer

Kristin Luttinen

Community Volunteer

Joe McKinstry

Joseph McKinstry Construction Company

Conor Myhrvold

Kisha Xiomara Palmer

The Institute for Inclusive Leadership

Darcy Paschino

Kristina Sumner

Kirsten Turner

Community Volunteer

Brian Vautour

Amazon Web Services


State of Washington

The Hon. Jay R. Inslee
Governor, State of Washington

University of Washington

Ana Mari Cauce
President, University of Washington

David Zeeck
Chair, Board of Regents, University of Washington

Dianne Harris
Dean, College of Arts & Sciences, University of Washington

Burke Museum Association Advisory Council

Greg Blume

George W. Counts

Jan Creighton

Mary Dunnam

Sheila Edwards Lange

Leonard Forsman

Alicechandra Fritz

Mike Garvey

Elise Hebb

Chris Hurley

Sydnie Heberling

John Howell

Ron Irving

Ed Marcuse

Eleanor Nolan

John Pohl

John Price

Brent Reys

Brian Screnar

Jennifer Schubert

Spencer G. Smith

Susie Stoller

David Towne

William Urschel

Steve Whiston

Rebecca Wilson

Melissa Yeager

Erin Younger

Advisory Board

Native American Advisory Board

The Native American Advisory Board provides essential advice and direction as to the Burke Museum’s efforts in a number of important areas including, but not limited to, exhibits, collections, community outreach, repatriation, education, research, and collaborative relations with tribal and museum programs. Its membership focuses on Native American colleagues in the Northwest who are museum specialists, natural resource specialists, artists, experienced traditional knowledge keepers, or cultural heritage specialists.

The NAAB is led by an Executive Committee who are elected by Tribal governments to guide the board. For more information,
contact Polly Olsen (Yakama), Tribal Liaison, at polly@uw.edu.

Executive Committee

warren kinggeorge

Warren KingGeorge


portrait of josephine jefferson

Josephine Jefferson

Swinomish Indian Tribal Community

portrait of a man

Yellowash Washines


Annette "Nettsie" Bullchild


Native American Advisory Board

Jacqueline Cook


Arlene Wheeler

Lower Elwha Klallam

Lena Tso

Lummi Nation

Janine Ledford


Warren KingGeorge


Annette "Nettsie" Bullchild

Nisqually Indian Tribe

Brandon Reynon

Puyallup Tribe of Indians

Charlotte Basch

Puyallup Tribe of Indians

Connie McCloud

Puyallup Tribe of Indians

Josephine Jefferson

Swinomish Indian Tribal Community

Charlene Krise

Squaxin Island Tribe

Bobbie Conner


Teara Farrow Ferman


Adam Osbekoff

Unangan (Aleut) (Employed at Snoqualmie Indian Tribe)

Davis "Yellowash" Washines

Yakama Nation

Dr. Miranda Belarde-Lewis


a student and professor look at art together

Our Work

At the Burke, we bring together people, objects and the stories that make them meaningful.

Photo: Mark Stone/University of Washington
Photo: Mark Stone/University of Washington