Meet Our Staff

Click on the picture to learn some fun facts about our staff.

At JMDC, we believe that DISCOVERING and FUN go hand in hand! 

Wes Andrée

Wes Andrée

Executive Director

What Others Think

Wes is a Cryptozoologist observing rare and unusual animals of the mystical world.  He once observed a Unicorn eating only carrots in his garden and wrote a paper discussing the importance of Unicorns eating vegetables shaped like their single horn.  He hypothesized that if watermelons were eaten the Unicorn horn would have a whole different look.  He is looking for Leave No Trace Ambassador, Big Foot.  Big Foot has eluded him for many years, however, Yeti’s very pleasant and quite social when you get to know him.  Another that has eluded him are Mermaids.  He hopes to meet them soon.

Who I am

Wes is a Naturalist who’s happiest sharing with the young and young at heart at JMDC.  Growing up, he roamed the hills behind his home watching and catching different critters.  One time, he filled the family bathtub with frogs, toads and other critters.  He proudly showed his Mom, all went back to the creek the next day.  At 8 years old started skin diving/scuba diving off the SoCal coast watching all the critters there.  He has spent the last 40 years as a SCUBA Instructor and Boy Scout Leader sharing his admiration and wonder of the wild world with others.

Maribel Vargas

Maribel Vargas

Museum and Gift Shop Coordinator

What Others Think

Hi! I’m Adamantem…which means Diamond in Latin.  I come from a piece of carbon exposed to immense heat and pressure for about 3 billion years in the earth’s mantle about 118 miles below the surface of the earth!  I was brought up to the surface as a sample to show humans the beauty that comes from underneath your feet and how to benefit from it for future generations to come…and also to show what it means to be tough.  That’s right there’s nothing tougher or more beautiful than me!

Who I Am

Hello, I’m Maribel Vargas I was born in Durango, Mexico and migrated to the U.S.A. when I was 15 years old.  I was always fascinated and curious about our planet’s constant geologic possesses and how they continuously change the earth.  In 2003 I came to JMDC looking for some volunteer opportunities and immediately fell in love with the Rocks, Minerals, and Fossils this place had.  I was given the opportunity instead, to study and learn so I could eventually teach about them.  It was the best thing ever! There’s no greater joy to me than being able to awaken in a kid their curiosity and awareness about our natural resources through my excitement when I’m talking about them, knowing that they will, just like me…want to learn more and more!!

Alison Brewer

Alison Brewer

Guide

What Others Think

My name is Ally, but you can call me the Pink Geologist. I am the place where glam meets dirt. I have spent years underground searching for a new discovery. Every time I cheer underground new minerals pop out of the walls. Seeing as I do not surface often, I have befriended the bats and rats in the mine and have become accustomed to the dark lifestyle I live. When I return to the surface of the Earth, I have to wear sunglasses because I cannot handle the harsh sunlight.

Who I am

Hello, my name is Alison Brewer. I have been with JMDC since 2007. When I first started at JMDC, I was a volunteer Museum Docent. Since 2009, I have been an Expedition Leader and Discovery Camp Counselor. JMDC is where I discovered my passion for geology. Thanks to this passion, I am a senior at CSUSB and will earn my B.S. degree in Geology in June 2018. At CSUSB, I have been on the Dean’s List and the cheer team. After graduation, I hope to become a Mine Geologist, so I can continue to fulfill my passion for collecting and dealing with beautiful specimens. When I am not working at JMDC, I love to off-road, rock hound, camp, fish and just enjoy the great outdoors.

Grecia Maya

Grecia Maya

Guide

What Others Think

Hello, my name is Grecia Maya. I have been time traveling for over 50 years. I acquired the time machine when traveling through Britain during the 1950s. The origin of the time machine is still unknown. The farthest I have traveled is the Cretaceous time period when the dinosaurs such as the T-Rex roamed the Earth. The time machine allows me to travel deep into our past, however, I am only able to travel 20 years into the future. I cannot say what exactly will happen in the future but something extraordinary will happen that will completely change how we live.

Who I Am

Hello, I’m Grecia Maya. I am an employee at JMDC where I mainly lead elementary school group tours around the center, while teaching them about geology, paleontology, among other subjects.  I am originally from Stockton, in Northern California, and then came down to Riverside to attend college. I graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a bachelor’s degree in Geology in 2016. I was involved in different organizations ranging from community service to geology throughout my college career. When not working at JMDC, I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends, watching lots of Netflix, and working out.

Virginia Odom

Virginia Odom

Education Coordinator

The Story Behind the Story

While camping in the Jurupa Mountains with her friends Esmerelda and Jacob, they are quite friendly Cave Gnomes, Ginny was regaled at a campfire with the story of Edward the Spirit Mammoth of the Jurupa Mountains by Esmerelda.  She is from the Jurupa Valley Clan of the Jurupa Mountains and by far the better campfire story teller than Jacob who comes from the Riverside Clan of Mount Rubidoux.  How these two ever got together is another story altogether.  Anyway as Esmerelda told the story of Eddy, his friends called him Eddy and Cave Gnomes are always very friendly particularly Esmerelda.  This is going to be a long story, have a seat and I’ll get you a cup of brittle bush tea over ice, such a treat, to sip while we tell the story.  You just wait right there it’ll only be a few moments for the tea.

Who I Am

Virginia Odom graduated magna cum laude from California State University, Fullerton with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies, concentrations in Education Administration and Early Childhood Education, and Continuing Education classes in Earth Science.  After teaching for several years, Virginia joined the Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center (JMDC) team in 2007 as the Education Coordinator.  Since that time, she has been responsible for implementing and expanding the educational programs at JMDC.  Virginia enjoys exploring new places, making discoveries, and spending time with her family and friends.

Bill Cieslak

Bill Cieslak

Staff Member

What Others Think

I’m just a caveman. My journey started thousands of years ago when I was frozen while hunting in the tundra. When I was thawed out it was 2015, and I found employment at the only place with a mammoth around. Your world frightens and confuses me. Sometimes I feel the need to throw spears into the metal beasts you call “cars”. The honking horns of traffic make me want to climb out of my Hyundai and run off into the hills. But one thing I do know is that I love teaching future generations about my extinct world.

Who I Am

I’m a 20-year-old engineering student. I enjoy hiking, backpacking, and being in the outdoors. As a kid, my dad brought me to the center, and since that time I’ve always had a love of science. Fossils of extinct animals like mammoths and dinosaurs captivate and intrigue me. I find my job teaching future generations about the earth sciences incredibly rewarding.

Nathan San Filippo

Nathan San Filippo

Guide

What others think

Nathan says he works. He certainly clocks in and clocks out, usually on time. Occasionally, one may see him wandering around the grounds or in the gift store.  Most of the time no one knows where he is, and when he does finally turn up, towards the end of his shift, he claims he was watering the mammoth. But our Mammoth is made of metal. At times he is told to move the stock in the back room, and arrange items in alphabetical order. Yet, boxes are only moved in a way that strangely resembles a cardboard bed. One time, Nathan was asked to gather grape leaves for the tortoises to eat. He came back with an empty bucket and grape skin stuck between his teeth. The truth is no one really knows Nathan. They do know he always arrives on time every other Friday to collect his check, but afterward, he and his car are nowhere to be seen.

Who I am 

Nathan is twenty years old and currently attends Cal State Fullerton as an English major. Although he is pursuing a teaching career in this subject, he has a passion for geology and paleontology. The time he spends working with our kids’ educational programs and the general public has helped prepare him for this career. He is an Eagle Scout and has been involved in Scouting for fourteen years. As expected, he has developed a great love for the outdoors because of his time Scouting. When not working, Nathan hikes, camps, and tries his hand at photography.

Christopher Gentile

Christopher Gentile

Guide

What Others Think

Hello, I’m Topher Ryan. I have been sent to Earth, along with others, to study humans in their environment. My team of scientists and I have been given the task of determining if we can co-exist with humans. If so, then Earth will be assimilated into our Galactic Group and we will have the quantity of planets needed to be called a Planetary Colony. Afterward, we will be recognized by the Nebular Oligarchy and the most advanced technological and medicinal secrets will be shared. Help me convince the Group that Earth is worthy and interplanetary secrets will be yours.

Who I am

Hello, I’m Chris Gentile. I’m a geologist and a current graduate student working on my Master’s in Geology at the University of California, Riverside. I received my Bachelor’s in Geology from UCR where I focused on paleontology. I worked in two different paleontology labs, completed a paleoecology senior thesis, and created and taught my own college-level course on dinosaurs. I am now a geomorphologist and I study large, devastating landslides called rock avalanches in the San Gabriel Mountains. During any free time I have, I enjoy being with my family, hiking, skateboarding, or catching up on some shows and movies.