During the next few weeks, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will be welcoming three new employees, augmenting the four new members who joined the division family in recent months. Following are profiles of these talented individuals who are helping the division in its efforts to save Delaware history.
Scheduled to begin work on May 4, 2015, Conservation Technician Manager Betsy Gant’s responsibilities will include management of the division’s Horticulture Team and supervision of contracted projects, as well as hands-on horticultural and arboricultural work. Prior to joining the agency, the Dover, Del. resident owned and operated Gardening Matters, her own landscaping company. She has worked as an estate caretaker at Reward Farm in Chestertown, Md., and as an agricultural-science research technician for the United States National Arboretum. She holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental health from Salisbury University and a certificate of graduation from Longwood Gardens’ Professional Gardener Training Program.
Slated to join the division’s Collections, Affiliates, Research and Exhibits (CARE) Team on May 18, 2015, exhibit-arts specialist Carlos Maldonado’s responsibilities will include graphic- and Web-design, as well as tasks associated with the design, fabrication and installation of exhibits at the state’s six museums and at associated sites. A graduate of Falkner High School in Mississippi, Maldonado holds a graphic-design certificate from the American Screen Printing Association. In addition to ongoing work as a freelance artist, he most recently held the position of art-room manager/graphic designer at First State Signs in Dover, Del., and before that was employed as an art director and graphic designer in his home state of Mississippi.
Beginning on June 1, 2015, Paul M. Nasca, RPA will join the division staff as curator of archaeology with responsibility for the curation, management, exhibit and conservation of the state of Delaware’s archaeological collections. Originally from Lewsiton, N.Y. and apprenticed as a cement mason, Nasca holds degrees in anthropology from the College of William and Mary (master’s) and the State University of New York at Buffalo (bachelor’s). His experience includes work as an archaeologist/collections manager for the City of Alexandria, Va.; as a staff archaeologist for the George Washington Foundation in Fredericksburg, Va.; as an archaeological conservator for the College of William and Mary; and as a field technician for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and the Old Fort Niagara Association.
A division employee since Feb. 22, 2015, Chris Conley serves as a physical-plant maintenance-mechanic helper with the Preservation-Maintenance Team which maintains, repairs and preserves the nearly 90 structures administered by the agency. A graduate of Lake Forest High School in Felton, Del., Conley has worked for a variety of Delaware organizations including service as a member of the installation team for Artisan’s Marble and Granite in Newark, as a machine operator for the HandyTube Corporation in Camden and as a construction worker. In 2013, he served as a volunteer with the American Legion Ambulance Station 64 in Smyrna.
On March 22, 2015, Amanda Goebel and Gene Modzelewski joined the staff of the Zwaanendael Museum where they serve as historic-site interpreters, the division’s front-line connection with the public. Through tours and special programming, historic-site interpreters add a human face to Delaware history by providing in-depth information about the state’s historic places, and by bringing the people and events of the past to life.
Amanda Goebel returns to the division after a stint in New York City in 2013 and 2014 where she served in database management for the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, and as an audio-tour guide at Liberty and Ellis islands. Goebel previously worked as a historic-site interpreter at the division’s downtown Dover museums in 2012 and 2013. A seamstress and historical-period-clothing aficionado, she holds a bachelor’s degree in fashion history and material culture from the University of Delaware, and is currently taking graduate courses in museum studies from the Harvard Extension School.
Prior to joining the division staff, retired educator Gene Modzelewski served as a volunteer at the Zwaanendael Museum; and continues to serve as a member of the division’s Community Engagement Committee that is drafting a marketing plan for the agency, and as an instructor for the YMCA of Delaware’s Diabetes Prevention Program. His career in education includes service as an adjunct professor at the University of Delaware and Wilmington University, and as a school vice-principal and teacher. Modzelewski has also worked in sales and marketing for a variety of companies. He holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce and marketing from Rider University, a master’s degree in elementary education from Wilmington University and has completed coursework for a doctorate in education, also from Wilmington University.
A Buena Vista Conference Center employee from 1994 until 2010, Mary Shaffer is temporarily returning to assist with the transition resulting from the departure of Morgan Booker, one of the site’s administrators. Shaffer will be involved in the full range of responsibilities at Buena Vista including managing reservations, assisting with events and welcoming visitors. Concurrent with her work at the site, Shaffer will continue to pursue one of her passions—helping dementia patients reconnect with their memories and live more fulfilled lives.