National Steinbeck Center Staff


Michele Speich: Executive Director

Michele Speich is the National Steinbeck Center’s Executive Director. Speich has nearly a decade of experience in fundraising, public relations, and marketing for nonprofits and foundations, through fund development and marketing positions. She has worked for organizations including The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Tracy Hospital Foundation and most recently, the Present Future Citizens Foundation.Speich holds a BA in Liberal Studies from California State University, Fullerton

Lisa Josephs: Archivist

Lisa Josephs is the National Steinbeck Center’s Archivist—and helps with programs and grants. She is responsible for organizing and cataloging the National Steinbeck Center-owned archival materials and managing the archival collection as a whole, which includes both NSC and City of Salinas holdings. She also helps researchers utilize the collection to enhance their research projects with primary-source Steinbeck materials. Lisa is a transplant to Salinas from the East Coast, where she was studying Anthropology, South Asia, and socio-economic class. Moving out of the world of academia, she started at the NSC as a volunteer and quickly became involved in various NSC projects, which led to her hiring as Archivist. Lisa earned her Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and her Master’s degree in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Tara Spada: Exhibits & Events Coordinator 

Tara has an M.A. in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University (2017) and a B.A. in Anthropology from Washington College in Maryland. For the past six years, Tara has worked in the museum/non-profit field. She is a passionate lifelong learner and she believes museums can change hearts and minds through their unique ability to be transformative. Tara enjoys learning new things, meeting new people, and facilitating programs that allow diverse groups to come together to share, learn, and think. Her work at the National Steinbeck Center focuses on educational programing and events.

Natalia Luna: Curator of Exhibits & Education Programs

Natalia Luna is the Curator of Exhibits & Education Programs. Her passion for exhibition development and museum education have motivated her to take on this new role at the NSC. She has enjoyed working in museums and academic organizations for the past 10+ years such as the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, the Virginia Air and Space Center, the University of Maryland University College. Natalia holds an M.A. in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in Anthropology from Vassar College in New York. She fell in love with museums on her first visit to the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and has made it her personal goal to create memorable experiences for visitors of all ages and backgrounds. Originally from Peru, she has lived in four different continents and enjoys learning new languages.

Cat Harper: Guest Service Manager

Cat Harper, our new Guest Services Manager, comes directly from having held a similar position at the Monterey Museum of Art.  In addition to her experience at MMA, Cat also has over a dozen years experience as a professional planner and designer of special events. Cat is also a professional photographer and artist.

Ariana Mora: Assistant Guest Services Manager

Being a part-time employee at the National Steinbeck Center has given Ariana an incredible insight into downtown Salinas and the number of tourists that visit the area every day. Aside from being a part-time employee, Ariana is also a part-time student pursuing a bachelor’s in Environmental Studies with an Urban Planning/Studies minor. She hopes to help Salinas grow after she completes her bachelor’s degree. When she is not working or studying, Ariana enjoys hanging out with friends and family, and simply exploring the wonders nature has to offer, especially going camping.

Jason Agapaoa: Guest Service Representative & Exhibit Guide

Laura Harris: Grant Writer

Julie Minnis: Writing Programs Coordinator

Other Current NSC Associates

Sandra Silva – Valley of the World Event Manager

NSC Volunteers

Ruth Andresen
Myrna Breeze
Frances Cherry
Deborah (Deb) Evans
Esther Fernandez
Alan (Al) French
Rosalie Gray
Linda Hancock
Roseann Kalich
Karen Steadman
Lynne Lauritson
Joann McKay
Lynn Pearlman
Veronica Polovneff
Delores Richardson
Barbara Romine
Karla Wolf