Kristin O'Lear

Executive Director

Originally from Michigan, Kristin relocated to the Imperial Valley Desert from North Carolina in 2019.  Kristin's background is in the Civil War era. Her research focused on German American immigrants in the antebellum South and their role in Southern society during that period. She received her Master’s degree in History from East Carolina University in 2020. 

She believes strongly in facilitating history outside of academia and increasing the accessibility of history to the public. In her role as the Executive Director, Kristin will be innovating new and exciting exhibits about the history and cultures of the Valley, as well as working behind-the-scenes to preserve its history.

On her days off, you might find Kristin going for a run around town or hiking and exploring our Yuha Desert. You can contact her at

Ryan Pagett

Curatorial Research Fellow

With a bachelor’s in art education and a master’s in art history and visual culture, Ryan has come from Madison, GA to work as a Curator for Imperial Valley Desert Museum, focusing on bringing world-class exhibits and archiving museum objects and materials to the Valley. Before working with IVDM, Ryan worked with the Steffen Thomas Museum of Art (STMA) as a Curatorial Assistant.

While working at STMA, Ryan has had the opportunity to work within the museum’s archives, which hold over 700 works in its permanent collection, as well as 6000+ works through the Steffen Thomas Family Collection. He has also had several opportunities to co-curate several exhibitions at STMA such as, Master Prints: Steffen Thomas and Chloe Alexander, Mentor and Protege: Steffen Thomas & Jack Stewart, and Hinterglasmalerei: Reverse Paintings of Steffen Thomas. Ryan was also given an opportunity to personally curate an exhibition alongside the museum’s recently premiered documentary film Steffen Thomas: Rock & Chisel. Digital catalogs, designed by Ryan for these exhibitions, can be found on the STMA website.

Working as a liaison between IVDM and indigenous communities in San Diego and Imperial Counties, Ryan will engage contemporary indigenous artists to develop new exhibits and displays for communities to see here in the valley.

Luis Landeros

Education Coordinator & Museum Manager

A tiger at heart, Luis graduated from Imperial High School, in Imperial CA, in 2017. He is attending Imperial Valley College, where he is studying to be a mechanical engineer.  Luis has worked with the Imperial Valley Desert Museum since 2017 and is now serving as its Education Coordinator and Museum Manager.  From field trips, to public events, to special projects, Luis has experienced all aspects of IVDM and is dedicated in sharing his passion and energy with all students and guests to IVDM.

Luis is passionate about his work and has made it his mission to help local youth learn about the rich culture all around them. You can contact Luis at

Angelina Lutz

Education Specialist & Social Media Content Manager

Born in San Diego and raised in the Imperial Valley, Angelina has called Ocotillo home since she was seven years old. She graduated from Grossmont College with an AA in Social & Behavioral Sciences in 2014. Angelina has taken multiple roles since her start at the Museum and has overseen many education projects and programs.

Currently, she works remotely and assists in developing new education curriculum and lessons for off-site education programming. She also manages the social media content across all the Museum’s social media platforms and assists in the writing and publication of the Museum’s bi-weekly press article. You can contact Angelina at

Jacob Rodriguez

Education Specialist

A proud, lifelong valley-dweller, Jacob enjoys sharing its stories and fascinating past with students and visitors alike. Jacob graduated from Central Union High School in 2018, received his Associates in Political Science from Imperial Valley College, and is now working on his Bachelors in Criminal Justice from San Diego State University. Jacob is dedicated to making history accessible and interesting to everyone the Museum engages with. You can contact Jacob at

Camila Hernandez

Education Specialist

Growing up in the valley, Camila is consistently fascinated about the origins and the nature surrounding our desert. Its creatures big and small have always caught her eye. She graduated from Southwest High School in 2021, and continued her journey at Imperial Valley College where she is studying to be an entomologist. Camila is eager in fulfilling the museum’s mission and goals to explore more ways in showcasing our valley’s history and culture. You can contact Camila at

David Arevalo

Education Specialist

Since Graduating from Southwest High School and attending Imperial Valley College ultimately working his way to UCLA and always maintaining a deep passion for history throughout his academic career. Which ultimately pushed him to pursue graduate study in history specializing in the medieval field. David's dream is to ultimately obtain a Ph.D. in medieval studies and become a professor. 

Although coming from a medieval history background. David always saw the importance in history education, leading him to IVDM. David is looking forward to working with the staff in creating fun and engaging activities to share the Imperial Valley's history with the community.