CARSON CITY – Adventure has long been a part of Michelle Roberts’ life – from a two-year stint in the Peace Corps in southeast Africa to circumnavigating the globe during a “semester at sea” to study cultures in Southeast Asia to researching and eating insects.
But now she’s taking on an equally challenging adventure: Elementary schoolers.
Roberts is the new Curator of Education at the Nevada Historical Society in Reno and the challenge of making history fun and education for the school children who visit the museum is a key element in what drew her to the position.
“I love the energy of the kids,” Roberts said. “There’s a field trip aspect of visiting a museum where the kids are excited to be here in the first place. That was attractive to me.”
The Nevada Historical Society – the state’s oldest cultural institution – is part museum and part research library with a treasure trove of materials for Nevada history buffs young and old.
In her role as education curator, Roberts will also handle public programming – arranging lectures and other special events for the public. She will also serve as the top editor for the Nevada Historical Society Quarterly.
Michelle brings amazing experiences, idea, energy and enthusiasm to NHS and our community,” said Catherine Magee, director of the Nevada Historical Society. “We a thrilled she is part of the NHS team.”
Roberts is no stranger to the classroom, teaching at all levels. Her experiences range from teaching summer camps at the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito, Calif., to implementing a science curriculum in Crested Butte, Colo., to teaching anthropology at the University of Nevada, Reno, Sacramento State and Truckee Meadows Community College.
Raised in Reno, Roberts graduated from Wooster High School in 1992. She attended several colleges before earning her undergraduate degree at San Francisco State in 1998 – including a “Semester at Sea” via the University of Pittsburgh, in which shipboard students circumnavigated the globe.
Her next adventure was spending two years in the Peace Corps in Malawi, Africa, where she did agroforestry work with the district agriculture and forestry office and had her first experience with edible insects.
After the Peace Corps, she earned her master’s in geography at Ohio University, the final months of which took her to Laos in Southeast Asia.
She returned home to Nevada in 2004 and earned her doctorate in anthropology from UNR in 2011. Part of the research for her PhD sent her back to Laos for a year with her her husband and their daughter in tow.
Since 2006, she’s been teaching anthropology at the college level.
She said she is eager in her new role to promote the programs of the Nevada Historical Society to the public and to bring in a diversity of topics related to the history of Nevada.
I’m really excited to be here and looking forward to what’s ahead,” Roberts said.