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Staff Members

Viola Luo, Ph.D.
Executive Associate

Garret Leopold

Program Coordinator,

Boonville Heritage Park 

Trinity Knabe
Administrative Associate

Dr. Deborah Cowman

Dr. Deborah Cowman has an academic background in environmental science, ecological conservation and natural history, climate change policy, and scientific research experience with USGS and Texas A&M University.  She also has experience in team building and management from Texas A&M University and expertise from the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Rare Book and Special Collections Department at Stanford University, and as well as a degree in music performance and history. 

A member of several honorary societies and author of numerous publications, Dr. Cowman also has leadership training from the National Science Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution. Her background in formal science coupled with her multi-disciplinary experience in informal arts & science education makes her an ideal person to help the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History forge new partnerships with Texas A&M University and the Brazos Valley Arts Community.  

She and her husband live on 34 acres of Post Oak Savannah that they have restored for wildlife by working with Texas Parks and Wildlife, USDA, various University faculty, and local county agents. As part of this effort, they maintain a tall grass prairie and have also opened their home as a place of study for University natural history classes.

Dr. Cowman’s personal interests include music, origami, Native American art and history, photography, and graphic design


Maria Lazo

Maria Lazo is the Associate Director and Education Coordinator. She has a B.A. in Anthropology from Texas A&M University and is certified in Texas Wild and Aquatic Wild (Texas Parks and Wildlife programs).  Maria is exceptionally skilled at curriculum design and has designed and implemented educational programs for 20 years at the Museum.  She has conducted teacher workshops, scout training, astronomy classes, implements and manages the Museum’s outstanding summer nature camp & mini camp programs, and is skilled in presentations and the management of staff.


Nicole Dupré Mack

In her role as Curator, Nicole Dupré Mack manages collections and designs exhibits at the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History. Nicole has a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a M.A. from the University of Kansas. Her studies primarily focused on collections management of fine art, historical, and anthropological collections. In addition to working with multiple county historical societies in Kansas, she has also worked as a registrar for Exhibits USA where she had the opportunity to travel across the country to assist museums with the installation, deinstallation, and condition reporting of exhibits. 

Nicole Dupre Mack

Board of Trustees

Executive Committee


Bowen Loftin


Parten Wakefield
Past President


Becky Russell

Ellen Thornton

Henry Mayo


Tracy Corrier
Kara Holmgreen
Sabrina Rhodes
Rebecca Russell

Ellen Thornton
Jorge Vanegas
Daisy White
Beth Coyle Mueller

Advisory Trustees

Beverly Brown

Tim Bryan
Ed Fry

Sue Lee
Ruben Olague

Mervin Peters

Doug Pederson

Juliana Rangel-Posada
Ron Schmidt

Carolyn Schroeder

Lifetime Trustee

Keith Arnold

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