Contact Us


Sternberg Museum of Natural History
3000 Sternberg Drive
Hays, KS 67601

(785) 628-4286


Dr. Reese Barrick

Title: Museum Director

Areas Overseen: Museum

Phone: 785-628-5664


Additional Info:  Reese is from the small town of Osage, Iowa and grew up a fan of the Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau and Tyrannosaurus rex.   His interests led him to graduate research at the University of Southern California where he studied Miocene oceans and the thermal physiology of Tyrannosaurus rex.  He taught paleontology for 8 years at North Carolina State University before embarking on the journey of working in museums.  Reese enjoys the opportunities to bring the stories of the history of life on the planet to a greater audience that comes with running a natural history museum and the opportunities for research and working with students that arise from the museum being apart of Fort Hays State University.

Amy Klein

AKleinTitle: Administrative Specialist

Areas Overseen: Main Office

Phone: 785-628-5516


Additional Info: Amy holds a degree in Accounting from Fort Hays State University. She is responsible for the financial record-keeping of the museum, oversees the day-to-day operation of the business office, and coordinates the scheduling of facility rentals. She and her family reside in Hays.

 Darrah Steffen

Title: Public Relations Assistant

Areas Overseen: Public Relations and Social Media

Phone: 785-628-5298


Additional Info: Darrah is from Ottawa, Kansas. She grew up loving rocks and fossils. This led her to obtain a B.S. in Geology from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 2015. She completed her Master of Science with an emphasis in paleontology and museum studies in 2017. Her work consists of suture complexity analysis of ammonites from the Western Interior Seaway. Darrah has experience working as a publicist for the Paleontology Club at SDSM&T and the Hardrockin’ Drama Club. Darrah enjoys bringing opportunities to experience natural history to all audiences.


 Brad Penka

Title: Manager of Visitor Services

Areas Overseen: Excavations Gift Shop, Admissions Desk, Membership Program

Phone: 785-628-5512


Additional Info: Brad began working as a volunteer for Sternberg Museum in 1998 while attending FHSU and advanced to his current position in March 1999, two weeks before the museum opened. He holds a B.A. in Communications degree with emphasis in business and public relations. Brad has over 20 years experience in retail management, museum administration, and community development and serves on the boards of directors of several historical and economic development organizations. He has authored several historical publications and books on regional history and tourism and has recently published a new book on Post Rock Limestone. He currently resides in La Crosse.


 David Levering

Title: Camps Manager

Areas Overseen: Camps, Special Events, and Programs

Phone: 785-628-5249


Additional Info: David joined the Museum staff in August 2013 as the Museum Educator. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Geology in 2007, and for the last three years (2010 – 2013) he worked as a teaching assistant in the Zoology department at Oklahoma State University where he graduated with a Masters of Science. David worked for The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry outdoor science education camps for four summers. He also worked three summers with the National Park Service at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument in southern Idaho. There, he carried out paleontology field and lab work, and worked with kids showing them geology and paleontology. Here, he plans to work with youth as well as adults, and hopes to make science apparent in its usefulness in everyday life.

 Thea Haugen

Title: Naturalist

Areas Overseen: Discovery Room and animal care

Phone: 785-628-5517


Additional Info: Thea manages the Discovery Room and takes care of the living animals at the museum. She also assists and oversees many of the education activities and programs, tours of the museum and special events. Here favorite critter is anything with no legs or up to 8. For her giant millipedes are really sweet! In her spare time, Thea works with wildlife rehabilitation.

 Ian Trevethan

Title: Education Manager

Areas Overseen: Tours, Education, Outreach, Volunteer Program

Phone: 785-639-4738


Additional Info: Ian has earned a bachelors of science in earth sciences from Montana State University, and has earned a Master of Science in Geosciences from Fort Hays State University. His works consists of isotopic analysis of core body temperature in mosasaurs and has also participated in research projects regarding individual cranial variation in dinosaurs. He is committed to educating the general public in all facets of paleontological and geological sciences, particularly through museum outreach programs.

 Gregory Walters

Title: Exhibits Manager

Areas Overseen: Exhibit Galleries

Phone: 785-628-4289


Additional Info: Greg received his B.S. and M.S. in Geology from the University of Iowa. While in graduate school, he also went through the Museum Studies program and served as a curatorial assistant in the university’s herbarium. He moved to Hays in 1989 to take the position of Conservator/Preparator at Sternberg Memorial Museum, then located on FHSU’s main campus. Shortly after arriving, plans were initiated for a major expansion and consolidation of the university museums and Greg spent much of his first decade on staff working on the development of the museum’s present facility. He has served as Exhibits Director since 1998.

Dr. Laura E. Wilson

Wilson_DinoPhoto_reducedTitle: Chief Curator

Other Title(s): Curator of Paleontology, Curator of Geology

Areas Overseen: Collections Department

Phone: 785-639-6192


Additional Info: Laura joined the Museum staff in July 2012 as the Sternberg’s paleontologist. She received her M.S. from Montana State University (2006) and her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder (2012). Her research focuses on reconstructing ecosystems from the Late Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway, with a particular interest in using bone histology to study vertebrate paleobiology. As the Curator of Paleontology, Laura is committed to safeguarding fossil specimens and their associated data housed at the Sternberg Museum, as well as utilizing the Museum’s fossil collections for public education and outreach.

 Curtis Schmidt

Title: Zoology Collections Manager

Areas Overseen: Entomology, Herpetology, Ichthyology, Ornithology, and Invertebrate Zoology Collections

Phone: 785-650-2447


Additional Info: Curtis became the museum’s first official Zoological Collections Manager in July of 2011. A Hays native and FHSU grad, Curtis received his BS in biological sciences in 1999 and his MS in 2004. Curtis is no stranger to the museum, as he began as a curatorial assistant in Herpetology in 1998, eventually becoming associate curator of Herpetology and Mammalogy before being appointed Zoological Collections Manager. Because of his involvement in many research projects, Curtis’ contributions to the Herpetology and Mammalogy collections are numerous. As Zoological Collections Manager, his primary responsibilities are the Entomology, Herpetology, Ichthyology, Mammalogy, and Ornithology Collections. Curtis also plays an active part in educational programming and exhibits.


 Christina Byrd

Title: Paleontology Collections Manager

Areas Overseen: Paleontology Collections

Phone: 785-628-5531


Additional Info: Christina obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology from the College of William and Mary in Virginia. While working toward her Bachelor’s Degree, she studied preservation of whale vertebrae at a fourteen-million-year old site in eastern Virginia.
She then worked toward her Master’s Degree in Biology at Marshall University in West Virginia. During her time as a graduate student at Marshall, Christina studied developmental changes of plesiosaurs from the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway (the seaway that used to cover Hays, KS).
After completing her Master’s Degree, she worked as an intern on the Panama Project at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama City. Following her internship, Byrd worked as a paleontology technician at the Virginia Museum of Natural History photographing fossils for the Fossil Insect Collaborative Project.