Anna Rebecca Lopez
Biracial (Latina/ Indigenous Maya)
Woodland Park Zoo
Year zoo career began:
Anna Rebecca Lopez (who also goes by AR) is an evaluator, community organizer, and relationship-builder with nearly ten years in the cultural and informal learning sector. She is currently the Evaluation Specialist with Woodland Park Zoo, supporting the Empathy Collaborative project.
Growing up in a small, rural town in Southern Idaho, AR did not have many experiences with zoos or informal learning spaces. However, as an avid learner with insatiable curiosity, she found much joy in reading and listening to the stories of her elders. Her interests and passions led her to pursue two undergraduate degrees at Boise State University, focusing on History and Communication. It was in this environment where she explored the relationship of storytelling and power (what stories are told about our humanity and who gets to tell these stories), and found her love of museums, zoos and aquariums, and botanical gardens as spaces where people can learn about themselves and the world. AR continued her education at the University of Washington and received her Master's degree in Museology with a specialization in Museum Evaluation where she explored storytelling, digital technology, and the role of informal learning spaces in facilitating experiences focused on representation and social justice.
AR draws inspiration and strength from her community relationships, specifically immigrant and refugee communities, communities of color, and the LGBTQ2S communities. Establishing relationships and working with communities is a constant theme in AR's personal and professional life. This can be seen in much of her career experience conducting evaluation with grassroots collaborations, small community-led organizations, and large museums, including Woodland Park Zoo. She is a founding member of Community-Centric Fundraising, an organizer with Duwamish Solidarity Group, and holds a leadership position with the Seattle Evaluation Association. She has a passion for helping organizations understand complex issues and inform decision-making with data and storytelling, with the intent to influence social and just change.