After graduating from California State University, Sacramento in 1993 with a double major in History and Ethnic Studies, Kelly started an internship with the California State Archives working on the state museum project. She left the State Archives for a year to work on a grant project cataloging the Japanese American Archival Collection at California State University, Sacramento. In 1998, she was one of the first employees at the newly opened Golden State Museum (later known as The California Museum). At the museum, Kelly implemented the membership program and developed a volunteer program.
During her fifteen years at the museum, Kelly worked in every department of the small staffed museum including the events department as a way to create additional income for the non-profit and as a way to reach out to new audiences. Her favorite project, and most proud accomplishment, is developing the Time of Remembrance (TOR) educational program. Based on Mary Tsukamoto’s 20 year program in the Elk Grove School District, the TOR program brings Japanese American community members together with museum school tours to learn about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II through oral histories of internment survivors. She has received two community awards for this program.
Last year, Kelly left the Museum to catch up on life. She returned back to work this year working with CIBHS as a consultant on the CalMHSA PEI Sustainability Project. After six months working on the project, she is excited to join the CIBHS team working on other projects in the workforce development team. When Kelly is not exploring some new crafting hobby, she enjoys spoiling her exceptional nieces and then giving them back to their parents. She lives in Curtis Park with her two fur babies: an 8-year old regal seal point ragdoll and a 1-year old playful calico.