Mānoa Heritage Center


MHC is led by a group of committed volunteers representing diverse sectors of our community.

Scott B. Power (President)

Mary M. Cooke (Vice-President)

Helen Nakano (Secretary)

David Lee (Treasurer)

Maenette Ah Nee Benham

Beryl B. Blaich

Mark Burak

Catherine L. Cooke

Julie Cooke

Ian Fitz-Patrick

Jack Gillmar

Patricia Halagao

Lynne Johnson

Susan Shaner

Sam A. Cooke (Founder Emeritus)

Carol M. Fox (Emeritus)


Jenny Engle

Director of Education

Jenny Engle brings almost 20 years of experience designing museum education programs that engage students and help teachers. She has a Masters of Education in Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Kenyon College, OH.

Emily Fay

Development Officer (Part-time)

Emily Fay has worked in advancement for 25+ years. Prior to joining MHC, she worked for the University of Hawaii Foundation, for many academic areas including Lyon Arboretum, the University of California Berkeley, and universities in the UK. She loves working for MHC because Sam and Mary’s goal of preserving this emerald oasis in Mānoa and sharing it, particularly with children, fits exactly with what she too believes. Emily believes that following in Mary’s prescient footsteps to save and nurture Hawaiʻi’s native plants and ensuring people know the cultural history of Hawaii’s flora, is crucial to everyone doing their part to preserve our fragile environment. “She has a Prius, I have a Prius. She saves plants, I save plants.”

Kelsey Hara

Digital Engagement/Web Content Associate (Part-time)

This part-time position focuses on building online audiences via MHC’s website, social media platforms and e-newsletters. A digital native trained with a degree in Library Information Science, Kelsey’s attention to detail has already paid off and online engagement has gone up noticeably since she started in late 2019. When she’s not exploring MHC’s garden of rare native plants, Kelsey can be found baking, crocheting, or gardening. 

Jenny Leung

Cultural Site Manager

Jenny Leung is a specialist in collections management and historic preservation. She lives in Mānoa Valley, in the shadow of Kauhi, the Sleeping Giant.

Kevin Prior


As MHC’s first full-time Caretaker, Kevin ensures that our buildings and physical assets are well-managed and maintained. Originally from Pennsylvania, Kevin grew up on a farm, is a certified machinist, and moved to Hawaiʻi in 2009. 

Jessica Welch

Executive Director

Jessica Welch grew up all over the world and has worked in museums for nearly two decades. She believes in the power of cultural sites to help humans connect, learn more about themselves, and their place in the world.

Keʻala Wong

Education Assistant and Cultural Steward

Lindsey Ke‘ala Wong is a graduate from Kamehameha Kapalama (2009) and University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (2014) where she received a BA in Hawaiian Studies/Hawaiian Language. She is passionate about education and appreciates the Cooke ‘ohana and what they stand for: cultural preservation through education.

The Native Hawaiian gardens are lovingly maintained by Anthony Ortiz, GREENSPACE HAWAII, Inc. and a corps of volunteers and service learning students.