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Illinois State Museum Society Board of Directors 


Bryan Finn, Chairman

Bryan Finn recently retired from the Illinois Department of Human Services, Bureau of Policy Development, as the Manager of Research and Reporting. Previously, he worked in healthcare for 30 years in various administrative capacities.

As a resident of Springfield for over 37 years, he has served on various community and professional boards, striving to enhance the services these organizations offer. Finn earned a B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh and an MBA from the University of Illinois – Springfield.

Lynn Fisher, Secretary

Lynn Fisher is a faculty member in the Sociology/Anthropology Department at the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) and an Adjunct Research Associate in Anthropology at the Illinois State Museum.

She grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, earned a B.A. in Anthropology from Oberlin College in Ohio, and earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Michigan. Fisher's archaeological research is based in southern Germany, where she spends time each year studying stone technology and land use among prehistoric farming societies. She teaches courses in archaeology and biological anthropology at UIS and has connected UIS students with the Illinois State Museum through student research projects, internships, and field trips. Fisher has served as chair of the UIS Campus Senate and a member of the University Senates Conference, and in various elected positions with University Professionals of Illinois / Illinois Federation of Teachers.

Matt Berry, Vice Chairman

Matt Berry currently serves as Chief of Staff for the Illinois Community College Board where he is responsible for policy development, legislative affairs, public relations, human resources, fiscal management.  

He has over fifteen years of experience in higher education finance and policy having previously held positions at the Illinois Board of Higher Education and Office of the Illinois Senate President.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Illinois College and has a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Berry is active in fundraising for community organizations. He was a member of the Westminster Cooperative Preschool Board where he spear-headed their fundraising efforts and has served on the Phoenix Center’s Fundraising Committee. Matt and his husband and son live in New Berlin.

Clayton Hamrick, Treasurer

Clayton Hamrick is an Audit Manager at Kerber, Eck & Braeckel LLP's Springfield, Illinois office. He joined the firm in 2013. Hamrick earned his Master of Professional Accountancy from Illinois State University. He and his wife Ashley and their miniature schnauzer reside in Springfield, Illinois.


Erica Austin

Erica Austin is a native of Springfield, Illinois. She works at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine as the Regional Community Liaison and Project Manager for the COVID-19 Centers.

Formally, Austin was an AmeriCorps Program manager through Springfield Urban League and a 4-H Educator through the University of Illinois Extension. Recently, she decided to take a leap of faith and JUMP to do what God has been telling her to do for years. Her leap of faith is starting her youth program. In October 2019, she started her youth program entitled “The L.Y.N.C. (Leading Youth, Networking Communities).”

Ashley Nippert-Yoggerst

Ashley Nippert-Yoggerst is a native of Geneva, Illinois, who attended Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, where she majored in Forestry and Natural Resource Management.

With over 20 years of experience in outdoor education, Nippert-Yoggerst co-founded an all-women-led outdoor and experiential-education nonprofit in 2016 to support families in rural and underserved communities surrounding Mount St. Helens in Washington. She is a former Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Guide and Americorps Vista Alumni, having served the National Society for American Indian Elderly. In addition, Nippert-Yoggerst has worked for a decade in grant and nonprofit management for education and environmental conservation.

She lives in Springfield, Illinois, with her husband and two children and serves on the City of Springfield's Historic Sites Commission.

Jacob Thornton

The biography will be available shortly.

Michael Wiant

Michael Wiant was hired by the Illinois State Museum Society in 1982 and, in 1983, joined the staff of the Illinois State Museum. He retired from the museum in 2017 as Director of the Illinois State Museum—Dickson Mounds (2003—2017), caretaker of the Illinois State Museum (October 2015—December 2017), and Executive Secretary of the Illinois State Museum Society (November 2015—July 2017).

He earned a B.A. in Social Sciences Comprehensive and an M.S. in Sociology-Anthropology from Illinois State University and received an M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from Northwestern University. His archaeological research concerns Native American history in the Illinois River valley, especially Early Archaic and Middle Woodland period life.

Committed to building a constituency for the Illinois State Museum, Wiant presented hundreds of public presentations on Native American history, provided educational content for dozens of Illinois State Museum Society Field Trips, and contributed to developing museum exhibits.

Lauren Yoggerst

Lauren Yoggerst is a native of Springfield, Illinois, and currently serves as the Psychiatric Response Team Lead Clinician at Memorial Behavioral Health. With over 15 years of experience in the central Illinois mental health field, she has previously worked as a child and family therapist for a foster care agency and at an alternative school. Yoggerst holds a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Illinois University and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Southeast Missouri State University.

In her free time, Yoggerst enjoys volunteering as a hospice worker at Memorial Health System, crocheting, and reading. She currently resides in Springfield.

Amber Lozzi

Amber Lozzi is a Digital Marketing Strategist from Chicago who has called Springfield home for over 13 years. She has been running her business since 2015, creating entrepreneurial systems for content planning and automated marketing strategies.

While her entrepreneurial ventures certainly keep her busy, she also works as a substitute teacher for District 186, serves as the Vice President for the Butler Elementary PTO, and dedicates countless hours to volunteering at the New Salem State Historic Site.

Lozzi holds a B.A. in English from Illinois College. She served in AmeriCorps for two years, after which she worked as the Membership Coordinator for WSEC-TV (PBS) before moving on to work in Student Services at Lincoln Land Community College for five years before launching her own business.

Cathy Popovitch

Cathy Popovitch is a native of Bloomington, Illinois, and has lived in Springfield for the past 11 years. She is the Illinois State Archives’s Deputy Director and the Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board’s Deputy Coordinator.

She holds a B.A. in History from Millikin University and a M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Popovitch is an active Council of State Archivists member and currently serves as Vice President/President-Elect for that organization. A sixth-generation resident of Illinois, Cathy has served on the Advisory Board and the Board of Directors of the Illinois State Historical Society since 2017. Cathy lives in Springfield with her husband, Jonathan, and two children, Joseph and Jacob.

Candice D. Trees

Candice D. Trees has been a lifelong resident of Springfield, Illinois, dedicated to improving her community through volunteering. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois Springfield and a Master's in Organizational Behavior from Benedictine University. She has gained experience working at the local, state, and federal levels, but her most significant roles have been as a wife, mother, and grandmother. 

Trees has volunteered for many years and has been actively serving various organizations. She is a member of the Executive Council of AARP Illinois and is actively involved with the Phoenix Center and the Dana Thomas House Foundation. She is also an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Springfield-Decatur Area Alumnae Chapter, where she serves as Chair of the International Awareness and Involvement Committee and is the Primary Advisor for the undergraduate chapter on the University of Illinois Springfield campus. Additionally, she is a member of St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church in Springfield.