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About Us
Education is an integral part of the Kids Discovery Station’s mission!
Non-Profit Incorporated

Kids Discovery Station is a nonprofit organization creating opportunities for children of Merced to learn through the power of play. The generous support of our donors and volunteers  allows us to enrich the lives of children and families in our community. 

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Our Board of Directors
Mayya Tokman, President

Tokman came to Merced in 2005 as a founding faculty of the University of California, Merced. After arriving to US as a refugee from the former Soviet Union, she graduated from UCLA, got her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from CalTeach, and held a postdoctoral appointment at UC Berkeley. In addition to conducting research in scientific computing, Tokman has aways been passionate about education and since then has joined UC Merced as a faculty director of the CalTeach program, which prepares science and math teachers for K-12 schools. Tokman and her husband, Angelo, raise their son in Merced and are dedicated to contributing to the Merced community and ensuring that Merced children have opportunities to play, learn and discover.  

Eric Gieling, Treasurer

Since 2004, Gieling has been a resident of Merced after he graduated from California State University, Fullerton. In 2005, he married his wife, Michelle, who is a teacher in the Atwater Elementary School District. They have one daughter and two sons together. Gieling has been actively involved in the local community in different roles throughout the years. Most recently, as the Upward Basketball coach and a soccer coach in the McSwain Soccer League. He has worked at Ameriprise for 15 years, and counting, and is a fully licensed Financial Advisor while working towards his Master’s degree. Gieling is currently the Treasurer of the YoungLife Missions Team, as well as the Treasurer for Kids Discovery Station. Gieling and his wife lead a Bible Study through Yosemite Church.

Annissa Fragoso, Director

Fragoso was born and raised in Tracy, CA and has resided in Merced for over 23 years. She is a Farmers Agency Owner located at 527 W Main Street, Merced, CA. She began her career with Farmers Insurance in 2012 and has been an insurance professional for over 16 years. Fragoso has been a Merced County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Board of Director for approximately 6 years, and is currently serving as the President. She has an Associate of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Merced Community College. Fragoso has been actively involved in the community of Merced by fundraising for the MCHCC Scholarship Foundation and volunteering her time to various community organizations. Fragoso was honored as the Volunteer of the Year District 5 by the City of Merced.

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Sarah Frey, Director
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Dr. Sarah Frey is the Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education at the University of California Merced where she oversees units devoted to student success, including undergraduate research, academic tutoring, first-year advising, summer session, and general education. Dr. Frey is also a Teaching Professor in Applied Mathematics.

Dr. Frey moved to Merced from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she served as the Assistant Provost for Educational Innovation and was involved in shaping campus strategy and providing campus-wide support for innovations in classroom and online education. Dr. Frey previously served as Executive Director of the Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science at the University of Texas at Austin. As part of that role, she oversaw the Freshmen Research Initiative (FRI) - a program in which over a thousand first-year students each year participate in an authentic, multi-semester research experience as an extended part of faculty research groups.

Dr. Frey spent 10 years of her career at the University of California, Irvine, where she served as a member of the mathematics faculty and as the Associate Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning. While at UCI, she led a couple NSF interdisciplinary undergraduate research grants in computational applied mathematics and mathematical biology. She won the Mathematical Association of America's 2011 Alder Prize for excellence in teaching and multiple campus teaching awards. Dr. Frey earned her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Arizona in 2004, studying problems in non-linear elasticity related to planetary tides.

Rick Marchini, Director

Marchini is a Merced native, having grown up on a family farm and attending Merced City schools. Marchini received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Davis, and a J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law. He later went on to obtain his LL.M in tax law, also from the Golden Gate University School of Law, graduating with honors and receiving the Outstanding Student Award. He is a partner with the law firm of Robbins, Browning, Godwin & Marchini and has been with the firm since 2009. Marchini provides practical counseling and litigation services for clients in estate planning, trust and probate, taxation, real estate, and business law matters. Marchini has served his community and his profession in various capacities. He is a member of the Merced Booster Club and Italo American Lodge. He is also a member and past president of the Merced County Bar Association, Merced County Law Library, and Merced Rotary Club. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, golfing, playing guitar, and cooking.

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Lauren Marks-Royer, Director
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Marks-Royer is a realtor with Keller Williams Westland Realty. Lauren is an active member of the community participating in numerous community organizations, committees, and clubs. As a mother raising her children in the community she is passionate about raising the quality of life for families in the area.

Eduardo T. Villarama, MD, Director

Dr. Villarama is a local Physician, and currently one of the Regional Medical Directors of Golden Valley Health Centers, Incorporated. He completed his Residency in Community and Family Medicine at Penn State University and Good Samaritan Hospital in Pennsylvania. He has been in practice locally and abroad for more than 20 years now; seeing patients from all walks and stages of life in clinic and hospital settings. Dr. Villarama joined the Kids Discovery Station Museum Founding Board because he wanted to offer his expertise and extra time in making this vision a successful reality. He believes that providing safe and healthy environments for our children to stay active, curious, and motivated while they explore, learn and grow are paramount to future success. 

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Our Staff
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Karrie Moua, Operations Manager

Karrie Moua was born and raised in Merced County and joined the Kids Discovery Station team as the Office Administrative Assistant. Moua graduated in 2019 from the California State University of Fullerton with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. Moua has worked with a number of nonprofit organizations in Southern California, including children’s museums and cultural entertainment events. She is currently the Operations Manager at Kids Discovery Station.

Requests for Proposals

Our World Exhibit

Release date: 9/21/2022