Meet the Staff

Rachel Helvering, Executive Director

Rachel joined the Polk Home in August 2021 after 8 years at the Tennessee State Museum. Rachel is a graduate of MTSU and aside from James K. Polk’s era, she enjoys learning about the World War II era as her grandfather was a WWII veteran. She is looking forward to getting to know Columbia more through the exciting programs the Polk Home has planned.

Jaryn Abdallah, Education & Outreach Coordinator

Jaryn is a native of Western New York who has lived in Columbia since 2008. She is a graduate of Houghton University (2008) and MTSU (2014). Jaryn wears many hats here at the Polk Home. She manages social media channels and our incredible docent staff, schedules group tours and field trips, and plans educational events like our homeschool history days and Polk Academy summer camps. Jaryn lives in Columbia with her husband and three children, and aside from her work at the Polk Home she loves family stories, soccer, and cheesy movies. 

Kate Holt, Curator

Kate Holt is a Columbia native, graduating with her Associates in History from Columbia State Community College in 2018, her B.A. in History at Lipscomb University in 2020, and is currently a second year M.A. Public History student. Kate interned at the Polk Home multiple times under the previous curator, Candice Candeto. Kate was named second runner up in the 2004 Mule Day Queen pageant and has many fond memories of attending Polk Academy growing up.

© 2023 President James K. Polk Home and Museum

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