12 Ed 002Executive Director: Ed Zastrow

   I am Ed, the ICFRC Executive Director. Previously, I was Executive Director, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Iowa for sixteen years.  Prior to RMHC, I was the owner/operator of Bushnell’s Turtle Restaurant and Catering for eighteen years and also restored the College Block Building in Iowa City.  
 Following graduation from the University of Iowa,  I worked for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as an epidemiolgist and administrator in Chicago and Springfield, IL for six years.  My volunteer work includes service as President for twelve local, regional and state social service, library, hospital and foundation boards.  I have enjoyed travel to Japan, Mexico, Colombia, the Caribbean, Denmark and Sweden.


RachelIntern: Rachel Maggi
Major: International Studies
     Hello! My name is Rachel and I’m a fifth year from Kohler, Wisconsin. I am currently pursuing a major in International Studies with a double focus in South Asian Studies and East Asian Studies, a certificate in Sustainability, and a minor in Global Health. I have studied French, Chinese, and Hindi at UI. I have been with ICFRC since February 2015.
     My international experiences include a 3-week study abroad program in Udaipur, Rajasthan in northwest India in December 2014-January 2015, and a 4-week internship with The Swami Vivekananda Youth Mouth and Grassroots Research and Advocacy Movement in Mysore, Karnataka in southwest India in June 2015. I have also had brief visits in France, Mexico, the Bahamas, and Canada. I also had the privilege of attending Unite For Sight’s Global Health and Innovation Conference at Yale University in March of 2015 and April of 2017. In addition, I spoke at the Heartland Global Health Conference at Drake University in Des Moines in October 2015 about my internship with SVYM/GRAAM as a part of a pilot program for the new Development in a Global Context internship within the University of Iowa’s Global Health Studies Certificate Program. I would love to visit China or South East Asia in the near future.
     I have been accepted to the Peace Corps as a Health Extension Volunteer in Cambodia and also recently found out that I have been recommended as a Fulbright semi-finalist to do research on breast and cervical cancer awareness and prevention in Karnataka, India. I am crossing my fingers that one of these opportunities will work out! I would also like to pursue a Masters in Public Health and a PhD in the future.
Fidel Intern: Fidel Estrada
Major: Geography
Hello, I’m Fidel Estrada. I was born and raised in Sioux City, IA. Currently, I am a fourth year student at the University of Iowa, and I will graduate in the Spring of 2018. I am majoring in Geography and minoring in German. My focus is Geographic Information Science. My interest in global affairs stems from my interest in different cultures and my desire to make a positive impact in the world. I like to meet people from diverse backgrounds and understand their perspectives and customs.I have had the opportunity to travel to Mexico while visiting my family there. I am fluent in Spanish, and also currently learning German. I spent the summer of 2016 interning at Grüne Liga, an environmental NGO in Berlin. In the winter of 2016 I went to India with a group of UI Faculty and students on a Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad Grant to study the environmental and health/social impacts of wood burning cook stoves in rural India. After I graduate and in the future I’d like to use Geographic Information Systems to work with stakeholders in the public/private sphere to improve environment and social conditions.

Daniel 3Intern: Daniel Valentin
Major: International Studies

My name is Daniel. I’m an International Studies Major, Arabic minor, and I’m pursuing a Writing certificate. This is my fourth year at the University of Iowa.

I’d say my main focus is on Islamic and Middle Eastern studies. At the same time, I enjoy analyzing the ins and outs of country development across different lenses and periods. Thus, I find myself reading up on such things as economics, science, politics, culture, religion, and health globally. If interdisciplinary majors didn’t exist, I would probably lose my mind.

I grew up in Wheaton, Illinois, like Bob Woodward and John Belushi. I’ll never be half the men they were, but I’ve come to terms with that.

During my career as an undergraduate, I have studied abroad in Morocco and India. I speak Spanish and Arabic, and I like learning new languages. It’s fun.

I’m currently looking at going back abroad after I graduate, either to teach or to pursue some other kind of work. My experience assisting ESL classes has fueled my desire to teach English in a foreign country. I figure this might be a great way to begin what I hope to be a long, fulfilling international career.

When I’m not assisting the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council, I’m working upstairs as a student clerk in the Iowa City Health Care’s Patient Finance Services office. It’s how I pay the bills, but my heart truly lies in ICFRC.

In my time at Iowa, I’ve served as the president of Secular Students at Iowa, the chief justice of the University of Iowa Student Government, the assistant director of the Human Rights Student Collective and as the secretary of the Association of Latinos Moving Ahead.

Much of my free time is spent writing personal nonfiction essays, as well as fiction narratives. When I’m not writing, I enjoy time with the other ICFRC interns. We just like hanging out for some reason.

I earned my Eagle Scout rank on December 9th, 2013 and continue to help and contribute to the scouting community.

Ten years from now, I’m hoping I will have moved ahead with my first screenplay, several more nonfiction essays, an experience (or several) immersing myself in a new culture overseas, and that I continue learning more about myself.


Intern: Ashley Chong
Major: International Studies
Hello all, my name is Ashley Chong and I’m presently a senior in International Studies with an Anthropology Minor and a Writing Certificate. My focus in International Studies is Post-Colonial/Diasporic Studies and East Asian Studies; I made my own Asian-American track.
I grew up around the world due to my dad’s job in the Global Mining sector of Caterpillar. After being born in Peoria, IL (which is also the CAT headquarters), my family went to Singapore, where two years later my brother was born. Then we lived in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Singapore for nine years before landing back in Peoria. We lived in Peoria until my sophomore year, when we moved to Montreal, Canada. In other words, when people ask where I’m from, it gets complicated.
Post-grad, I hope to move to the East Coast and work for a cultural or arts (or both!) organization while networking among the creative community there. Long term, I want to be in a position where I can work on my writing and my music while also curating and collaborating with other creative people within the vicinity and around the world.
Beyond my studies, I keep myself busy by translating for the Translate Iowa Project, arranging and composing for The Dashi Project, writing music and poetry, and finding new music on Spotify.

laura-pic2Intern: Laura Schwager (middle)
Major: Interdepartmental Studies

Hi, I’m Laura, an Iowa City native. I am a senior at the University of Iowa pursuing a degree through the Interdepartmental Studies Program with focuses in Environmental Sustainability, Social Entrepreneurship, and International Business. Receiving  approval for a self-created curriculum in Design Anthropology has allowed me to combine an interest in studying the human condition with a passion for helping others through creative design strategies. I hope to apply my degree to a broad range of global issues, including those which I am most passionate about and currently involved in; animal welfare, environmental justice, educational reform, and mental health. I am currently interested in studying structural and social designs which optimize user health and life satisfaction while addressing systemic environmental injustice.

I consider my international experiences to be some of the most influential of my life. Studying Chinese business and culture in Beijing and Shanghai through the University of Iowa ignited my passion for international business and entrepreneurship. I presently study Malayalam in Kerala, India, with the goal of working with social entrepreneurship organizations in the state including Kanthari, Kudumbashree, and COSTFORD.
I am currently designing entrepreneurial development curriculum for venture schools in Central America and Africa, with the goal of providing young leaders with resources and training needed to create and grow sustainable opportunities for their communities.

In my free time you can find me in nature, cafés, or deep thought; on road trips, horses, or film sets. I enjoy recreational activities, freelance bartending, writing music, and pretending that I know what I’m doing with my life (i.e. writing self-promoting personal summaries). I secretly want to be a professional explorer.


Intern: Riley Lewers
Majors: Economics, Political Science

Hi, my name is Riley, and I’m a sophomore from Iowa City, Iowa. I have always been interested in international politics, economics and world events, and how these seemingly distant forces affect people’s everyday lives. I plan on majoring in Economics and Political Science, and am exploring minors in Rhetoric and Statistics.

While in high school, I studied Spanish and spent several weeks in Spain improving my conversational skills and learning about Spanish culture. I hope to study abroad again during my time at the University of Iowa.

This fall I was involved with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as a campus fellow, and I am a member of UI Democrats.

In my limited free time, I love to read. I’m a dedicated reader of the New York Times Sunday Review and Op-Ed page, and The Atlantic.

Graduation is a long way off for me, so my plans are still rather vague. I know that I would like to continue my education by going to graduate school and/ or law school. I hope to someday work in civil rights or environmental law, and involve myself further in government and politics.

Other pic.JPGIntern: Kyle Chapman
Major: Political Science

Greetings, my name is Kyle Chapman and I am a native of Des Moines, Iowa. I am currently a senior at the University of Iowa. My academic efforts are towards a degree in Political Science w. emphasis in Politics of Foreign Countries and a minor in Philosophy. In high school, I studied French and continued my foreign language studies by taking a year of Russian at the university.

My whole life I’ve had a strong interest in international events. This started from my viewing of NBC’s Nightly News at a young age. While at community college, I had the privilege of encountering a diverse array of individuals of whom I had the pleasure of meeting. Because of this, I developed many friendships with international students and learned invaluable information about their cultures in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and South East Asia.

Although I’ve never been to a foreign country, it is a goal of mine to have a career in the international sphere. In the meantime, I’m searching for opportunities abroad that will allow me to develop my Russian or French language skills.

SamuelIntern: Samuel Hoover
Major: Linguistics

I’m Samuel Hoover, a senior studying linguistics seeking a master’s degree in teaching English as a second language. I have a great passion for language and especially the science of language. I always keep an ear out for how people talk. Teaching is also an important part of my life and I love to introduce my friends to new concepts especially in the realm of linguistics. I work as a tutor for TRIO/SSS and have a great interest in helping students from lower income families succeed as much as their peers.

In my spare time I like to write, make music, and generally create. On the other side of that, I also spend a lot of time searching out new and hard to find media. I listen to an unreasonable amount of music, sometimes as many as six or seven new albums in a week. I love to collect all kinds of media and introduce friends to things that I know they’ll love.

After graduating I hope to find a good university somewhere in the world to teach English in areas with less resources, something becoming more and more necessary to be a part of our increasingly global world. However, a great dream of mine is to spend a year in Antarctica to experience the beauty and power of such a desolate place.

Lucy 2Intern: Lucy Patterson
Major: French

Hello! My name is Lucy Patterson and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently a senior majoring in French, minoring in German, and working towards an International Business Certificate. I studied abroad in Lyon, France during the spring semester of 2017 and had to chance to travel all around Europe. 10/10 would recommend. My hope for after graduation is an English Teaching Assistantship in Germany, France, or Austria. Eventually I want to work for an international NGO such as the IRC.


MarcusIntern: Marcus Smith
Majors: Political Science, Ethics & Public Policy

Hello! My name is Marcus Smith, and I am a senior from Bolingbrook, Illinois pursuing degrees in Political Science and Ethics & Public Policy. I spent my Spring 2016 semester abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland studying welfare politics and research methods, and that experience sparked my interest in global affairs.

This past summer, I had the incredible opportunity to intern with World Learning in Washington, DC, which is an international exchange program sponsored by the US Department of State. I was an intern for the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program and Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program, and had the chance to interact with students from all corners of the globe. I thoroughly enjoyed learning how other people view the world, and I am excited to continue expanding my international perspective with ICFRC.

On campus, I am a Career Peer Advisor at the Pomerantz Career Center, and serve as the Vice President of Leadership for Alpha Phi Omega co-ed service fraternity. In my free time, I can be found re-watching Criminal Minds or Law and Order: SVU, trying to find a full time job, or debating whether or not to go to the gym.

JesseIntern: Jesse Weiss
Major: Nursing

Hello! My name is Jesse Weiss and I am currently a sophomore here at the University of Iowa. I am a direct admit to the nursing program and an honors program student. My home town is Glen Rock, New Jersey, a small suburb of New York City. I have always had a great curiosity for other cultures and their histories, which is the main reason why I decided to intern with ICFRC.

In my first year at Iowa, I was involved in many different activities. I participated in Dance Marathon, and this year I am a member of the Operations Committee for the organization. Last year, I started as a Research Assistant in the Santillan OB/GYN lab. I am a Nancy Creason Young Scientist, which is an award given to nursing students to provide funding to conduct and present research. My research focuses on creating electronic consents for clinical research studies, and I am currently working on getting my research published. For my spring break last year I had the privilege to travel to Dallas as a student in the Alternative Spring Break class. My trip centered around improving public health in the Dallas area. I also work as a Night Manager at the Ronald McDonald House, an organization that is very close to me and my family.

Upon graduation, I plan to enroll in a graduate program to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. I’m excited about my future here at the University of Iowa, and as an ICFRC intern.


Intern: Mark Schoen
Majors: Economics, Art

Hello, I am Mark Schoen. I grew up in Iowa for a little bit before moving to Singapore for high school. My passion for international connections, cultures, and travel all stem from the large chunk of my life spent abroad. Coming back to the University of Iowa, I thought all of those things would be in limited supply. I was instead met with a vivacious group of students and community members who believe internationalism is a necessity. Many of these people are in close orbit to ICFRC and that is why I chose to become a part of ICFRC.

At Prairie Lights you have just as likely a chance of finding me reading the Economist as a book on Caravaggio. Economics and Art are two of my biggest loves and why I am working towards a degree in both. Start placing your bets on the roulette wheel of what job I will end up having because I am also throwing down my chips.

Reading novels, running, cooking, drawing, and conversing with strangers are things I love to do in wee minuets of free time I find for myself. If you see me around town I would love to chat. Maybe you can tell me about some exotic trip you went on or where to get the best burger in Iowa City. I’m always here to listen.

TannerIntern: Tanner Hawkinson  
Biology, Pre-Med

Hello! My name is Tanner Hawkinson, and I’m a freshman studying Biology with hopes of going to Medical School after getting my undergraduate degree. I was born and raised in Council Bluffs, Iowa and studied Spanish in high school. After high school, I enlisted in the Iowa National Guard and became a combat medic. It was during Basic Training that I realized my appreciation for all the different cultures in the United States alone.

During my first year at the University of Iowa, I have already immersed myself in the cultures of the school by joining several clubs that interest me. I am a part of Medicus, UI EMS, UI Biology Club, Dance Marathon, and UI Honors Program. I am looking to begin biology research in a professor’s lab and start volunteering at the University of Iowa Hospitals during the Spring semester.

My most memorable cultural experience was during Army Basic Training. I lived and worked with new recruits from all around the country for 10 weeks. We lived, ate, and struggled through it together. We were required to use teamwork to solve problems under stressful conditions. The most interesting thing I took away from my experience was the way I interacted and learned from people of different backgrounds.

In my increasingly limited free time, I love going hiking in the woods, running, and playing ultimate frisbee at Hubbard Park.

Becoming an intern for ICFRC has already opened my eyes to many new opportunities. I’m excited to see where this internship takes me!

MargitIntern: Margit Herrmann
Major: Economics 

Hello! My name is Margit Herrmann and I’m a sophomore from Ames, Iowa. I am majoring in Economics with minors in Business Administration and French as well as an International Business Certificate. I am the Fundraising Chair for Circle K International and the VP of Operations for the Multicultural Business Student Association. I am also a French tutor and I enjoy volunteering at various organizations in the Iowa City community.

I love learning about cultures, religions, and languages from all over the world, and attending ICFRC programs is a great way to continue doing this. I also enjoy learning languages; I speak Spanish and I am also learning French. My family has traveled to Italy, Greece, France, Germany, Mexico, and some others. I am also from Ecuador, so my family and I travel there for Christmas every year. The summer of 2017 I studied abroad at The University of Cambridge, which was an amazing experience, and I plan to study abroad again, in France, to (hopefully) become fluent in French.

My interest in international politics and languages and led to my interest in economics, and in the future I hope to work for The World Bank or an international organization.

JJIntern: JJ Meyer
Majors: Creative Writing, English

Hi, my name is JJ. I will be a 2019 graduate in Creative Writing and English w/ a certificate in Entrepreneurial Management. I enjoy learning about new cultures through eating new foods and meeting new people. I’ve traveled to Puerto Rico, Canada, Spain, Britain, Ireland, Taiwan and Japan. I am also a member of OASIS, an international student support group and ISORA, an international student outdoor activities club. Activities I enjoy include hiking, cooking, singing, scuba diving, meeting new people, exploring unknown places, thinking and helping others.

If you’re reading this and think of anything that can create a more internationally informed and accepting community in Iowa City please email me at I don’t know how much time I can commit to individual requests but I’m most definitely here if you need someone to bounce an idea off of. Every idea is worth sharing and considering because we are a long way off from being global citizens. I personally wish I knew more than I did about other cultures and am a part of ICFRC to pursue that lack of understanding.

AlexandraIntern: Alexandra Hernandez-Pardo
Majors: International Relations, French

Hi my name is Alexandra and I’m a junior at the University of Iowa pursuing a double major in International Relations and French, with a focus in Arabic. I was born in the Bay Area of California, where I spent most of my childhood. My interest in international cultures and affairs began in my youth, as a result of growing up in a multicultural household speaking English and Spanish, as well as living in cities such as San Francisco, Paris, and Granada. Two years ago, I studied abroad in Morocco for six weeks where I began learning the Arabic language and most recently, I spent the semester in Lyon taking language and culture courses in French. Because of these experiences, I aspire to pursue a career in international affairs, working with others around the globe to solve problems and improve lives.

On campus, I have already begun this work through my involvement in student organizations with humanitarian and global focuses. As a member of The ImmUNITY Campaign, I am part of a group of students who advocate against vaccine preventable diseases through awareness and fundraising. Last Spring, I also founded Hawkeye Water to Thrive, a student organization that raises money to build wells in Sub-Saharan Africa, while also building awareness about the world water crisis.

In the future I would like to continue my studies by going to graduate school or law school with the hope of working abroad in development. When I’m not studying or participating in extracurricular activities I like to be outdoors, travel and spend time with family and friends!

carson website pic.pngIntern: Carson Teixeira
Majors: Political Science, International Relations

Hello, my name is Carson. I am a first year student studying Political Science, International Relations, as well as a Pre-Law track. I was born in Miami, Florida to and have lived in Marion, Iowa, for the past five years before moving to Iowa City for school. I have passion for international issues and various cultures, especially the foods within those cultures! Within my own family especially I have the opportunity to experience cultural differences with most of my family living either in the Midwest, Florida, or Brazil. Around campus you can be sure to find me at various locations whether I am working at The Iowa Hawk Shop or being the international affairs geek I am reading the latest copy of The New York Times or The Economist at any available spot to sit. I joined ICFRC because I am passionate about international affairs and this is a great platform to expand not only my knowledge, but get the opportunity to work with like minded individuals, as well as help share this knowledge with as many other people as we possibly can. For me graduation is a few years to come, but I know for certain I want to be involved in international affairs of some sort, whether this be international law, the State Department, Peace Corps, or any of the other vast career opportunities that may arise.

download.jpgIntern: Andrew Bohn
Majors: Journalism, International Relations

Hello, my name is Andrew Bohn and I am a sophomore from West Des Moines, Iowa. I am studying journalism and international relations here at the University of Iowa while also trying my hand at a number of creative projects. When I’m not working on school, I enjoy helping some of my friends make music, while gawking over fashion and design with others. Although I have since changed, I started college as a cinema major and screenwriting has since become a favorite hobby rather than an assignment. Growing up in the middle of Iowa, I have always had the desire to get out and explore the other things the world has to offer. Other cultures, food, music and traditions from around the globe have always peaked my interest. I want to study abroad during my time here at Iowa, preferably in Europe so I can catch a Bayern Munich soccer match. I want to keep as many options open for myself after graduation, whether it be more school or taking on a career in one of my respective fields. I couldn’t give you a concrete answer, but at the moment I’d like to be a foreign corespondent for an news organization such as Vice. The 24-hour news cycle doesn’t seem to be in my wheelhouse. I would also enjoy working in defense intelligence, whether for a private firm or the U.S. military. Whatever I find myself doing, I want to have fun and have something fresh to do everyday. During my time interning at ICFRC, I want to build connections with other students, expert speakers and other members of the international community.

ICFRC picture (1).jpgIntern: Lauren Williams
Majors: International Relations, Russian

 Hello! My name is Lauren, and I’m a freshman studying International Relations and Russian at the University of Iowa. My desire to join the ICFRC stems from the two wonderful years I spent working at the Brost Immigration Law Office in my hometown of Cedar Falls, Iowa. There, while helping immigrants and refugees from all over the world, I realized just how critical it was that we spread awareness of global experiences and issues in the United States.

I think that a large part of promoting this cultural understanding happens through the stories we tell, both orally and in print, which is why in addition to volunteering to help speakers share their stories at the ICFRC, I am working towards a Writing Certificate of my own. In my free time, I enjoy creative writing, particularly exploring issues of cross-cultural interaction in the fantasy genre.

Post graduation, I am considering both work within State Department and work within the field of immigration law. Wherever I go, I hope to maintain my commitment to broadening cultural conversations and increasing empathy within and across national borders.

IMG_7459.jpgIntern: Megan Phillips
Major: International Relations

Hello! My name is Megan, and I am an International Relations major in the Conflict and Foreign Policy track. I have completed a minor in French, and I also study Russian and Spanish. I have always been fascinated by foreign languages, and that led naturally to an interest in intercultural relations and global affairs. I was fortunate to be able to combine my love for world travel with my passion for international politics when I interned last spring in the Political/Economic Section at the U.S. Embassy in Riga, Latvia. Before that, I spent a semester studying language and culture in Lyon, France. Now I’m back in Iowa City and excited to incorporate everything I’ve learned about global affairs into my work for ICFRC.

My past and present activities on campus at Iowa have also centered around global affairs and development. I founded a student organization called Hawkeye Water to Thrive, which raises funds and awareness to combat the global water crisis. Additionally, I practiced international communication as a Secretary for Hawkeye Model United Nations, and I engaged area high schoolers with the Sustainable Development Goals as an intern at Iowa United Nations Association. I also spend time each summer volunteering at IC Compassion, where I tutor English for immigrants and refugees. When I’m not doing all of that, you can find me downtown, sipping a cortado and reading Foreign Affairs at Prairie Lights.

After graduation, I look forward to seeking out valuable experience by working at an international organization that addresses global issues, such as fighting corruption with Transparency International or advocating for humanitarian policy changes with Human Rights Watch. I then plan to pursue a graduate degree in International Affairs or Law before joining the U.S. Foreign Service as a political officer.