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.

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.

The University of Iowa has given me numerous opportunities to apply studies internationally.  Studying Chinese business and culture in Beijing and Shanghai peaked my interest in international business and entrepreneurship. I currently study Malayalam in Kerala, India, with the goal of working with social entrepreneurship organizations in the state including Kanthari, Kudumbashree, and COSTFORD.

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.

JesseIntern: Jesse Weiss
Major: Nursing

Hello! My name is Jesse Weiss and I am currently a Junior 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. As a freshman, 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!

Image-1.jpgIntern: Margit Herrmann
Majors: Economics, Health & Human Physiology 

Hello! My name is Margit Herrmann and I’m a junior from Ames, Iowa. I am majoring in Economics and Health & Human Physiology with a minor in French as well as an International Business Certificate. I am a Co President for Circle K International and I am a member of 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 countries 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. I have been 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. One of my favorite experiences abroad was during the summer of 2017 when I studied abroad at The University of Cambridge. I plan to study abroad again, in France, to (hopefully) become fluent in French.

I am planning on getting a Master’s in Health Administration or a similar degree in Global Health, and in the very long-term future I hope to work for The World Bank or The World Health 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.


Intern: Jeffrey Clark 
Majors: English, History 

Hello! My name is Jeffrey Clark, and I’m currently a senior pursuing a double major in English and History. I am also hoping to pick up a Korean minor as soon as I can (안녕하세요!). I also interned with the ICFRC as a sophomore in 2017, but as a junior I had to leave for a year of study abroad at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea.

Other than a year in Korea, I have traveled to Taiwan, Japan, China, Mexico, and a couple other countries as well, though for now I’m looking toward Asia, and especially Korea, for any future travel plans. While I’ve studied French and even Latin in middle school and high school, I’ve gained a passion for East Asian languages most of all, and so if I can get halfway decent at Korean I would also like to learn Japanese and Mandarin.

I am extremely interested in working abroad – I’m in the middle of the Fulbright application process now, but I would also like to work in the Peace Corps or in the Foreign Service at some point. If you have any advice about anything related to that, just tap me on the shoulder or something – I would be happy to talk with you about it!

But besides that, I also like meeting students from other countries, listening to music (recently K-pop), singing in choir, (which I did at my University Church in South Korea and would like to try out here if at all possible), reading and writing, and of course, talking with Ed and the ICFRC/Civic interns. It’s a good group this semester and I’m excited for what will happen with everyone.


Intern: Angel Trachta
 International Relations, International Studies

Hello! My name is Angel Trachta and I will be a 2020 graduate at the University of Iowa. Currently, I am a double major in International Studies and International Relations with tracks in East Asian Studies and Transnational Issues. I also have a minor in Korean Studies. To further my studies, I traveled to South Korea at Ewha Womans University for one year to broaden my outlook on different cultural ideas, outlooks, and understandings. Not only have I traveled to South Korea, but also Japan and the Philippines (where my family lives). Through my experiences, I came to Iowa in hope that I can aspire others to join the action to gain a more open mindset to what’s going on in the world.

In my free time, you can see me sipping on bubble tea or cooking with my friends. I enjoy learning languages such as Tagalog from my mother, or Korean and Japanese from my friends. I am interested in volunteering and have been doing so since high school. Various volunteering activities range from tutoring and mentoring children of immigrant parents at an elementary school to English tutoring with top South Korean university students for TOPIK interviews and conventional, everyday linguistic dialogue.

After graduation, I hope to continue my studies in East Asia and ultimately find work at a non-governmental organization helping others in need of my help. In the future, I ultimately aspire to aid in helping children whom have been victims of sex trafficking in East Asia; specifically in the Philippines and Thailand. However, I’m open to any adventure that I have the opportunity to undertake. I hope that my passion in international human rights can fundamentally help people across the world.


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Intern: Joshua Chen
Finance, Marketing

Hi, I’m Josh! I am a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in Finance and Marketing and am obtaining an International Business Certificate and Risk Management and Insurance Certificate. I am an Iowa City native and a second generation Taiwanese immigrant. I have always held a great curiosity for other cultures and have a severe travel addiction. Over the past couple years, I have had an internship in Milan and backpacked Eastern Europe. I enjoy learning about international issues and want to continue broadening my global perspective in Iowa City through my work at the ICFRC.

In addition to travelling, I enjoy making music, reading books, and watching movies. After graduation, I aim to combine my passion for other cultures with my business skill set to eventually work as an expatriate in London at a private equity firm. 


download.jpgIntern: Anaih Heredia-Campos
International Studies

Hi! My name is Anaih and I’m from Des Moines, Iowa.  I am a junior planning to graduating in 2020 majoring in International Studies with minors in Spanish and Translation for Global Literacy with a  certificate in Entrepreneurial Management. My interest in different cultures and global affairs started out young since I have always been around a multicultural community coming from the East side of Des Moines. I have traveled to Japan and Puerto Rico and plan on traveling to many more places. I love learning languages and so far I can speak fluent Spanish, mediocre Japanese and have dabbled in Italian and Korean. Arabic is next on the list. In my free time I try to spend as much time as I can outdoors hiking with friends and just exploring all that nature has to offer!

I am looking forward to learning more about international affairs through the ICFRC and the events that we host. I have been involved in OASIS a support group for international and domestic students that encourages building relationships on campus. I am also involved in UI Friends without Borders which hosts events with international and domestic students as well.  In the future I am looking towards working at an international non-profit or teaching English abroad. Catch me on campus at the IMU Welcome Center and say hi!