Founder & Executive Director

Bob Anderson

Founder & President Emeritus

Bob Anderson is the founder of IRIS, Inc. and a former Iowa Lieutenant Governor, legislator, and high school journalism teacher. He was a founding board member and first executive director of the Iowa Peace Institute. He has managed numerous U.S. State Department and United States Information Agency programs in countries around the world. For more than 25 years, he directed nonprofit organizations devoted to international understanding. Bob is the President Emeritus of the IRIS Board of Directors.

Del Christensen

Executive Director

Del Christensen is the Executive Director of IRIS, Inc. He has been involved with IRIS programs since 2002, serving as Executive Director since 2006. During that time, he has coordinated group programs from Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Georgia, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, Serbia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine. He has led groups to Armenia, Georgia, Nigeria and Tanzania. He was involved in the establishment of the IRIS component of the Youth Exchange and Study program. He has traveled to Africa more than 40 times to develop and coordinate other Africa-based programs for IRIS and other organizations. He served as the lead IRIS staff person working with Iowa State University and the University of Juba to develop a peace education curriculum program in Southern Sudan.

Prior to his Executive Director role with IRIS, Del worked as an independent consultant for environmental and humanitarian nonprofit organizations. He was involved in the development, review, and/or pilot testing of more than 10 different educational curricula. In addition, he has helped to develop and implement Rotary International-sponsored programs in Nigeria and Del also serves on the Iowa-Yamanashi Sister State Committee.

Board of Directors

Susan Anderson

Boone, Iowa

Susan is the current chair person. Anderson is the office manager and an optician at Boone Vision Center. Anderson traveled with IRIS and IRIS board member Mike Coverdale to Nigeria in 2004, and also hosted a YES student through IRIS that same year. Anderson's term on the IRIS Board is from 2015-2019.

Dr. Donna L. Newbrough

Ames, Iowa

Dr. Donna L. Newbrough is the Vice Chairperson of the IRIS Board of Directors. She is a Professor Emerita at Iowa State University. Donna facilitated educational and humanitarian partnerships worldwide with universities and community groups in Sudan, Kenya, and Tanzania. Her term on the IRIS board is from 2016-2020.

Willard Jenkins

Waterloo, Iowa

Willard Jenkins is the current Treasurer/Secretary of the IRIS Board of Directors. He was an engineer for John Deere for 35 years. He worked in product engineering, product planning, and international standards. Jenkins' term on the IRIS Board of Directors is from 2016-2020.

Mike Coverdale

Nevada, Iowa

Mike Coverdale is the former President of Block Party Studios, Inc., located in Nevada, Iowa, which produces quilting products sold through retail stores in 23 countries. Coverdale's term on the IRIS Board is from 2013-2017.

Chris Fultz

Des Moines, Iowa

Chris is a real estate agent and development partner, and has worked with Iowa Realty for 4 years. His team is active in Des Moines’ industrial but transforming Market District. Chris previously worked in brand/product management and business plan writing. He has been active in planning of the Human Rights Symposium and with an organization that assists the homeless in Polk County. Chris lives in Des Moines and joined the IRIS board in 2016.

Marina Reasoner

Ames, Iowa

Marina is originally from Moscow, Russia. She came to Iowa in 2008 to teach Intermediate Russian at the Department of World Languages and Cultures at Iowa State. Currently, she works as Diversity and Retention Coordinator at the International Students and Scholars Office at ISU.

Deb Berry

Waterloo, Iowa

Deb Berry was born and raised in Waterloo, Iowa. She received a B.S. in public administration from Upper Iowa University and M.A. in mass communications from the University of Northern Iowa. Deb served seven terms in the Iowa State House of Representatives, retiring in 2016. In 2007, Deb joined a group of female legislators to Nigeria as part of IRIS' Women in Leadership program. Deb was recently named President of Afro American Community Broadcasting, Inc. KBBG-FM.

Vani Bojja

Ames, Iowa

Vani Bojja is from India and came to Ames, IA in 2006. She worked as a teacher in India and now works as an Analyst in Information Technology at Renewable Energy Group.

She received three Master degrees, MA (English) and MCA(Computers) in India and MS(Computers) at Iowa State University in Ames. Vani was involved with YWCA of Ames-ISU until recently and also served as a Co-president twice while serving on the Board of Directors. She also volunteered for IRIS in the past, and will serve until 2021 on the IRIS Board of Directors.

Our Awesome Staff

Kimberly Hope


Kimberly Hope is the Operations Manager of IRIS. A graduate of Iowa State University, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Hope lived and taught abroad in South Korea for three years. She is on the boards of Ames' International Women's Day and Family Planning Council of Iowa.

Christelle Enega


Christelle Enega is the YES Recruitment/Alumni Program Coordinator, originally from Cameroon, Africa. Enega graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor's degree in Political Science. She is on the board for the Volunteer Center of Story County.

John Jordan


John Jordan is the Youth Program Manager for IRIS. He is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. John has been involved in international student exchange for nearly 20 years.

Regional & Local Coordinators

Sue Hunt


Sue Hunt is a Youth Programs Local Coordinator in Western Iowa. Sue is a retired elementary teacher who, along with her husband, served twice as a YES host family. In her free time, Sue enjoys spending time with her three granddaughters, traveling, and reading.

Ashley Heffern


Ashley Heffern is a Regional Program Assistant in Northern Iowa. Ashley attended Iowa State University for her undergraduate degree and University of Northern Iowa for her Master's. She has worked with IRIS on youth programming since 2008, lived abroad in South Korea for two years, and is currently a therapist in Mason City, Iowa.

Emerald Johnson


Emerald Johnson is a local coordinator in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. Her responsibilities include supporting students and host families while on-program. Emerald has a BA in Spanish from Truman State University and currently works as a realtor in Davenport, Iowa. Emerald has hosted many international guests since 2012, including four YES students through IRIS.

Kelsey Hartnett


Kelsey Hartnett is a Youth Programs Local Coordinator in Northwest Iowa. Hartnett attended Iowa State University and earned a degree in International Studies and Journalism and Mass Communication. Hartnett now works as the Communications Manager for Buena Vista University.

Bonnie Anderson


Bonnie Anderson is a Youth Programs Local Coordinator in Southeastern Iowa. Bonnie and her husband have hosted exchange students with IRIS multiple times.

Alexis Vosburg


Alexis Vosburg is a Youth Programs Local Coordinator in Northeast Iowa. Vosburg has a degree in Elementary Education and earned her Masters Degree in teaching with an emphasis in special education in 2013. Vosburg now works as an Instructional Collaborator for Hampton-Dumont Community School District. Vosburg and her family have hosted two YES students through IRIS, which has ignited her passion for the international community.

International Coordinators

Dr. Saidu Yakubu


Dr. Saidu Yakubu is the IRIS Program Country Director in Nigeria. He has served as Country Director of IRIS programs in Nigeria since 2002.

Grace Foya

Tanzania - Mainland

Grace Foya is the IRIS Country Director in Tanzania. She is a lifetime educator who has served as the Country Director for IRIS programs in Tanzania since 2006.

Mohamed Dau

Tanzania - Zanzibar

Mohamed Dau is a YES Program Coordinator in Zanzibar. He has been working with IRIS since 2007.

Our Interns & Volunteers

Isabel Cournoyer


Isabel is the Public Relations intern for IRIS. She is a junior at Iowa State University, studying journalism and mass communication, with minors in design studies and sustainability. Isabel is from Redwood Falls, Minnesota. She enjoys learning about the diverse cultures in her community, and hopes to teach others through her work with IRIS.

Riley Hayes


Riley is the Events Intern at IRIS. She is a senior at Iowa State University studying Event Management. Riley grew up in the Des Moines, IA area and has always loved traveling abroad throughout her youth. She is excited to help IRIS maintain their mission of connecting Iowa to communities worldwide through the events she will execute.