We are excited to welcome two new outstanding members to the IRIS board – Marina Reasoner and Vani Meher Bojja!
Reasoner first learned of IRIS in 2016 from Deb Vance, who was her supervisor at the time. Reasoner was very excited to join as a board member and learn more about the organization.
“IRIS is very important to the community and to me. It provides so many international students from around the world an opportunity to travel, connect with their peers, bring their unique perspectives and experiences to Iowa communities and enrich local culture” Reasoner explained.
One of her first duties as a member of the IRIS board was serving on the selection committee for the 2017 Global Grants and Scholarships Program. “Being an international person myself, I understand how important it is to receive international recognition to promote your project. For many of these organizations, getting a grant from IRIS is the only way to fund their projects. Taking into account that all of them are geared towards benefitting the community, it makes the roles of IRIS board members especially important.”
Reasoner currently lives in Ames with her husband and works as a Diversity and Retention Coordinator for the International Students and Scholars Office at Iowa State University. She visits her family in Moscow, Russia every year, as well as, other relatives scattered throughout the United States. In her free time, Reasoner enjoys staying active by running, swimming, doing yoga, or golfing in the summer. She also enjoys traveling, meeting new people and taking every opportunity to explore new things.
Vani Meher Bojja
After spending her childhood and attending some college in India, Meher Bojja moved to Ames, Iowa to attend Iowa State University.
In 2006, Vani began her work with IRIS through volunteering. “I learned about IRIS from a very dear friend of mine, Natalia Juan Miguez, who was working at IRIS at the time.” Meher Bojja explained, “I also worked with Kim Hope (IRIS Operations Manager) in the later years while serving on the Ames International Women’s Day Coalition.”
“IRIS is important to me since it helps and encourages people around the world regardless of their background” says Meher Bojja.
Meher Bojja was also a volunteer for the YWCA where she served as the co-board president. She organized and managed various events as part of “Engaging International Spouses”, such as the International Friendship Fair program. Additionally, she has served on the Women of Achievement Committee and the Ames International Women’s Day Coalition through the YWCA. Meher Bojja even started her own group that teaches women how to code, and hopes that the program will soon open to helping children as well.
Meher Bojja continues to live in the Ames area with her husband and two children while working as an IT analyst for Renewable Energy Group. In her free time, Meher Bojja enjoys spending time with her children and doing crafts. She also likes to write and draw if given the opportunity.
We are excited to have you both, Marina and Vani!