Program Staff

See the program staff for the National Farmworker Jobs Program and the Agricultural Health Program.

NATIONAL FARMWORKER JOBS PROGRAM

April Lu

Program Assistant
AprilL@proteusinc.net
(515) 348-6643

What you do in your spare time: I enjoy trying out new places to eat around town, playing games on my Nintendo Switch, and going to the gym.

Favorite Produce Item: I enjoy anything coconut flavored or has coconut itself because it reminds me of the foods that I’ve eaten while growing up. One of my favorite dishes is called “Nam khao” which is crispy red curry rice mixed with fresh herbs, fried chili peppers and has a refreshing sour taste from the squeezed lime juice, but my favorite ingredient in this dish happens to be the freshly grated coconut that gets fried. Once everything is mixed together, the coconut gives the dish a slightly sweet taste which I believe really brings the dish come together.

Des Moines, Iowa


Maria Belismelis

Program Specialist
MariaB@proteusinc.net
(515) 351-2407

Hero/Heroes: My grandma used to spoil me all the time.

Favorite Produce Item: Lime! I pretty much use it for everything in my life.

Raquel Kentner

Career Coach
RaquelK@proteusinc.net
(515) 348-6644

Tanner Lemon

Career Coach
TannerL@proteusinc.net
(515) 3348-6653

Fort Dodge, Iowa


Matt Winkel

Regional Director
MattW@proteusinc.net
(515) 227-7056

Favorite Proteus Memory: I’ve enjoyed each participant that I’ve been able to help pursue a new and successful career. I enjoy seeing updates from them on the great changes they have made.

Favorite Produce Item: The vegetables used in a pot roast (carrots, potatoes, onions) always remind me of weekends at my Grandparents’ house.

Catalina Perry

Program Specialist
CatalinaP@proteusinc.net
(515) 336-2008

Favorite Proteus Memory: Connecting a young patient to a community resource that assisted her with cleft palate revision. The young patient’s mother was overjoyed knowing her daughter would finally get the help she needed to lift her out of her depression.

Favorite Produce Item: Cilantro, it’s versatile and adds pizazz to many dishes. I have fond memories of cooking with my mom rolling up taquitos filled with chicken, cilantro, and onions! Yum!

Melissa Rude

Career Coach
MelissaR@proteusinc.net
(515) 227-7058

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Brittanie Van Reese

Career Coach BrittanieVR@proteusinc.net
(515) 825-7290

Iowa City, Iowa


Emily Meister

Regional Director
EmilyM@proteusinc.net
(319) 499-9161

What you do in your spare timeReading, travel, cooking, and spending time with friends and family.

Favorite Produce Item: Tomatoes – there are infinite ways to prepare and eat them, they also make me think of my Grandma.

Sarah Kunch

Program Specialist
SarahK@proteusinc.net
(515) 499-6008

What you do in your spare time: bake, knit, hang with my cat, be outside.

Favorite Produce Item: Brussel Sprouts, they get a bad rap but are easily the most delicious vegetable.

Ryan Charkowski

Career Coach
RyanC@proteusinc.net
(319) 499-9164

Eastern Nebraska


Jennifer Lewis

Regional Director
JenniferL@proteusinc.net
(402) 805-4004

What you do in your spare time: bike, hike, and/or work out.

Favorite Produce Item: Watermelon is my favorite produce item. A neighbor grew watermelons and then would invite all of the neighborhood families over for a watermelon feed.

Kim Parnell

Career Coach
KimP@proteusinc.net
(531) 220-1720

Maria Schinstock

Career Coach
MSchinstock@proteusinc.net
(402) 705-1969

Diana Bueno

Career Coach
DianaB@proteusinc.net
(531) 220-6193

Tamara Ramirez

Program Specialist TamaraR@proteusinc.net
(531) 610-6396

What you do in your spare time: My favorite thing to do in my free time is spending time with my daughter and two Siberian huskies.

Favorite Produce Item: My favorite produce item is corn! because it is used in so many different dishes and even on its own as a Mexican street corn style, it is one of my favorite snacks!

Western Nebraska


Jody Stutzman

Regional Director
JodyS@proteusinc.net
(402) 462-0356

Favorite Proteus Memory: My favorite memory is when I was at a health and safety training. I had been working with this particular group of workers from Mexico for several years. One of the workers came up to me at the start of the presentation and told me he only spoke English. I panicked for a minute because the training was in Spanish and frantically started explaining this to him in English. The man and group of 100 workers started laughing and that was when I realized they were all playing a joke on me. I have appreciated all of the relationships with workers I have developed throughout the years.

Favorite Produce Item: My favorite produce item is the avocado because it’s the most universal produce item. It literally goes with everything from toast to tacos. Plus, when an item is full of fat but is considered a healthy item it has to have a special place on my table.

Krisa Kaufman

Career Coach
KrisaK@proteusinc.net
(308) 765-1317

Paulina Ortega Madrid

Career Coach
PaulinaOM@proteusinc.net
(402) 902-0682

Indiana


Randall Collins

Regional Director
RandallC@proteusinc.net
(765) 450-4270

Hero/Heroes: My Mother – She never gave up on anyone. She was bold, smart, and strong. No matter what she would say, “It was a good day.”

Favorite Produce Item: Tomato – My Father was a small vegetable farmer and My mother would work, when I was little, in the summers sorting tomatoes at a local cannery before she went to nursing school.

Dana Cowsert

Career Coach
DanaC@proteusinc.net
(765) 438-0916

Melynda Stutsman

Career Coach
MelyndaP@proteusinc.net
(812) 350-2152

Miriam Sonderborg

Career Coach
MiriamS@proteusinc.net
(812) 350-1618

Jesusa Rivera

Career Coach
JesusaR@proteusinc.net
(574) 413-8020

Laurie Ransom

Career Coach
LaurieR@proteusinc.net
(812) 379-3057

Maira Vazquez

Career Coach
MairaV@proteusinc.net
(765) 438-4035

Johana Mejia

Program Specialist
JohanaM@proteusinc.net
(765) 860-7701

What you do in your spare time: Self-care, travel, and entertainment

Favorite Produce Item: Mango and chips. to balance my nutrition.

AGRICULTURAL HEALTH PROGRAM

Caroline Johnson, FNP-BC

Clinical Director
CarolineJ@proteusinc.net
(515) 348-6642

Favorite Proteus Memory: Helping a patient carry her two sleeping children back to their room at the camp we were at. The child was completely out and unexpectedly heavy!

Favorite Produce Item: Tomatoes – they are versatile and delicious

Melissa Copper

Agricultural Health Program Assistant
MelissaM@proteusinc.net
(515) 348-6654

What you do in your spare timeSpend it with family and friends

Favorite Produce Item: Garlic, it makes just about any dish taste great.

Cristina DePriest

Registered Nurse, Des Moines, IA
CristinaD@proteusinc.net
(515) 271-5306 Ext.2109

What you do in your spare time: Spend time with my husband and baby

Luis Diaz-Valle

Bilingual Health Team Lead, Des Moines, IA
LuisD@proteusinc.net
(515) 348-6641

Hero/Heroes: My Parents. Hearing the struggles they had to go through as immigrants in this country, but still having a smile on their face and being the loving parents I know them as.

Favorite Produce Item: Avocado, if it’s used in Mexican food, I’m game.

Matt Winkel

Regional Director, Fort Dodge, IA
MattW@proteusinc.net
(515) 227-7056

Favorite Proteus Memory: I’ve enjoyed each participant that I’ve been able to help pursue a new and successful career. I enjoy seeing updates from them on the great changes they have made.

Favorite Produce Item: The vegetables used in a pot roast (carrots, potatoes, onions) always remind me of weekends at my Grandparents’ house.

Helen Retleff

Family Nurse Practitioner, Fort Dodge, IA
HelenR@proteusinc.net
(515) 573-8225

Favorite Proteus Memory: There are so many already! Having a patient bring a warm chocolate flan cake to us during the clinic.

Favorite Produce Item: I love all veg and fruit. A favorite is sweet red pepper- I love the flavor and will eat them like an apple.

Jesus Ortiz-Diaz

Bilingual Health Team Lead, Fort Dodge, IA
JesusOD@proteusinc.net
(515) 227-7057

What you do in your spare time Exercise, write, fish, box, and ride my motorcycles

Favorite Produce Item: Peanuts, because Peanut Butter! Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are what I survived on in college.

Emily Meister

Regional Director, Iowa City, IA
EmilyM@proteusinc.net
(319) 499-9161

What you do in your spare time Spending time with friends and family.

Favorite Produce Item: Tomatoes – there are infinite ways to prepare and eat them, they also make me think of my Grandma.

Julie Gabrielson

Family Nurse Practitioner, Iowa City, IA
JulieG@proteusinc.net
(319) 248-0178

Favorite Proteus Memory: My first clinic was sitting outside at a picnic table doing exams. It was a beautiful day and the fields around us looked so picturesque. It was my first interaction with our patients after they had been out working all day – yet they were all still so friendly, grateful, and pleasant to be around.

Favorite Produce Item: Peppers – so versatile. Love eating them raw and adding them to dishes.

Naomi Marroquin

Bilingual Health Team Lead, Iowa City, IA
NaomiM@proteusinc.net
(319) 499-9162

Favorite Proteus Memory: Going to Conesville with Dr. Claudia Corwin and experiencing and watching our first “round” of farmworkers being vaccinated in mid-March 2021.

Favorite Produce Item: Cucumber (with lime, salt, and sometimes Tapatio) – a snack my mom used to make us growing up and one of the produce items my dad would grow in his mini-garden

Gricelda Arroyo

Project Coordinator, Des Moines, IA
GriceldaA@proteusinc.net
(515) 348-6648

Hero/Heroes: First responders, healthcare professionals, and farmworkers are my heroes. I admire and respect their hard work. My parents are my heroes too. They have taught me the importance of having compassion and doing what you can to help those in need.

Favorite Produce Item: Ever since I can remember avocados have been enjoyed in my family. My grandparents and aunt have avocados trees in Mexico and it has become a tradition to pick off avocados whenever we’re over for the holidays.