Program Staff

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


April Lu

Program Assistant
(515) 348-6643

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy traveling, spending time with family, friends, and my dog, Chewy.

Favorite produce Item:

Thai bananas. It’s similar to a plantain when green and becomes more fragrant, custardy, and sweeter when yellow. All-around, they’re very versatile and simply the best!

Julianna Dubin-Barz

Database Coordinator
(515) 227-7060

What do you like to do in your free time?

When I’m not at work, you’ll usually find me with my wife, my friends, and/or my dogs. I am a stained glass artist, I love to create beautiful things.

What is your favorite produce item and why?

Hard to choose, they’re all delicious in their own way. I’ll say apples – I have happy memories of apple picking with my family as a kid, I love eating apples alone or baked into sweets, and apples with honey every fall as a special Rosh Hashanah treat.

Des Moines, Iowa

María Belismelis

Program Specialist
(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
(515) 348-6644

Tanner Lemon

Career Coach
(515) 348-6653

Fort Dodge, Iowa

Matt Winkel

Regional Director
(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
(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
(515) 227-7058

Brittanie Van Reese

Career Coach
(515) 825-7290

Iowa City, Iowa

Emily Meister

Regional Director
(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.

Tyler Black

Program Specialist
(515) 499-6008

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy making music and playing video games!

What is your favorite produce item and why?

Tomatoes – they are so delicious and mingle well in a lot of dishes!

Amberai Sindlinger

Career Coach
(563) 920-6850

Lynne Lange

Career Coach
(319) 499-9163

Alejandra Aquino

Career Coach
(319) 499-9164 

Eastern Nebraska

Jennifer Lewis

Regional Director
(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
(531) 220-1720

Maria Schinstock

Career Coach
(402) 705-1969


Diana Bueno

Career Coach
(531) 220-6193

Tamara Ramirez

Program Specialist
(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
(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
(308) 765-1317

Christina Augustine-Huggans

Career Coach
(402) 705-1964

Mandy Puente

Career Coach
(402) 462-0356


Randall Collins

Regional Director
(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
(765) 438-0916

Melynda Stutsman

Career Coach
(812) 350-2152

Miriam Sonderborg

Career Coach
(812) 350-1618

Jesusa Rivera

Career Coach
(574) 413-8020

Laurie Ransom

Career Coach
(812) 379-3057

Maira Vásquez

Career Coach
(765) 438-4035

Johana Mejía

Program Specialist
(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.



Vilma Bramasco

Health Clinical Director
(515) 348-6642

What do you like to do in your free time: I enjoy spending time with my family. We love to go watch our son participate in sporting activities and have two dachshunds, that keep us entertained.

What is your favorite produce item and why: Edamame- It is great prepared spicy or steamed for a simple snack with lots of fiber and protein.

Melissa Copper

Agricultural Health Program Assistant
(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
(515) 271-5306 Ext.2109

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



Bilingual Health Team Lead, Des Moines, IA

Helen Retleff

Family Nurse Practitioner, Fort Dodge, IA
(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.

Jesús Ortíz-Díaz

Bilingual Health Team Lead, Fort Dodge, IA
(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.

Julie Gabrielson

Family Nurse Practitioner, Iowa City, IA
(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 Marroquín

Bilingual Health Team Lead, Iowa City, IA
(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
(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.

Briana Reha

Clinic Manager, Des Moines, Iowa

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time I like cooking new recipes, writing music, spending time outdoors, and hanging out with my kitties Kimchi and Frida Calico.

What is your favorite produce item and why?

I love herbs for the way they can transform any dish, but I especially love cilantro. I also enjoy foraging wild berries, mushrooms, and weeds to see what I can make from them.