IRIS has a new team member! We are pleased to welcome Gina Zoss as our new Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program Assistant, taking over Sara Schoneberg’s duties. As a program assistant, Zoss will be recruiting host families and coordinating the YES program exchange students during their time in Iowa.

Growing up in Tipton, Iowa, Zoss is a native Iowan. Presently, Zoss lives in the West Des Moines community. Previously, Zoss has worked as an intern for Youth For Understanding USA, another foreign exchange organization.

Her background in exchange organizations is what first attracted Zoss to IRIS. “When I saw the posting for IRIS, I immediately wanted to apply because I have experience in foreign exchange programs and because I simply wanted to be in the culture-rich environment again,” Zoss said, “I have always been really interested in other cultures.”

Zoss is excited to start learning more about different cultures and communities worldwide. “I think it is important to connect people worldwide, because I believe everyone should know something about different cultures. I personally think other cultures are fascinating and I think it is really important that people explore out of their comfort zone and learn about something new,” she said. Zoss is also on the path of pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Information Management Systems at Grand View University.

As we anticipate the 2013-2014 YES students’ arrival to Iowa, we are very happy to welcome Gina and are pleased she can join us on our mission to promote international understanding, development and peace by connecting Iowa to individuals and communities worldwide.

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