Kate received her bachelor’s degree in social work and her master’s degree in family and consumer sciences from Iowa State University. She has 20+ years of experience in the Human Sciences field, including direct care, leading teams, coaching employees, and developing multifaceted training and outreach programs. Kate has been with ISU’s Child Welfare Research & Training Project since 2010; she manages the Child Support Recovery Unit (CSRU) contract. Under Kate’s leadership, the contract and staff have grown to provide training, research, and outreach services statewide. Kate is a life-long Cyclone fan and enjoys being a Mom to her two kids in college.
Ames (Elm Hall)
Rhonda received her bachelor’s degree in English from Iowa State University. She has 18+ years of experience teaching in academic co-ops and private education. In September 2018 Rhonda began working as the Program Assistant for Parenting: It’s a Life under Iowa State University’s Child Welfare Research and Training Project. After living in states across the Midwest, she and her husband are excited to return to their alma mater and rediscover all the university town has to offer. She loves music, reading, and traveling—especially to see her four kids who are scattered around the world.
Jay received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Northern State University (South Dakota) and an anthropology degree from Iowa State University. He is currently working toward completing his Masters Degree in public administration at Iowa State. He has 17 years of experience in the human services field, including extensive work with individuals with developmental disabilities and children with behavioral disorders. His most current position was with the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) program where he worked as an HCBS specialist. Prior to HCBS, he was a residential manager at Beloit of Lutheran Services in Iowa, a residential treatment center for children. In September of 2008, he began work as a Technical Writer/Trainer with the Iowa State University Child Welfare Research & Training Project.
Jo Ann Lee
Jo Ann holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and criminal justice from Graceland University, and holds a Master's in leadership and development from Drake University. She joined the CWRTP in April 2013 as a trainer, and became the outreach coordinator for Parenting It's A Life in March 2016. Jo Ann has worked in the child welfare arena since 2007. She served as a foster and adoptive licensing worker at Children’s Square USA/Iowa Kids Net, and as a behavioral health intervention specialist with Sequelcare of Iowa. She also worked for the Department of Corrections as a counselor and program coordinator, coordinating offender education planning to meet parole board recommendations.
Ginger received her Bachelors of Science in food science from Mary Crest College in Davenport, IA. She worked as a dietitian in Davenport from 1983 through 1988. Upon relocating to Ames, Ginger began working with individuals with mental/development disabilities. She now has over 20 years experience working in the Human Services field including acting as a supervisor for a mentally ill group home, supported community based services and assisting in opening a low stimulus ward for geriatric mentally ill individuals. Ginger started working as a Trainer/Technical Writer with the Iowa State University Child Welfare Research & Training Project in August of 2012. She provides graphic design materials for CSRU outreach programs.
Natalie Reich received her Bachelors of Science degree in human development and family studies from Iowa State University. Since this time, Natalie has worked in the Human Services field for 8 years. She has worked in adult probation as well as in juvenile probation as a school liaison, juvenile court tracker, and detention staff and as a transition officer. Natalie was the coordinator for the Story County Decategorization budget and helped develop and fund numerous programs for kids and their families in Story County. One of Natalie’s passions is yoga and she is a certified yoga instructor. Natalie recently joined ISU Child Welfare Research and Training Project and will be doing outreach for the paternity affidavit program. Natalie lives in Ames with her husband, 3 kids, and dog. Natalie is excited to return to her alma mater in her work with the Child Welfare Research and Training Project.
Martha received her undergraduate degree from Grinnell College (1980), and completed two Masters Degrees at Iowa State University, one in anthropology (1985) and one in economics (1990). She worked for several years as Field Director for the Center for Family Research at Iowa State University, doing questionnaire design and interviewer training. She next worked as a Database Administrator for the Office of Sponsored Programs at Iowa State University, doing database reporting and training database users. In 2003, she began work as a Technical Writer/Trainer with the Iowa State University Child Welfare Project, providing both written and in-person training resources for the Iowa Child Support Recovery Unit.
Des Moines (CSRU Central Office)
Paula is completing a Doctor of Philosophy in english from the University of South Dakota and earned an Master of Arts degree in international relations from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Iowa State University. She has taught literature and composition classes, including organizational communication and technical writing, for more than a decade. Prior to beginning her doctorate program, she worked as a professional writer and editor in a variety of industries. Paula joined the Child Welfare Research & Training Project as a Technical Writer/Trainer in May 2015. She resides in Waukee with her two cats, Molly and Maggie.
Jeni received her BA in Art and Design from Coe College and a Master’s degree in Teaching and Learning from Drake University. Prior to joining the CSRU team at Iowa State she taught at DMPS for twelve years. Jeni began working as an Instructional Development Specialist with Iowa State University’s Child Welfare Research and Training Project in September 2018. Although she is a native of Maine, she is happy to be a “captive” in Iowa and proud to call it home.
James "Trey" Leech
Trey earned his Bachelor’s Degree in exercise science from Schreiner University (TX) and his Master’s Degree and Doctor of Philosophy in physical education pedagogy from Florida State University. From 2005-2017, he taught in K-12 schools (Georgia and Florida) and higher education (Florida State University & University of Northern Iowa). In 2016, he started his transition as an instructional designer/developer while working with Grand View University’s College of Graduate and Adult Programs on a grant to design/develop several online degree programs. In Nov. 2017, he started working with the ISU CWRTP as an instructional development specialist. In summer 2018, Trey will start an Online MA in instructional systems design and learning yechnologies program from FSU. Trey is a proud Texan who loves his Tex-Mex, BBQ, and San Antonio Spurs. He enjoys spending time with his family (two daughters and fiancé), early morning kickboxing workouts, playing tennis, and hiking.
Rachel earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from Iowa State University and a Master’s degree in organizational psychology from the University of the Rockies. She has more than 5 years of experience in the Human Services field. Before coming to Iowa State University Rachel most recently worked for Des Moines Area Community College as a Student Account Specialist, working with students and college staff to achieve educational and financial goals. In May 2015, she began work as a Technical Writer/Trainer with Iowa State University Child Welfare Research and Training Project. Rachel lives in Des Moines with her family & 2 dogs.
Shawn received her Bachelors of Science degree in Fashion Merchandising from Iowa State University, and she is thrilled to return to her alma mater to work with the Child Welfare Research and Training Project. Shawn is an Association for Talent Development (ATD) Designated Master Trainer™ with broad experience in all areas of the learning and development. For the past 18 plus years, she has utilized her learning and development experience in the financial services industry, with experience in the mortgage industry, annuities and retirement solutions. Shawn lives in Altoona with her husband, Wayne, daughter Audrey and 9 cats. Shawn and her family are avid classic automobile fans, and spend every July 4th weekend at the Heartland Nationals Goodguys Rod & Custom car show.
Des Moines (Lucas Building)
Ann "Jalynn" Almond
Jalynn earned her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Central Florida in 1988. She lived and worked in Berlin, Germany “before, during, and after the wall” until returning to the U.S. to attend law school at the University of Baltimore. She graduated from law school and passed the Maryland Bar in 1995, and thereafter practiced law in Maryland for 15 years. She subsequently received her Master of Laws degree in environmental law from Vermont Law School and her Doctor of Philosophy in sustainable agriculture from Iowa State University. Jalynn joined the team as a legal consultant in late 2017, providing legal research support to the Child Support Recovery Unit and attorneys within the Child Support Unit of the Office of the Iowa Attorney General. When she is not working, Jalynn is either milking her cow Sanilla, or working with her spouse on other projects on their small farm in north-central Iowa.
Matthew earned his Bachelor of Arts in history from Knox College in 2005 and his Juris Doctor from Drake University Law School in December 2012. He was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 2013, where he briefly practiced law. He returned to Iowa in 2014 and began working at the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. While there, he evaluated complaints to determine whether a full investigation was warranted, conducted investigations, and mediated complaints. He also was admitted to the Iowa Bar in 2015. In September 2018, Matthew began working as a Legal Consultant with the Iowa State University Child Welfare Research and Training Project. In his free time, Matthew enjoys watching movies with his wife and two cats, Kilala and Milkshake.
Undergraduate Student Workers
Major: Graphic Design
Des Moines, IA
Major: Secondary Education with a focus in Biology and certification in All Sciences
Hometown: Irwin, IA
Major: Early Childhood Education
Hometown: Remsen, IA
Graduate Research Assistants
Major: Master’s/PhD in Human Development and Family Studies
Maneesha Gammana Liyanage
Major: Master’s in Human Development and Family Studies
Bento ta, Sri Lanka
Major: PhD in Human Development and Family Studies
Daegu, South Korea
Major:Master’s in Human Development and Family Studies
Hometown: Waukee, IA
Major: PhD in Human Development and Family Studies