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Staff & Interns


Amy Alice Chastain

Executive Director

Associate Professor of Instruction, Outreach Coordinator​

ESL Programs, University of Iowa

Amy Alice Chastain's 

teaching and learning have taken her to France, China, the Middle East, and beyond, where she has developed an understanding of the dominant cultures and languages in each with varying degrees of proficiency. Having previously served as an Associate Professor of Instruction in the University of Iowa’s Department of Linguistics, she is proud to use her diverse experience there and abroad in her work with global exchange as the Executive Director of Global Ties Iowa. Upon discovering this organization and the International Visitor Leadership Program, Amy knew she had found her people—her community—and could continue to maintain an international connection while living and working in eastern Iowa. Because of the profound impact her time abroad had on her academic and professional development, her driving vision is to make the benefits of global exchange inclusive of and accessible to everyone.



Abbey Welden

Membership and Development Intern, Mandela Washington Fellow Program Coordinator

Abbey Welden is a third-year student at the University of Iowa

majoring in International Studies with a minor in Spanish and a certificate in Nonprofit and Philanthropy. Born and raised in Marshalltown, Iowa, she attended a Spanish/English bilingual school where her love for connecting with other cultures blossomed. With being fluent in Spanish came the opportunity to study abroad in Paraguay through the Youth Ambassador’s program during her sophomore year of high school. Coupled with her experience as a member of her high school’s philanthropic organization, Abbey's career goals shortly followed. Abbey hopes to work in the international nonprofit sector with a position focused on public diplomacy and promoting gender equity in Spanish-speaking countries. Abbey looks forward to gaining meaningful experience and furthering my knowledge during my time here at Global Ties Iowa!


Berkley Barnett

Program Intern

Berkley Barnett is a second-year at the University of Iowa majoring in international studies with an Arabic studies minor and a writing certificate. As she

is from Colorado, Berkley enjoys hiking and traveling, much like she did during her summer 2023 study abroad with CIEE in Japan. In Japan, Berkley studied religion, society, and modernization in Japan’s historical capital Kyoto. Outside of travel, Berkley enjoys volunteering with the Iowa Youth Writing Project and Catherine McAuley Center as a writing instructor and English tutor. Her work with these organizations earned her the Honors Fellows scholarship for outstanding civic achievement. Berkley also has experience researching incarcerated healthcare with the College of Public Health and is currently pursuing an independent research project within her major. Berkley looks forward to putting her passion for international studies and research toward a Fulbright scholarship in the future.


Cadence Barker

Communications and Storytelling Intern

Cadence is a student attending Sciences Po in Reims, France. She is majoring in Politics and Government with a minor in International Relations. 

Candence was born in the United States, but has since lived and studied in Thailand, Japan, Germany, and France. At Science Po, Cadence is involved in Bureau des Élèves, the student life board that organizes events on campus, as the Head of Communications. She is also involved in the spirit and foreign policy associations. Outside of school, Cadence is into art, especially acrylic paint, watercolors, and graphic design. In her free time, Cadence likes to cook, read, and travel, especially because it is relatively simple to travel around from France.  


Leila Assadi

Communications Coordinator


Leila Assadi is a first-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Political Science and Economics with minors in Public Policy and International Relations.

Originally from Bettendorf, Iowa, Leila enjoys reading, thrifting, and listening to music. On campus, Leila is a senator on the University of Iowa Undergraduate Student Government and member of the Middle Eastern and North African Student Association. She also works as a research assistant for the Disasters, Migration, and Violence Lab in the Department of Political Science. In the future, Leila hopes to attend law school with a concentration in international law. 


Anna Peach

Program Coordinator

Anna Peach is a third-year student at the University of Iowa from Ames, Iowa. She is majoring in Global Health Studies with a certificate in Sustainability. On

campus, Anna is a member of the Sustainability Presidential Charter Committee and is an ICRU Research Fellow. She volunteers in the Food Pantry at Iowa and at the Patient’s Library at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Following undergrad, Anna hopes to attend grad school with a focus on food systems and sustainability.


Anna O'Connor

Program Fellow

Anna is a first-year student at the University of Iowa from Dubuque, Iowa. She is pursuing a double major in International Studies and Social Work, with 

minors in Spanish and Global Health.  At the University of Iowa, Anna has been involved in numerous extracurriculars on campus, namely Dance Marathon and the Undergraduate Student Government. In her free time, Anna enjoys spending time with her family and friends, singing, musicals, watching sports, and traveling. She also loves music, especially Harry Styles. She is extremely excited to see Niall Horan in concert this summer. Additionally, during the Spring 2025 semester, Anna will be studying abroad in Grenada, Spain.


Peyton Pangburn

Development Intern

Peyton is a recent University of Iowa graduate who majored in International Relations on the conflict and foreign policy track with a minor in Russian and Eastern

European Studies. While she was still a student, Peyton was the Russian Program Ambassador for the Division of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, played the alto saxophone in pep band, and the newsletter chair for Phi Eta Sigma American freshman honor society. Most recently, Peyton received a Fulbright to teach English in Moldova next year. Outside of school, Peyton enjoys horseback riding, hiking, rock-climbing, traveling, and cooking.  

Interested in joining our team?

Global Ties Iowa is not currently hiring staff or interns. Join our mailing list to be informed of future opportunities.

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