Paula Land joined Catherine McAuley Center (CMC) early in 2011 as Executive Director. Paula is a graduate of Mount Mercy University and most recently held the position of Vice President of Operations and Organizational Effectiveness for Trees Forever. Paula has three children and four grandchildren. In her spare time, Paula enjoys singing and volunteering in the community. She considers herself a lifelong learner. Passionate about nonprofits, Paula’s excited to be back in the education and human services fields.
Margaret’s love of the outdoors started when her family moved to a farm in Marion when she was in the third grade. She received her Associate’s of Arts degree from Kirkwood Community College. Before joining CMC, Margaret’s love of nature and gardening led her to a career at Trees Forever. Margaret brings 25 years of non-profit experience to the Catherine McAuley Center and she is honored to be able to help support all the staff at CMC improve the lives of people in our community. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, paper crafting, and spending time with family and friends.
Rachel stumbled into a career in nonprofit management and fundraising in 2006 and it stuck. She loves working for a purpose and is passionate about our community and her family. Rachel graduated Cum Laude from St. Ambrose University with a degree in Integrated Studies. Her degree has an emphasis in Marketing and Organizational Leadership. Rachel is from Milwaukee, WI but has lived in Nebraska, Colorado, California, and Rhode Island. She has 3 children and lives with her partner, Will, in Cedar Rapids.
Kristen graduated from Mt. Mercy University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting. Prior to joining CMC, she worked in both the college and non-profit finance fields. She is looking forward to utilizing her knowledge and experience to assist CMC in reaching their goals and supporting their mission. In her spare time, she enjoys music, traveling, trying new foods, and spending time with her family.
Before joining the CMC team, Haley spent four years managing and doing sales for the brewery she and her husband founded. Prior to opening their business, she worked in fundraising for the University of Iowa and Iowa State University. Haley volunteered as a tutor at CMC before the Covid-19 pandemic and is thrilled to be able to support the organization’s mission in a different capacity. She lives in Cedar Rapids, where she and her husband own a comedy club. In her limited free time, she enjoys reading, baking, and cooking.
Jon is an Army veteran who initially focused on getting two degrees in IT work. During a work shortage in IT work, he transitioned into working as a Direct Support Professional for disabled adults. After a few years as a DSP, he transitioned into property management. He led several large scale reconstruction and remodeling projects with various properties. While working with placing tenants from other countries into apartments, he learned about CMC. He supports CMC’s mission because he believes that everyone deserves a chance at a safe, peaceful life. He is very proud of his professional development and being able to still be a father. He spends his time reading, playing video games and parenting his 6 year old son.
Amanda has a B.A. in Business Administration from Mt. Mercy University. She is most proud of making Dean’s List all four years in college and graduating magna cum laude, all while working full time and raising a family. She is married with a daughter who is her Mini-Me. She plays the viola in the Cedar Rapids Community Orchestra. In her spare time she enjoys cooking and reading.
Jessica earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Coe College with majors in English and Communications Studies and has worked in the field of philanthropy for over 10 years. Prior to working for Catherine McAuley Center, Jessica worked in instructional design researching philanthropic theory and travelled across the country learning about the types of experiences that make giving meaningful to donors. She has also worked in crisis services as a fundraiser where she developed a passion for helping underserved and at-risk individuals in our community. Jessica is passionate about Catherine McAuley Center’s mission and works to build capacity through grant funding so that the center’s programs and projects can continue to flourish and grow to meet needs in our community.
Madison graduated from the University of Iowa with degrees in Spanish Language & Literature and International Studies with a focus on human rights. After her studies, Madison went on to become a teacher at a dual-language elementary school where she taught third grade and language literacy groups for three years. As an educator, she developed a passion for building empowerment in underserved areas. Madison is grateful for the opportunity to serve her community and support CMC’s mission.
Laurie is looking forward to being part of the team at Catherine McAuley Center. She is a widow who was married for 29 years. She has 3 cats, Sophie, Max, and Lily. She enjoys reading poetry, drawing, working in her yard, decorating, and going out to eat. Laurie worked at Kirkwood Community College for 14 years before retiring. She knows she will enjoy working here and appreciates everything the Catherine McAuley Center does.
Peggy’s undergraduate studies centered on psychology and education, as she was very interested in human behavior and aspired to be an inspirational teacher. During student teaching, she discovered this wasn’t the right fit for her. At all. That didn’t make her any less interested in either subject, and in many ways it influenced her professional life, including her MBA studies. The majority of her career was spent at GE, which took her to Cedar Rapids, as well as Missouri and Michigan, but she always knew she wanted to return to Eastern Iowa. After many years, Peggy decided to leave the corporate world to buy and run a coffee shop in downtown Cedar Rapids. Managing the coffee shop reinforced her love for the community, but the flood of 2008 brought an end to that business. Following that chapter, Peggy spent 11 years at Pearson, a global company with a mission centered on improving lives through education. She is excited and blessed to be joining the Catherine McAuley Center, where she has an opportunity to carry out that mission and more with a local focus!
Katie graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.A. in English and a Masters in Library Science. She began tutoring at CMC shortly after moving to Cedar Rapids and has volunteered in various capacities since then. In her role as Government Grants Coordinator, Katie is so happy to help grow the important programs offered by CMC. When not working, Katie loves spending time with her husband and two young children, reading, running, and visiting family and friends on the East Coast.
Carol graduated from Loras College with degrees in Writing and English Literature. She worked as a copywriter and editor for 7 years at an in-house ad agency in Des Moines. Later, she enjoyed 10 years as Marketing Director for a local neurological chiropractor. Having grown up in Iowa, Carol is very proud of her city and shares with residents about the outstanding resources Cedar Rapids has in the Catherine McAuley Center. She is looking forward to helping out behind the scenes at CMC. Carol is a published author and public speaker and has presented at many colleges, local businesses, book stores, libraries and more. Carol has two children, Kate and Nick, who live in Chicago. She resides in Cedar Rapids with her husband, Paul.
Sandy joined our staff in January 2015 as our Systems and Facilities Manager. She was a computer programmer for 16 years before resigning to stay at home with their three sons. At that time, she volunteered at church, school, and with their youth baseball program. She is thrilled to be able to serve the staff and community at the Catherine McAuley Center!
Education Services Staff
Anne holds a B.A. in English from Coe College and an M.Ed. with an emphasis in Teacher Leadership from Mt. Mercy University. She worked in the healthcare industry for many years and taught in Barbados for two years. She is passionate about helping students and tutors create community through quality language learning and new educational opportunities. Anne believes all learners are teachers and all teachers are learners, and to that end, is inspired daily by the interactions she sees at CMC. In her spare time, Anne spends time with her close family, loves to write funny and slightly dramatic letters to all and sundry, and going out for great meals with friends.
Sabrina was born and raised in Cedar Rapids. After a couple of years of career bouncing after high school, she started a pet sitting and dog walking business. Ten years, 500 clients, and six employees later, she sold her business and went into education. She worked as a paraprofessional in the special education department at a local elementary school, then spent the summer working as a youth development associate for the Jane Boyd Community House. She developed the curriculum for all students K-5 and was hired on as a program navigator for their entrepreneurship program. She recently joined the Board of Directors for Feed Iowa First and is very much looking forward to helping students and tutors succeed in her hometown.
Mike discovered Catherine McAuley Center in 2004 as a volunteer tutor, and fell in love with the center’s mission, and has enjoyed seeing how a “place of welcome” has grown and expanded its mission over the years. Mike earned a B.A. from the University of Northern Iowa in Theatre Arts and Spanish, a B.S. from Mount Mercy in Elementary Education, and as Master of Arts in Teaching from Coe College. Although born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Mike studied a year in Bogota, Columbia and has traveled on service trips in Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala. As an educator, Mike has worked with elementary students in English and Spanish, youth and adults in theatre education, and with adults in a community-based day habilitation program. He believes that the first role of the teacher is to be a kind and thoughtful listener, and the student guiding the way.
Stephen’s passion for teaching language led him to teach ESL in Mexico, Russia, Turkey, and the exotic land of Minnesota. Through his church, he learned about volunteering at CMC then came on staff as Tutor Student Liaison because “CMC gives people the means to a stable, good life. Who wouldn’t support that?” He has made friends in five countries he had never been to before and has written an unpublished novel. In his free time, he reads, walks, goes birding, watches old and new movies, and cooks.
Angie has a TEFL/TESOL Certificate and a B.A. in English Language Learners Studies. She started volunteering as a tutor at CMC and loved it so much that she applied for a job! Her favorite part about CMC is meeting people from all over the world and with many different backgrounds. In her free time, she likes to care for her animals and volunteer in her church. She also goes on mission trips to Guatemala every year and plans to teach there someday.
While studying for a B.A. in music at the University of Iowa, Katie accepted an Honors Fellowship in the Writing Center, where she discovered a love for tutoring. That led to teaching English Language Acquisition at Kirkwood Community College. Katie joined CMC in January 2016 and is excited to be part of an organization that empowers students by building their knowledge and skills. In her free time, Katie plays bass guitar, sings, and volunteers as a sound tech at Legion Arts’ CSPS Hall.
Jenny grew up in rural central Ohio and received a BA in English Language Arts Education from Ohio Northern University in 2009 and a Masters in TESOL from Wright State University in 2011. In 2012, she moved to Iowa City for an ESL lecturer position at the University of Iowa and immediately fell in love with the area. Though she left in 2018 to be a high school English teacher at Tsinghua International School in Beijing, by mid-2020 she was back in eastern Iowa and had the opportunity to teach adult ESL students through Kirkwood Community College. Jenny is now honored to serve the CMC as a curriculum developer, which she found through her Kirkwood colleagues. She firmly believes that everyone has a valuable life story, and she enjoys any work that empowers students to share their stories at any point in their learning journey. She will be expanding her own story in the University of Montana’s graduate creative nonfiction writing program, which starts in August 2022.
Corona has her GED and studied to be a medical assistant but didn’t complete the program. A supportive friend reached out to her because she knew she needed a change. Corona loves to help people, help them grow, learn, understand, and to always move forward. Corona is proud of her independence. She enjoys hanging out with her kids on the weekends, especially playing with bows and arrows. Her daughter just graduated high school and her 2 boys are still in school.
Marimer became a U.S. citizen in 2019 and she wants to serve her new home by building a stronger country. She believes in working little by little to make an impact in the lives of others in the community. Marimer started out as a student at CMC and after passing the citizenship exam, she became a tutor! Now, she is joining the Education team and she loves the environment and people at the CMC.
Ben has volunteered as an English tutor for CMC for over 2 years. He is excited to be a part of the Catherine McAuley team, where he will help teach, and prepare students and tutors for learning and teaching online. In his free time, Ben loves to draw, play the violin, read, practice archery, and cook recipes from all over the world. As a nature lover, he also likes to garden and take hikes. Most of all, Ben is passionate about learning about people’s stories and experiences, and giving everyone space to live as their best selves.
Refugee & Immigrant Services Staff
Abby holds bachelors and masters degrees in Social Work and has worked in social work since 2006. After completing an internship at a refugee resettlement agency in Chicago in 2006, Abby had a goal of working with refugees and immigrants in her career again. After working in homeless shelters for 10 years and working with adults with intellectual disabilities, Abby returned to working with refugees & immigrants in 2016 when she started her position at CMC. Abby loves her job at CMC advocating for refugees & immigrants and connecting them with resources and services in the community. Abby enjoys learning about other cultures and working with her co-workers at CMC to serve refugees and immigrants from the multiple cultures found in our community. When she’s not working, Abby can usually be found spending time with her husband and their 2 adorable sons.
Chanel graduated form Kutztown University in Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology. Prior to joining CMC, she worked in various sectors in the Social Services field and other non-profit organizations. She was raised to always keep love alive, by doing so she enjoys to give back to her community. Chanel is originally from Philadelphia before moving to Cedar Rapids in 2015. She loves watching her favorite NFL football team, the Eagles, and hanging out with her husband Patrick, daughter Belle, and son Ave.
Rex is from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He arrived in the U.S. in 2013. He has a bachelor’s degree in Network & Systems Administration from DRC and an associate’s degree in IT from Kirkwood Community College. He is also a Member Manager of his own company called World Development, LLC. He has 3 kids, 1 boy and 2 girls. In his free time, he likes to spend quality time with his wife, go swimming with his kids and walk his dog. Rex is thrilled to join the team at CMC and help people find the resources they need.
Before joining the Catherine McAuley Center, Klaus volunteered and worked in several organizations such as Habitat For Humanity, Community Crisis Center, Systems Unlimited and Friendship Community Project. He earned an Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts from Kirkwood Community College and his Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. He came to CMC to make a difference in the lives of refugees and immigrants and that is his way of supporting the CMC mission. His decision to go back to school as a non-traditional student is one of his proudest accomplishments. In his free time, Klaus likes to travel and spend time with his family.
Tamara has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Social Work. She has worked in the Human Relations and Social Services field for over 10 years and most recently was a Direct Support Supervisor. She stumbled upon this position in non-profit due to her love for helping people of all backgrounds and, not only helping them, but them helping her as well. She is excited to be a part of CMC’s mission and be able to bring her own experiences and knowledge to share. In her free time, she enjoys reading, specifically murder mysteries, and hanging out with her family. She has a domestic partner, 2 adult sons and an 8 year old son. She is passionate about learning people’s stories and experiences, as well as sharing her own.
Renae graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Iowa. Renae has focused her career on helping those with various barriers gain employment and advocate for themselves. For the past 8 years, she has been employed at IowaWORKS. While there, she was part of the Linn County Refugee Alliance, Immigrant Concerns Committee and partnered with CMC on a project assisting Afghans secure employment and explore Career Pathways. It was through these opportunities that Renae came to work at CMC in March of 2022. When not working, Renae enjoys volunteering at her children’s activities (theater, dance, and show choir), family camping trips, and time on the Wapsipinicon River (the Wapsi.) She also has a love of words. Words can be powerful when used with kindness.
Jelani is a student at Coe College. He heard about the Catherine McAuley Center from one of his professors and began tutoring students before being asked if he was interested in being hired for the summer. Jelani is passionate about helping others and that’s why he supports CMC. He is proud to be attending college and advocates for human rights. In his free time he likes to cook, shop, and hang with his friends and watch tv.
Aaron has a B.A. in Psychology and Studio Art from Coe College and a B.A. in Art History and a Certification in Museum Studies from the University of Iowa. He has worked as a volunteer coordinator for non-profits for 5 years before starting at CMC. He has lived in Cedar Rapids for almost 10 years after moving from the Quad Cities. He fell in love with the city and all its amazing organizations. He supports the CMC mission because he believes every person should have the resources and education to better their lives, no matter what their past. In his free time, Aaron likes to garden and paint. He got married in 2021 and enjoys his weekends with his spouse and their 2 cats.
Edwige is originally from Togo. She has an Associate’s Degree in Administrative Assisting from Ecole Superieure de Gestion d’Informatique et des Sciences in Lome, Togo. Edwige worked in administrative fields for over 15 years. She will graduate with an Administrative Management Associate’s Degree from Kirkwood Community College in May 2024. Edwige’s passion to help people to achieve their goals led her to CMC where she helps immigrants and refugees to attain self-sufficiency through employment. Edwige is married to Erick and they have a son named Ethan. She likes to write inspirational quotes in both French and English.
Hilaire came to the U.S. via South Africa, but he is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. When he arrived here, life was not easy. He had to adapt from speaking French to English, and overcome financial obstacles to education. He did not give up because he had a dream to fulfill. He started at Kirkwood Community College in the spring of 2015. He struggled through the first few weeks, needing help, but having no idea where to turn. He never lost hope. Hilaire earned his bachelor’s degree from Mount Mercy University and his master’s degree from St. Ambrose University and his goal is to help people dream of success and become self-reliant. He is always working hard so that one day he can say he has fulfilled his dreams. He believes that in the United States, we can all succeed, no matter where we come from. He is looking forward to being a part of the Catherine McAuley Center team.
Maggie Wood is a Virginia native transplanted to Iowa in 2023. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a double degree in Middle Eastern Studies and English. She taught English to speakers of other languages for years as a volunteer. She is passionate about justice and building community and loves being a part of CMC’s mission. She and her husband live in Iowa City with their cat.
Zia Ud Din has completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Finance from the Institute of Management Sciences. Besides his degrees, he has diplomas in accounting, IT, and the English language. He was a volunteer interpreter with CMC for the Afghan refugees. When he arrived in Iowa, he loved it so much that he applied to work for CMC. He likes working with CMC because he can interact with people from all over the world. He has a wife and one year old daughter living in Kabul because it was impossible for him to evacuate them.
Roudler is a proud Caribbean boy from Haiti. He has a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management and worked for three years as an HR Technician in public administration in his home country before emigrating to the U.S. He has completed volunteer programs through churches in Haiti and Benin, and many other non-profit organizations in Port-au-Prince and his hometown of Petit-Goave. He recently graduated from Kirkwood Community College and plans to complete a bachelor’s degree in Data Science at the University of Iowa. His greatest accomplishments are earning a scholarship to study in his ancestor’s land of Benin and graduating with honors. In his free time, Roudler enjoys cooking, dancing, spending quality time with his family, and traveling to new places and exploring other cultures. As an immigrant, he understands how difficult it it to find your way in a new place and firmly believes that there is nothing greater than investing in people. It is an honor for him to join CMC and help immigrants and refugees and give back what he received.
Allen Brown, CMC Kids Assistant
Mitch was born and raised in Cedar Rapids. He graduated from Linn-Mar High School and then from Coe College with a Psychology and Neuroscience degree. Service has been a key part of Mitch’s life since he started in Boy Scouts in 6th grade. He would go on to get his Eagle and then pursue volunteering in his free time, and eventually dedicate two years to service across the country in AmeriCorps NCCC. Purpose driven service is critical to having an entire community thrive, and he is very happy to help continue and spread that value through the many programs at CMC.
Agnes was born in Rwanda and move to the United States in May 2023. She rejoined her son who has lived in America since June 2016. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in 2010. Agnes worked for two years as a teacher, then continued her professional life at the S.O.S Children’s Villages in Rwanda. She worked there for 25 years as a children’s caregiver and youth development professional. It was an interesting journey for her, working and walking with youth and managing their cases. During her career, she has been empowered with different trainings in children’s rights and protection, positive parenting, career guidance, job readiness, etc. From these skills, she had been appointed as a “child safeguarding focal person” in the S.O.S Children’s Villages. In America, she has been challenged by communication in English. She is grateful to the Catherine McAuley Center for teaching her to enhance her English skills. For her, learning is an essential part of her life.
Women’s Services Staff
Kristin graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.A. in Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies and Spanish. She began working for the Transitional Housing program after volunteering in the Education program since 2015. She is excited to support CMC’s mission by empowering women with education and resources. In her free time, she enjoys supporting her bonus children, being outdoors, and playing with her two cats.
Bella got her degree in Social Work from Loras College, during which she worked as a community trainer providing direct community and home-based support to people with intellectual disabilities. She finished her degree by interning with Friends of the Family in assisting survivors with fleeing domestic violence and locate housing. After she graduated she worked as an IHH case manager through the Abbe Center and was promoted to the PATH homeless outreach position, during which she worked with many women with, not only the trauma of homelessness, but with several incidents of sexual assault, domestic violence, and substance use. She decided that she would hone her skills of advocacy and connections to resources towards the Catherine McAuley Center, so she could continue to serve the women within her community to support them on their journey.
Jamie has over a decade of experience working with families and youth ages birth-21, both in the classroom and home settings. Her experience, education, and training emphasize service coordination and development, severe Autism, developmental delays, behavioral disorders, child protection, domestic violence, and substance abuse. She enjoys development and program coordination. Designing individual and/or group strengths-based programming that promotes growth in any aspect of an individual’s development, from academic to self-sufficient like skills, is a passion. When not working, she loves time with her adult children and husband of over 30 years, music, personal study and devotion, art, game night with family, camping, crochet, and of course-anything that involves great food.
Rozana obtained her associates degree from North Arkansas College. She joined Catherine McAuley in October of 2021. She is proud to be a part of CMC and stands by the importance of its mission. She believes this not only empowers her but the community she serves. She comes from a background in addiction and mental health. Today she uses her knowledge and experience to be of service to the women seeking support and safety from CMC. She is available to answer any questions or concerns the residents share with her. She is a great team player and provides various support to the other staff members she collaborates with on the Women’s Services team. Rozana simply enjoys being helpful and seeing hope being restored, with a renewed sense of purpose, in the women’s lives she serves.
Cassandra obtained her degree in Social Work from Mt. Mercy University. She felt that her experiences and desire to help others led her to CMC. She believes in the mission of CMC and says it’s inspiring to be part of an agency that highlights the importance of education to spark change. Cassandra is most proud of her family and the strong bonds she has with them and her friends. These relationships keep her grounded and provide her with limitless amounts of joy and laughter. In her free time, Cassandra enjoys traveling.
Bailey (she/her) graduated from Iowa State University in 2019 with a B.S. in Sociology and a B.S. in Mathematics. Her passion for understanding social inequalities and barriers faced by marginalized communities brought her to Catherine McAuley Center. She joined the Women’s Services team in 2021 as an AmeriCorps VISTA member, spending a year researching women’s experiences of homelessness and uplifting women’s feedback and recommendations. Now, empowering clients as leaders continues to drive her work. Her hope is that each client leaves CMC with tools to advocate for themselves and their communities.
Wangui has a Master’s degree in Global Affairs with a concentration in Human Rights and Humanitarian Assistance. She has worked in several organizations that address homelessness and became especially interested in the unique opportunity to serve and learn that CMC offered through their VISTA program on the intersection of race, gender and equality. She admires the mission to grow hope and opportunity, especially through education. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her three children and husband.