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Jennifer Ross Nostrala

Simpson College


Department of Theatre Arts, Women's and Gender Studies Program.


Professor Norstrala has been a judge for Latinos Unidos of Iowa since 2007.  She has worked with various professors and liaisons around Iowa figuring out the scoring for the Latino Applications.  One key reason I serve as a reader for the scholarship applications every year is to honor my parents-in-law, Juanita and James Garcia.


 Currently serves as the Chair of the Theatre Arts  Department. She has been directing and teaching theatre for over twenty-five years. She teaches the advanced acting and directing courses.  She also teaches Script Analysis, Women and Theatre, Vocations and the Performing Arts, and Playwrighting.


A few years ago she created a new May Term course, Agents of Change: Creating Change in the Community Through Performance. This course is designed to help students investigate a contemporary issue and then develop a performance around that issue as a way to create change in the community.  Recent offerings of this course have focused on raising awareness on campus on sexual harassment and assault.



2013 Commendation for Directing & Choreography, Lysistrata Jones, KCACTF

2012   Commendation for Devised Work, Alice’s Trip, KCACTF

2010   Iowa Arts Council Grant for Fat Pig

2009   Commendation for Directing, Back Story, KCACTF

2008   Faculty Award for Campus Leadership, Simpson College

2006   Commendation for Directing, One Flea Spare, KCACTF

2003   Distinguished Teacher Award, Simpson College

2001   Iowa Arts Council Grant for travel to LaMama Umbria workshop, Italy; 1998   Distinguished Junior Faculty Award, Simpson College

Dr. Mary Louise Sconiers Chapman

Born in Chancellor, Alabama, in 1948 and has lived in Des Moines for 44 years.


  • Dr. Mary Louise Sconiers Chapman’s relentless dedication to underrepresented and underserved Iowans has opened the door for many to obtain previously limited resources in the areas of continued education, economic advancement, and housing. Chapman joined Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) in 1990 and was the first woman to serve as an executive dean at the college. She went on to become the vice president of community and workforce partnerships.
  • Mary made a personal impact on Latinos Unidos of Iowa in the early 1990’s. She joined in with Latino Resource Fairs at the Des Moines Botanical Center and helped chair other events always striving to help with ideas for funding.
  • Through her work at DMACC, Chapman has created programs for women and at-risk youth, including the establishment of face-to-face college credit programs for the inmates at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville; engineered strategic partnerships to support Des Moines Public Schools’ Teacher Quality Program, which successfully placed dozens of minority teachers in Des Moines; and worked to develop the Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families in Des Moines, a first-of-its-kind, community-based, integrated service delivery partnership between education, business and community that connects families and individuals with education, support services, career pathways and employment. She has served dozens of community and statewide boards and other civic organizations, including chair of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission and past president of both - The Links, Inc. and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.


  • Awards: Young Women’s Resource Center Visionary Woman Award, The YWCA Women of Achievement Award, Iowa African American Hall of Fame and the Iowa Commission on the Status of African Americans’ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Achievement Award.

Óscar Reynaga

  • Originally from southern California. He received his B.A. from UC Berkeley and M.A. from the University of Iowa.


  • As an undergrad, he had the opportunity to study abroad in Argentina, Chile and Cuba. He currently teaches Spanish at Central College in Pella, IA and also serves as the Dean for the Class of 2023. In addition to teaching Spanish and courses about the Latinx experience in the U.S., he has co-developed short-term study abroad courses for Central students in México, Costa Rica and Perú.


  • At Central College, he serves as a faculty advisor for OLAS (Organization of Latinx-American Students) that supports the ever-growing Latinx student population on campus.


  • He has also had the honor and pleasure of reviewing scholarship applications for Latinos Unidos of Iowa for the past ten years. Professor Reynaga’s life-long goal is to continue to advocate, inspire and mentor Latinx students pursuing their dreams in higher education.


  • "¡Sí, se puede! Yes, We Can!"

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