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Iowa State University Extension

Intern is Extension’s ‘eyes and ears’ within Waterloo Latino community

Claudia Marcela Prado Meza

A young woman from Mexico is helping ISU Extension define priorities for Latino outreach, thanks to a partnership between Extension and Mexico’s University of Colima. This summer, University of Colima graduate and current ISU graduate student Claudia Marcela Prado Meza is working as an intern for ISU Extension in Black Hawk County.  She is working from El Centro Latinoamericano, the Latino resource center in Waterloo, serving as Extension’s “eyes and ears” within the area’s Latino community to help Extension become more effective in reaching this growing population.

“Claudia is organizing a ‘Fiesta Familiar’ for Sunday, Aug. 5. It will be an opportunity for us to meet Latino families and help them understand what Extension is all about,” said Allen Ricks, ISU Extension education director for Black Hawk County. “She also has made contact with a number of people in the Latino community and has good leads on possible volunteers to help us organize a Latino youth 4-H club.” 

Because Mexico doesn’t yet have an equivalent service, these families aren’t familiar with what ISU Extension has available. The fiesta will introduce them to ISU Extension programs. 4-H’ers will do demonstrations and working exhibits so families can see what kids can achieve. Good food, soccer and time for conversation with parents will round out the day. For more information, contact Ricks at

“Claudia is only one example of how the University of Colima (UC) is able to help ISU in a true partner relationship. She is one of eight graduate students from UC presently completing studies in business and agriculture. The program is funded by an award from USAID to the Extension Outreach Academy for Veterinary Medicine and Rural Community Development,” said David E. Hansen, who directs the program.

This article appeared in July 2007 -- From Jack Payne Newsletter