Institutional Research Staff

Name Title Email Phone
Karen Zunkel Executive Director 515-294-8539
Amanda DeGraff Associate Director 515-294-8546
Nadine Dobbe Data Analyst II 515-294-2369
Sarah Shanahan Data Analyst II 515-294-8872
Susan Ray Data Visualization Analyst 515-294-1182
Jesse Foster Data Analyst II 515-294-9490
Chris Andringa Administrative Assistant II 515-294-1181

Staff biographies are below.

Lake Laverne

Dr. Karen Zunkel - Executive Director            

(     515-294-8539

Karen joined the Office of Institutional Research in 2019 as the Executive Director. She has served Iowa State in a range of functional roles since 1991, including serving as an instructor in the College of Engineering before moving into administration. She served as manager of undergraduate student services for the College of Engineering (1997-2002) before leading the Program for Women in Science and Engineering (2002-13). In 2004, she added a part-time appointment as director of undergraduate programs to her duties. Karen served as the director of undergraduate education and academic quality, leading efforts in student outcomes assessment and accreditation in the provost's office (2013-2019).

As the Executive Director, Karen provides leadership, management, and expertise related to institutional research, analysis, data infrastructure, data governance, compliance, and reporting.

Karen earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in industrial engineering from Iowa State and the University of Oklahoma, respectively, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Iowa State.


Dr. Amanda DeGraff - Associate Director

(     515-294-8546

Amanda joined the Office of Institutional Research in August of 2013 as a Senior Research Analyst. She is responsible for large scale surveys (NSSE and Campus Climate), IPEDS, and student data. Amanda works closely with our IT partners to ensure that campus data reporting needs can be met through our various data platforms (Workday and EData).

Amanda earned a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Florida State University in 2005. She was previously a Research Associate at the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance at the Institute of Education Sciences and the Senior Evaluator for the Office of the Provost at the University of Texas at El Paso.


Nadine Dobbe - Data Analyst II

(     515-294-2369

Nadine Dobbe joined the Office of Institutional Research in 1995 and has served as a Research Analyst for the department since 2004. Nadine specializes in course data, including student credit hour and instruction by faculty reporting. She also produces tuition and fee reports for the Board of Regents. Nadine coordinates ISU Fact Book production and publication on the IR web site, maintains the University’s Consumer Information Disclosure web site, and works with College Portrait/Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) and Student Achievement Measure (SAM). Nadine serves on the AAU Data Exchange (AAUDE) Analytics Reporting Team, prepares data submissions for AAUDE and is caretaker for the AAUDE “IPEDS Fall Enrollment” data exchange item.

Nadine earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business from William Penn University in 2001 and has worked in various positions at ISU since 1986. Prior to her work at ISU she taught continuing education courses in microcomputer basics, word processing, database management, and spreadsheets.


Dr. Sarah Shanahan - Data Analyst II

(     515-294-8872

Sarah joined the Office of Institutional Research (IR) in February of 2017 and serves as a Data Analyst for the department. Her primary responsibilities include: state and federal reporting regarding university-wide statistics for entities such as U.S. News & World Report, the Iowa Board of Regents (IBOR), and the Integrated Post-secondary Educational Data System (IPEDS); assisting in the preparation of the ISU’s Fact Book and other IR publications; and synthesizing data and reports, as well as providing data analyses for decision-making purposes at the department, college, and university level.

Sarah earned her Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Human Development and Family Studies from Iowa State University. In previous work, her experience has centered on both qualitative and quantitative research methods, which also included survey construction and measure development.


Susan Ray - Data Visualization Analyst

(     515-294-1182

As a Data Visualization Analyst, Susan focuses on creating clear 'data stories' to help inform decisions.

Susan earned her BA and MBA from the University of Iowa. She is also proud of her recently acquired Masters in Business Analytics from the University of Iowa's College of Business. Before coming to ISU, Susan worked for Pearson, the global education company, as an HR Analytics Specialist focused on their staff training.

Susan joined IR in the spring of 2020.


Jesse Foster - Data Analyst II

(     515-294-9490

Jesse joined IR in July 2022 as a Data Analyst.


Chris Andringa - Administrative Assistant II

(     515-294-1181

Chris joined IR in March 2020. His responsibilities include coordination of the ISU Fact Book and Common Data Set (CDS), external survey responses, and other organizational duties. He previously served as an Election Administrator in Story County. In his free time, he is a member of the official game day statistics crew for ISU Athletics, covering football, men's and women's basketball, volleyball, wrestling, and other sports as assigned.