SIUE Chancellor Randy Pembrook reads to a small group of children during his 2017 service trip to Costa Rica.EDWARDSVILLE - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Chancellor Randy Pembrook is bringing Central American Mission Projects (CAMP) to SIUE as an active element of his focus on community service and the University’s mission to shape a changing world. SIUE has finalized a partnership agreement with CAMP to provide faculty-led travel study programs for SIUE students.

“The connection with CAMP provides a special combination of opportunities for service to mankind through valuable hands-on experiences, all while experiencing growth in cultural awareness which comes through international travel and study,” said Mary Weishaar, PhD, executive director, SIUE International Affairs.

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Pembrook has been extensively involved with CAMP as both a participant and board member. At his previous institutions, Baker University and Washburn University, he accompanied students to Costa Rica with CAMP.

“This is a meaningful, transformative experience, because we help others by providing health screenings, building structures, and giving away clothing and food,” Pembrook said. “There is a dramatic realization of how one student, faculty member or individual can make a difference in the world. The participants benefit from the experience by improving language skills, gaining a better knowledge of other cultures and developing an appreciation for the academic disciplines that participate.”

During Pembrook’s January 2017 trip, which was his 12th consecutive year participating in service work in Costa Rica, he brought along Dr. Bruce Rotter, SIU School of Dental Medicine dean, for an introduction to the experience. They spent approximately one week in San Jose and outlying communities volunteering time for the betterment of local citizens.

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Several SIUE programs are in the planning stages with expected launch in 2018:

  • January and March: The SIU School of Dental Medicine with Dean Rotter
  • March 3-11: The SIUE School of Nursing with Dean Dr. Laura Bernaix
  • March 2- 10: School of Education, Health and Human Behavior - Public Health Program with Assistant Professor Michelle Cathorall
  • Dates TBD: School of Engineering and SIUE Honors program with Associate Dean Chris Gordon, PhD

Weishaar noted the benefits for students participating in a diverse inter-cultural professional experience.

“They gain an appreciation and understanding of service, diversity and compassion for under-served populations,” she said. “Students examine environmental health issues and realize hands-on experience in dentistry, nursing and public health. They also explore alternative energy and environmental designs.”

Students may apply for these programs online at For more information, contact Kim Browning, study abroad advisor at

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high quality, affordable education that prepares them for successful careers and lives of purpose to shape a changing world. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of more than 14,000.

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