In the News

Is your service trip ‘good for the world?’ Manchester senior explores what works – and what doesn’t – in April 26 program

Katherine Brown in the Medical PracticumNORTH MANCHESTER – There has been much talk in recent years about the rise of short-term mission trips and how some might ultimately harm those they were meant to serve.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Katherine Brown is a graduating senior at Manchester University and has participated in its annual Medical Practicum in Nicaragua for the past two years.

In the faculty-guided practicum, students assist a team of U.S. and other health care professionals who collaborate with Nicaraguans to serve medical, dental and veterinary needs in remote communities. The three-week January session travels though mountains, jungles and rivers by bus, four-wheel-drive vehicles and dugout canoes to villages that often have no running water or electricity.

The practicum has been a Manchester tradition since 1981.

While in Nicaragua, Brown noticed that some people or groups came into the rural communities with the intention of doing good but unintentionally do harm. 

Brown will present “Be the Good: Lessons from Nicaragua” at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 26 in Cordier Auditorium. Her presentation will highlight her experiences of performing service work in Nicaragua, and she will share insight about how to determine whether a service trip is likely to have a positive outcome for those on the receiving end.

Those with generous hearts do not always have the tools or knowledge to empower those they encounter, improve their quality of life and respectfully build health cross-cultural relationships.

Her presentation is part of the Senior Series tradition at Manchester, which encourages graduating seniors to create a compelling program on a topic or theme of their choosing. The Values, Ideas and the Arts Committee – whose mission it is to bring engaging speakers and performances to enrich MU’s educational experience – chose Brown for this honor.

Brown is from Carmel, Ind., majoring in athletic training. Her next goal is to be accepted into a physician assistant program. Commencement is May 19.

About Manchester University
Manchester University, with campuses in North Manchester and Fort Wayne, Ind., offers more than 60 areas of academic study to nearly 1,600 students in undergraduate programs, a Master of Athletic Training, a Master of Pharmacogenomics and a four-year professional Doctor of Pharmacy. Learn more about the private, northern Indiana school at

Press release prepared with assistance by Tiffany Byers, a student assistant in the Office of Strategic Communications.

April 2018