Elizabeth Mares

As Associate Professor of Spanish at College of DuPage, Professor Mares holds an M.A. in Spanish from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before coming to College of DuPage, Professor Mares was a Spanish language instructor at North Central College and a lecturer at the University of Illinois-Chicago. In addition to teaching Spanish language courses, Professor Mares created and taught courses on Spanish and Latin American Film and Online Learning for the Languages. Professor Mares served as Co-Director of the Costa Rica program from 2005-2009 and again in 2012. She studied abroad in Paris, France and Guadalajara, Mexico. In addition to her academic interests, Professor Mares enjoys film, tennis and the ocean. She looks forward to experiencing the rich culture of Costa Rica with her students this summer.

Co-Director                                                                                                        Kenneth Gray

Professor of Psychology at College of DuPage since 1997, Ken is currently also the Coordinator of Faculty Professional Development and the Idea Center at the College. He holds a B.S. in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Michigan. In 2012, he was named the Overall Outstanding Faculty Member at College of DuPage. Ken has served in various leadership roles at the College and in regional and national psychology organizations, and is excited to apply these leadership skills to international education while bringing a new focus on cross-cultural psychology into the Costa Rica program for students who are interested. In addition to his academic interests, he enjoys running and triathlons, reading, and spending time with his family.


Assistant Director
Ami Irmen

Instructor of English at Kishwaukee College since 2009, Ami holds a B.A. in English from UW-Green Bay and an MFA in English from Minnesota State University, Mankato. In addition to teaching developmental writing, composition, and creative writing courses, Ami also holds various leadership positions in support of diversity efforts on her campus and considers herself to be a life-long learner, both in the classroom and out. Ami enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, reading, time spent with her two kitties, and traveling. She has been all around the U.S., as well as abroad to Kenya and Columbia. She could not be more excited about this opportunity to experience Costa Rica with students this summer.

All language classes will be taught by Costa Rican faculty. The Culture and Civilization of Costa Rica class will be team-taught by several members of the College of DuPage faculty and other visiting scholars, as well as by the directors of the program, who are also available to counsel, supervise and assist students.





Contact Information

Field and Experiential Learning, Study Abroad and Global Education
Berg Instructional Center (BIC), Room 3509
General inquiries: (630) 942-2356