The Montemorelos Project came as a direct result of numerous journeys made by Ohio University Southern students, faculty and staff. In fact, the community of Montemorelos, Mexico is the Sister City to Ironton, Ohio due to the direct influence and planning by Dr. Lucas. Several years previous to this research project, Dr. Lucas led a group of students to Montemorelos in order to study Spanish for an entire summer. During the language study project, Dr. Lucas made life-long friends with numerous families in Montemorelos. As a direct result of this relationship, the Ironton Rotary Club is a matched-club to the Rotary Club in Montemorelos. Several exchanges and visitations have occurred and residents of Montemorelos often visit, study, and live in Ironton at Ohio University Southern.
Dr. Lucas states, “No other relationship has impacted our campus or our international programs like the partnership we have developed with the folks in Montemorelos. They are our brothers and sisters. We are family. They have housed and fed our students, they have given us deep insights into the Mexican culture, and they have made possible many of our Mexican projects. We are eternally indebted to these wonderful people of Mexico.”
The community of Montemorelos is uniquely situated at the base of a mountain range that delivers a huge volume of water through the river that flows directly through the city. Unlike many other places in Mexico, Montemorelos has ample water, electric power, and resources to ignite growth and development. Indeed, over the past few years, friends from Ohio University have noted the changes and progress the folk of Montemorelos continue to make. This study was an effort to gather data concerning that growth and expansion. The Rotary Club of Montemorelos provided the hospitality and opportunity for this project to be completed. Students paid their own money to make the trip and the research project happen. This remarkable tendency for undergraduates to embrace the process of research should be recognized by the academy as a tremendous resource and value.
Students from Ohio University Southern were challenged to make the long journey to Montemorelos, Mexico in OU vans. It takes approximately 32 hours to drive from Ironton, Ohio to the city near Monterrey, Mexico in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon. The project embodied the academic activity of an OU Tier III course (designed to be a capstone experience and a synthesis of the prior educational process). Dr. Lucas was the first and only instructor at Ohio University Southern to design, present, and acquire approval for a Tier III course. Dr. Lucas wove the method of folknography into the course.
As on many other similar occasions, energetic and enthusiastic undergraduate students accepted the challenge and the qualitative research project in Montemorelos, Mexico. Find in this site the results of the folknographic effort of Ohio University Southern students who sought to uncover the perceptions and cultural truths of a Mexican community in contemporary Mexico. The students engaged in the Montemorelos Project.