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Abstract

I worked with faculty at the University of Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico in Spring 2009 through Eastern Kentucky's participation in the Magellan Project. Experiencing a new culture provides a lens through which to approach challenges in our own culture in new ways. Citizens in the metropolitan areas of Kentucky have the opportunity to experience a variety of different cultures in their everyday lives. However, many rural communities of Kentucky have, in the past, had almost exclusively Caucasian populations. Today, Kentucky communities, like many in other states, are experiencing a shift to a more diverse group of citizens. In the 1990's Kentucky's Hispanic population had the eighth highest growth rate in the country. Faculty and students in Kentucky universities will benefit from having opportunities to experience diverse cultures. They, in turn, can help their communities be prepared for a more richly diverse citizenry. This article begins with a description of the Magellan Project followed by my experience with faculty at the University of Monterrey and within the city of Monterrey. Next, immigration of Mexican American families beyond gateway states such as Texas, into Kentucky will be discussed along with the challenges of closing the achievement gap of Mexican American children in Kentucky schools. This article will conclude with recommendations for EKU and for Kentucky schools providing education and community for Mexican American families and their children.

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