WOU alumna Korena Lund ’98, ’10 recently published “Cinco de Mayo: A Thematic Unit of Study.” This book was inspired by her master’s thesis at WOU, an educational resource which Lund hoped would be useful for her students and fellow educators. The book contains lessons in language arts, social sciences, mathematics, Spanish, French, food science, music and art. It was designed for elementary, intermediate, Spanish, French, and bilingual education instructors who would like to integrate Mexican history, culture, and language into their everyday studies, while still meeting national curriculum requirements.
Lund, an ESOL, French and math instructor, grew up in the small timber town of Willamina, Ore. then attended WOU to earn her bachelor’s in secondary education: French, with the honors of Summa Cum Laude and Phi Kappa Phi. She then taught in France for a year.
“Western Oregon University's location, prestige as a teaching college, and language exchange programs were what attracted me,” she said. During her education at WOU, Lund participated in three international exchanges: Poitiers, France; Angers, France; and Puebla, Mexico. All three of these experiences influenced her book. Her experience as a teacher taught her that many students and educators tend to have a misconception about the Cinco de Mayo holiday. “Many people think that it celebrates Mexico's Independence Day, which is really September 16th,” she said. After her exchange to Mexico—where the famous Battle of Puebla took place—Lund drew from her experiences of living within the Mexican culture and knowledge of Franco-Mexican history to begin the research for her book.
Lund worked closely with her advisors, Dr. John Rector, chair of the Social Science Division and history professor, and Dr. Karie Mize, associate professor of teacher education, in order to complete the master's project. She was also able to survey members of the community along with WOU students to compile necessary data for her research. Members of the campus' MEChA organization were especially helpful in providing information about the Cinco de Mayo holiday.