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March 20, 2014 : AUDIO: OUL Student Co-Authors Article in Fairfield Heritage Quarterly
- Cheri Russo
Communications and Marketing Manager


Lancaster – Ohio University Lancaster March Student of the Month Nicki Roberts has a bright future examining the past.  The 32-year old from Lancaster is a history major and recently had an article published in Fairfield Heritage Quarterly.
“I volunteer with the Fairfield Heritage Association, which publishes the magazine,” said Roberts. “I started writing the article for a class here at OUL and was then asked if I’d be interested in helping to put something together for the magazine.”
The article was written by Roberts and Fairfield Heritage Association Office Manager Mary Lawrence.  It is titled “The Lancaster Lateral Canal: A Ditch That Made a Difference.”  
Nicole Roberts“I think people would be surprised that there is so much more to learn about the canals.  People know about the canals in Ohio and the canals that went through Lancaster, but they don’t really think about it now because the canals are gone,” said Roberts. “It’s interesting to learn about the canals and the people who were involved.”
“The canal was an excellent subject for a cover story. We looked into the Quarterly's archives and found that FHA had never run a comprehensive piece on the Lancaster Lateral Canal. This story was a good place to start,” said Lawrence. “Nicki demonstrated not only how important it was to bring the canal to the people struggling to make a living on the Ohio frontier, but she also identified a handful of men who were particularly important in making the canal a reality in Fairfield County.”
The Lancaster Lateral Canal opened to commerce in 1834.  With canal transportation, markets were opened to the east. The canal was acquired by the State of Ohio in 1836.
“Nicole’s co-authored article advanced our understanding of an important part of Lancaster’s history and demonstrated that students can be scholars in their own right,” said Ohio University Lancaster Assistant Professor of History Mark Nevin.
“Nicki is energetic, dependable and thoughtful, making many valuable contributions to FHA as an intern and as a volunteer,” said Lawrence. “She has been a great help in the many behind-the-scenes tasks necessary to the operation of our museums and the association. She is helping us develop more programming for children by agreeing to serve on FHA's new education committee.”
Roberts is married with two little boys.  She returned to school in her 30’s because she wanted to finish the degree she started before “life happened.” But she did not return to college intending to get a history degree. 
“I took a class with Professor Nevin.  I never liked history before in school. But, I really enjoyed it,” said Roberts. “Professor Nevin is actually the reason I chose history as my major. I enjoyed the class so much. He made it so interesting.”
Roberts hopes to go on to get her Master’s Degree and eventually teach someday.