humane educator Mickey Kudia
Image courtesy of HEART.

Mickey Kudia holds an M.Ed. in Humane Education from IHE and Valparaiso University and a B.S. in Environmental Communication and Education from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. As a humane educator and the Chicago program coordinator for HEART, Mickey travels to schools throughout Chicago educating young people about animal protection, human rights, and environmental ethics. We asked Mickey to share about his work.

IHE: What led you to the path of humane education?

MK: Humane education wasn’t something I initially sought out. I started working for HEART after I had moved back to Chicago and was looking for a job in animal protection. I learned about HEART because someone at a nonprofit where I was volunteering told me that they were looking to hire a new educator. I applied for the job and got it. Soon after I enrolled in the grad school program at IHE. Through the grad school program and working with young people, I gained a deeper understanding of humane education and was able to see first hand the transformative nature of this type of education.

IHE: Share one of the powerful ways that you’re currently manifesting humane education.
MK: I’m lucky enough to have a job where I teach young people how to create a more just and peaceful world. However, I also try to manifest the ideas of humane education and changemaking in my daily life by having a vegan diet, volunteering, and making other choices that help people, animals, and the environment.

humane educator Mickey Kudia leading a class
Image courtesy of HEART.

MK: I’m proud of the service learning projects that I’ve facilitated with young people. Service learning is when people learn by conducting some type of service for their community. I’ve worked with young people who created assemblies for their schoolmates about issues such as puppy mills and violence. I also worked with a group of 4th grade students who organized a climate change parade at their school. What I love about these projects is seeing young people get excited about addressing a problem that is important to them.

IHE: What are your future plans for your humane education work?

MK: At HEART we’re always working on improving our curriculum and creating resources to help people teach humane education. At the moment, I’m testing out a new curriculum we’re creating about empathy. Not only does this curriculum help students understand the feelings of other people in their personal lives, but it also addresses the objectification and marginalization of oppressed people, animals, and nature.

IHE: What gives you hope for a better world for all?

MK: I have the privilege to work with talented, passionate young people. They never cease to amaze me with their insight and creativity when it comes to solving problems.

IHE: What would you say to others interested in IHE’s graduate programs?

MK: It is an excellent program that prepares you with the knowledge and the skills to make the changes you want to see in the world!