These are just a few of our graduates whose stories will give you a sense of the breadth of work that our alumni are doing. You can also visit our blog series, I am a humane educator, for longer interviews with alumni.
A middle school reading teacher in Porter, IN, Lauren earned her M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership with a concentration in Humane Education in 2014.
"IHE's graduate program opened my eyes to a more well-rounded idea of education and its ability to create solutions for a better world. My time at IHE was an experience that continues to influence my daily life and teaching practices. The connections I made have continued long after my degree was finished, and I am so grateful to be a part of the IHE community."
Melissa is the Director of Development, Humane Education, and Outreach at Peace Ridge Sanctuary. She earned her M.A. degree in 2019 and oversees the growing comprehensive humane education programs at one of the largest nonprofit animal sanctuaries in New England.
“Earning my graduate degree at IHE has given me the credentials needed to increase the vital financial support for our humane education programs at the sanctuary, allowing us to significantly grow our reach and impact.”
Nandita Bajaj is the executive director of Population Balance, which provides education on and solutions to address the impacts of human overpopulation and overconsumption on the planet, people, and animals. She is also the co-director of the Fair Start Movement, which works on legal and educational reform towards a sustainable and just family-planning model. Her career shift into advocating for a sustainable population from a humane education framework was a direct result of her research and exploration of this topic during her M.Ed program at IHE. Nandita earned her M.Ed. in 2021.
"This is the most meaningful educational experience of my life. After several decades of combined experience both as a student and an educator, I discovered the true meaning of education in my graduate program at the Institute for Humane Education. Through engaging content and meaningful discourse with faculty and peers, I have learned to see my own life choices and my advocacy work through a framework that includes human rights, animal protection, and environmental preservation. I appreciate that system change and individual change are two sides of the same coin – both are needed in the world for real transformation to occur."
Director of Education for Ignite Institute for Social Change and Yogic Studies, Susanna Barkataki created the Honor (Don’t Appropriate) Yoga Summit and Framework. The E-RYT 500 Teacher and Ayurvedic practitioner, earned her M.Ed. in 2010 and speaks, teaches, and supports clients in integrating authentic yoga and equity into their work and practice.
“IHE's graduate program was revolutionary in that it embodied what education can and should be – in complete integrity and humane in process as well as in goal. I implement this as the founder of an educational institution because IHE helped me see a powerful way to not only teach but to structure education.”
The director of Anna’s Place NOLA, an afterschool, Saturday and summer youth program that serves economically disadvantaged children in the historic Treme, earned her M.A. degree in 2019. Brianna uses her humane education knowledge to compassionately educate the youth she services.
“IHE’s graduate program has molded me into a passionate activist and educator. My degree has opened doors for my career in education through a humane lens.”
Robin Coarts, Humane Educator and Founder of Plant-Based with Robin, earned her M.Ed. in Humane Education in 2019 and has since started teaching online courses focusing on Plant-Based Parenting In a Fast Food World. Through this work, Robin is able to provide support and education to families while they navigate their Plant-Based Journey with the help of her experience during the IHE graduate program.
"The program at IHE provided a solid foundation based strongly in critical thinking and solution-focused problem solving. It not only encouraged me to create my web-based Plant-Based Parenting course but the courage to launch my own platform helping parents and families along the way.”
Vice President of Education at the Humane Society of Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Caroline Crane earned her M.Ed. degree in 2013. She leads a staff of four humane educators that design programs, partnerships, and lesson plans for all age levels from toddlers to adults. Their goal is to help people develop a lifelong relationship with their community so they become humane citizens.
"IHE's graduate program helped me become a better educator and communicator. I'm so happy I challenged myself!”
Shanthalakshmi Duaisamy earned her M.Ed. in 2016 and became the President and Lead educator of Salem Humane Institute for Nature and Ethics.
“The unique pedagogy of IHE has enabled me to reach more than 17,000 children in and around Salem, India. I am grateful to my mentors at IHE who have helped me spread the fragrance of compassionate wisdom in the buds of India.”
Front of House, Social Media, and Events Coordinator for Cafe Nutrients, a 100% organic and plant-based restaurant, Dixie Espinosa earned her M.Ed. in 2019. In this role, she teaches, hosts, and collaborates vegan social events with local businesses to promote sustainable living, nutrition, and health practices.
“My time at IHE was, in short, life changing. It helped me to explore, solidify, and merge my personal journey as a vegan and animal rights activist with my work as an educator, herbalist, and event planner. I am forever grateful for the relationships formed and the opportunity to be a lifelong member of this inspiring and solution-based community.”
Mike Farley is a middle and high school Geography teacher in Toronto. He earned his M.Ed. in 2021, and organized the inaugural Educators for Animals Conference as part of his degree. He looks for opportunities to incorporate human rights, animal protection, and environmental restoration into all of his classes. In addition to teaching, Mike recently became a sessional lecturer for the University of Toronto’s graduate education program.
My M.Ed. degree from IHE was instrumental in giving me the confidence and skills to increasingly incorporate humane education into my classes and school community. It also helped and inspired me to effect change within educational systems at the local and global levels.”
Stacy Hoult-Saros, Professor of Spanish at Valparaiso University, completed the Graduate Certificate in 2015. In addition to teaching Latin American and Latinx cultures through a humane education lens, she has given several conference presentations on humane ed in the language classroom and has a chapter on teaching environmental issues in a forthcoming MLA teaching volume. She currently chairs IHE’s Board of Directors and serves on the Advisory Council of the Humane Education Coalition.
"My humane education coursework has transformed every aspect of my teaching, from developing courses on relevant, engaging topics to implementing solutionary projects that cultivate empathy as they encourage critical, creative and systems thinking. The Graduate Certificate program was the most meaningful and impactful professional development experience of my 30-year career in higher education."
Kristina Hulvershorn, Director of Restorative and Humane Programs for Peace Learning Center and Program Manager, Indianapolis for HEART, creator of Be the Change, and author of Secret of the Troublemakers earned her M.Ed. degree in 2008.
“IHE helped me wed what seemed like opposing forces: conviction AND compassion, passion AND patience. I learned to channel my concern for humans, animals, and our planet into effective ways of creating change and found a brilliant, inspiring community along the way! It has opened so many doors for me and given me the confidence to open a few of my own!”
Hyung is a high school biology teacher currently working on building and launching an education center in Guatemala, centered around social justice, sustainable lifestyle, and equity in education. He earned his Graduate Certificate in 2020.
"IHE's graduate program has given me a new perspective on how to view and analyze current global issues. My experience and what I learned through the program have given me clarity and confidence to work towards a better future and continue to shape the direction of my life and career.”
Michael Johnston is an independent consultant and former school head working towards educational transformation for learning with greater propose in K-12 schools. He earned his Ph.D. in organizational systems with a focus on humane education in 2017. With a balanced focus on nature, animals, wellbeing, social structures, and economics, Mike is helping schools facilitate authentic learning for students of all ages with the greater purpose of creating a better future for all.
“IHE has been key to deepening my learning and application of Humane Education, and I look forward to supporting many future generations of solutionaries.”
Kim Korona, Senior Program Director for HEART (Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers), earned her M.Ed. degree in 2005 and taught youth directly for six years. She now she develops humane education resources, facilitates professional development trainings, and develops and teaches courses for educators and advocates.
“The IHE graduate program and the course instructors gave me an outlet to pursue my passion. I gained the knowledge, confidence, and experience I needed to develop humane education programs and teach about these important topics to both youth and adults. Thank you for changing the course of my life!”
Dana McPhall, Adjunct Faculty, Institute for Humane Education, earned her M.Ed. in Humane Education degree in 2015, and now facilitates her own course called Race, Intersectionality and Veganism as part of IHE’s graduate program. She also leads IHE’s Humane Anti-Racist Education Working Group. Most recently, Dana has taken on new roles at Farm Sanctuary, initially as the Director of Community Learning and Engagement, and currently as the Director of Education & Community Engagement, where she oversees Farm Sanctuary’s humane education programs, youth advocacy projects, and the Social Justice & Our Food System: Community Learning Program and its accompanying alumni and activist engage programming for adults.
“The graduate program has allowed me to fuse my passion for racial justice with the development of educational materials and resources that can be used in teaching about issues at the intersection of race and other social justice movements.”
Becky Morgan, a 6th grade teacher at Anser Charter School, an Expeditionary Learning school in Boise, Idaho, completed her M.Ed. in 2011. Becky believes in empowering students to become compassionate changemakers and utilizes a design thinking mindset to build empathy in her students as they engage with community needs and design and implement projects locally.
“IHE's graduate program broadened my perspective on animal protection and human rights issues, and as a result I am a better teacher, more able to encourage my students to dig deeper into real world problems and possible solutions. I’m also grateful for the emotional support and encouragement I received to move from despair to action.”
JJ Morrissey, Head of Upper and Middle School at Poughkeepsie Day School in Poughkeepsie, NY, earned his M.A. in 2018 and is charged with running the daily operations of a 6-12 progressive independent school. The mission of PDS is to offer a progressive education that liberates the mind, ignites passion and purpose, and provides the world with the agile, resourceful, self-directed, community-oriented citizens it most needs.
“IHE open my eyes to a new focus for educating our children; one that is built on love for ourselves, for each other, for our planet, and for all those with whom we share this earth. I use my IHE experience every single day, and it has been such a valuable asset for me in my work.”
Rosana Ng, Environment Program Manager, earned her M.Ed. in 2016 and works on improving regulation of the wildlife trade in Hong Kong via legislative reform.
“IHE's graduate program opened my eyes to systemic oppression towards people, animals, and the environment. Since I embarked my humane education journey, I was able to use the knowledge and skill I learned from IHE to drive systemic change in culturally responsive ways.”
Regina Rumford, a secondary learning leader at Colegio Maya in Guatemala City, Guatemala earned their Ph.D. in Organizational Systems with a specialization in Humane Education in 2018 and their Humane Education certification in 2015.
“IHE’s graduate program provided me with the tools to design a humane education curriculum that inspires systemic, solutionary-focused action. My educational experience at IHE shaped the trajectory of my career and continues to yield unparalleled opportunities.”
Kurt Schmidt, Contract Academic Instructor at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) and Formation Director at Christ Church (Anglican) Cathedral in Fredericton, New Brunswick, earned his M.Ed. degree in 2011. Kurt loves to share the vision, principles, and solutionary encouragements with his students of mathematics in a couple of campus 'corners' at UNB – the aboriginal/indigenous students he instructs through the Mi'kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre and the leadership-program students he instructs at Renaissance College. Kurt also manages to inject humane ed ideas and activities into his faith formation work through his church community.
"My studies at IHE confirmed and nourished my conviction that excellent education is the most important thing we humans can 'do’ with one another. Lifelong learning driven by curiosity, kindness, and critical awareness is precisely where it's at for me professionally, in my family life, and in all my other relationships."
John Tewksbury, kindergarten teacher, organic vegetable farmer, and leadership trainer in Muncy, PA, earned his M.Ed. in 2011. Before entering the education field, John, a West Point graduate, served as a U.S. Army infantry officer and then in various leadership roles within the corporate world. But he is truly at home in his "best job ever" as a kindergarten teacher. John has used his eclectic leadership experiences to develop a leadership training program for leaders of all ages.
"IHE's graduate program has made me a more thoughtful and compassionate individual and has helped me be a better coach and teacher to all those I come in contact with. The humane education residency week at IHE was one of the most meaningful education experiences I have ever had.”
Cynthia Trapanese, Lead Teacher in First Grade at the New School of San Francisco, and Faculty for IHE, earned her M.Ed. degree in 2014. Cynthia has been teaching two electives for IHE since Fall 2014, one of which was researched and designed as her thesis.
"IHE's graduate program changed my life. I made a complete career change, and am living my dream as a classroom teacher. My degree has opened many doors, such as facilitating workshops on creative ways to integrate humane education concepts in classroom teaching. My work is incredibly fulfilling and continues to evolve in unexpected ways."
Ariane White, Director of the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Center at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles, CA, earned her M.Ed. in 2010. In addition to her work at LMU, Ariane facilitates dialogue spaces, workshops, and restorative justice processes with AWARE-LA and White People 4 Black Lives as a part of her lifelong commitment to antiracist efforts.
"IHE's graduate program helped me to articulate the need for systemic changes within the educational system and inspired me to envision possibilities for how my work could catalyze and contribute to such change."