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Maya Cohen:  Founder of Integrated Education Curriculum, and Director of Global Affairs Diversity Management Education (GAME) with TASZU-MTX

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I have struggled with my own identity for most of my life. Growing up, I was told to dress, act, and perform a certain way, but inside I knew that didn’t feel right. Deep down I knew it didn’t agree with me. I didn’t have the words to express how I felt, or what I wanted to change, so I went along with what was assumed based on my appearance and what I was told. It wasn’t until college that I took formal courses where we discussed topics such as gender inequality, structural racism, and medical bias; information that should be made aware at the most foundational level. Not just for political correctness or image, but the overall safety and wellness of individuals and the community.

I created Integrated Education to help young people better understand who they are. With a better sense of self, they can more confidently present themselves, and interact with others. Growing up in school we are taught the “basics” in classes such as math, history, and english, with the idea that these will set us up for success. Although selectively helpful in some professions, much of the emphasized information is lost. What is a constant is communication with others. Social skills are learned through experience, and not everyone has the same experience. By providing a space, encouraging young people early on to express their true selves, and giving them the tools to safely and confidently interact with anyone can prevent severity of mental illness, harassment, and promote a more personable future.

I am only one person, of hundreds of millions who could have used so

me guidance early on. I can only speak on behalf of myself. I am not trying to tell anyone how to think or act, rather providing options and information. We are born curious, and creatively, life should have no bounds.

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You Know, Sex by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth

This informative graphic novel was written and illustrated by two people with a goal to expand what we know about bodies, and how to better communicate and interact with one another.

I use this as a major piece of literature in the curriculum, so I encourage you to check it out!

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