Researching Public School Health Education – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Researching Public School Health Education

Women’s studies and psychology double major Yamileth Cedeno ’20 spent her summer conducting research on health and sex education standards in public schools under the direction of Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies Michelle Martin-Baron.

Supported by the Fisher Center for the Study of Gender and Justice Woodworth Fellowship, Cedeno’s research investigated the correlation between sex education taught in schools located in lower socioeconomic areas, and the way that women of color view motherhood. Cedeno’s research led her to study the history of eugenics, birth control, sex education, health education and policies surrounding reproductive reforms in America.

“I have always been interested in how health education influences women’s decisions and their perceptions of potential motherhood,” says Cedeno, who credits the course “Black Feminisms” taught by Martin-Baron with contextualizing federal curriculum standards and health recommendations with America’s racialized history.

In the future, Cedeno sees herself working with young women of color through counseling or empowering community initiatives. “I want this research to show other women of color that you have the knowledge and potential to be – not just an advocate for your community – but a generational ambassador that can help re-shape how women, mothers, grandmothers, transwomen or non-binary people within a marginalized community see their potential as individuals.”

On campus, Cedeno is a member of the Latin American Organization.