Master’s in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) Candidate 2017
B.S., Psychology, Minor: Creative Writing, Muhlenberg College, 2011
What were you doing before entering the MAPP program?
Life Saving Counselor, Animal Care and Control of Philadelphia
I took the year off between earning my BA and entering the MAPP program in order to pursue an internship doing Conservation Research at the Philadelphia Zoo. After leaving that position in January, I continued my work with animals in a different manner by working as a Lifesaving Counselor at Animal Care and Control of Philadelphia. Additionally, I participated in a Work Study program at the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts during this time.
What aspects of MAPP led to your decision to join the program?
My decision to join the MAPP program is very much based upon the fact that it is the only program in the US that currently focuses on human and animal relations, and how that relationship plays a mandatory role in improving the life and welfare of animals across the world. I look forward to learning more about the ebb and flow of this relationship and how best to improve it.
Interests in and experience with animals:
I’ve been working with and interested in animals for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I was always surrounded by numerous types of pets who I considered more than just pets; they were family. I also began horseback riding when I was 5 years old. At the age of 9, I began volunteering at the Central Area Therapeutic Riding Association in PA; where I assisted with the riding lessons for the disabled children, helped to train the horses, and helped to care for the many species of farm animals who lived there. After that, I consistently volunteered at numerous animal shelters in whatever area I was living during that stage of my life. In college, I was able to pursue numerous different experiences animals; from volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation center in NJ (where I was specially tasked to play a large role in the raising and release 12 baby raccoons), to working at a canine boarding and daycare facility. While studying abroad, I traveled to Iceland for the sole purpose of getting to experience orcas in the wild (it was spectacular), and interned at an animal advocacy firm in NYC. Following graduation from Muhlenberg, I deferred my acceptance to Tufts in order to pursue a Conservation Research internship at the Philadelphia Zoo, and then a position as a Lifesaving Counselor at Animal Care and Control of Philadelphia. During this time, I was blessed to be able to experience the animal shelter world from the side of a shelter who has no choice but to be a kill shelter due to an unbelievably excessive intake rate, and as a Lifesaving Counselor it was my responsibility to try and prevent that from happening to as many ‘at risk’ animals as possible.
What do you want to focus on at MAPP? What drew you to this?
At MAPP, there are a few routes that I am specifically interested in. Before this year, I intended to completely focus on the welfare of animals in performance (zoos, aquariums, circuses, etc.), because I believe that if people do not have access to these animals and get to see that they exist and are worth saving, then the public will forget that there are other lives we need to be concerned about than our own. I believe that we can use these performance based venues to do just that; we just need to determine the proper way to do it so that it is not detrimental to the animals involved. I’ve always been attracted to this route, because I originally wanted to pursue animal training in particular, and because I have a history in the performance field as well. I also have an extreme love for killer whales and would quite literally do anything for them. Another route of interest that I gained from my experience at Animal Care and Control of Philadelphia this year, is working on a program to rehab animals who are more on the behaviorally challenging side of the spectrum. I’ve seen the amazing way these animals can turn around when given the attention they need, but with the vast amount of intake most shelters experience, these animals often fall through the cracks. I would like to improve this situation and help increase the survival rate of these more ‘behaviorally special’ animals.
What are your career goals?
As I said above, there are two general routes I’m interested in pursuing, and I’m hoping that this program can help give me both the education and experience in order to take on a leadership position and truly make a difference. Something has to be done. So when people ask me what I want to do, the only answer I can really give is that I want to change the animal world. I guess all in all is I want to give them their best chance.
What are your outside interests?
One of my biggest outside interests is in Circus Arts. I entered this world 3 or so years ago, and I’m absolutely addicted. As I began with Aerials Silks ( or Fabric), that is my favorite thing to do; but I also enjoy Trapeze, Lyra, Acrobatics, etc.
I also love horseback riding, reading, writing ( I was a creative writing minor after all!), and singing. I originally went into undergrad hoping to pursue Musical Theatre, so the arts will always have a special place in my heart. And I love Disney!
Number of pets? What?
I have two kitties. My first child, Boo, was my first pet on my own, and my second, Meggy, is a foster fail who was a job hazard of working at an animal shelter. They’re both absolutely perfect.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Anything else to share? I’m just excited to get to know and work with people who have the same level of fire and passion to help animals!
MS in Animals and Public Policy
The MS in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) is an intensive, 12-to-16-month graduate degree program that focuses on human-animal relationships and their implications for policy and community action.
Center for Animals and Public Policy
The mission of the Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy (CAPP) is to conduct and encourage scholarly evaluation and understanding of the complex societal issues and public policy dimensions of the changing role and impact of animals in society. Work conducted by the Center is based on the tenets that animal well-being matters, that animal and human well-being are linked, and that both are enhanced through improved understanding of human-animal relationships.