B.A., Biology, Wells College, 2013
Position just prior to MAPP:
Veterinary Assistant/ Office Manager for the International Animal Clinic. Practicing Wildlife Rehabilitator for the Wild Bird Fund
What were you doing before entering the MAPP program?
Immediately after graduating from college I was employed as Veterinary Assistant for a small animal clinic and gradually promoted as Office Manager. In my free time I volunteered for NYC’s first wildlife rehabilitation center, Wild Bird Fund, while working towards obtaining a license as a Wildlife rehabilitator.
What aspects of MAPP led to your decision to join the program?
Upon reading an article about the works of Steven Wise, animal lawyer and founder of the Nonhuman Rights Project, I had a eureka moment. At the time I knew veterinary medicine would not completely fulfill my incentive to become a public servant for animal welfare. I immediately began to research programs related to animal public policy—hence Tuft’s Master’s Program of Animal Public Policy!
Interests in and experience with animals
My earliest childhood memory always revolved around cats and parakeets, which was not always the best mix. My very first job was basically recording the number of piping plovers in the Rockaway beaches of NY. Since then I became very curious and marveled about birds and cats. However, upon learning about Steven Wise and Peter Singer, I realized it was a curiosity beyond animal behavior—it was about their current and changing place in society.
What do you want to focus on at MAPP? What drew you to this?
If there continues to be human overpopulation/homelessness, discrimination and abuse then animal issues can be easily overlooked. I want to gain the foundations to challenge a society with a heavy history of systematic oppression, against people and animals.
What are your career goals?
My goal was always to become a veterinarian but, until recently, it felt lacking in my mission to become an advocate and educator for human and animal well-being. Ultimately, I would like to help change the way we see nonhuman animals whether cognitively or deserving humane treatment.
What are your outside interests?
I enjoy yoga, calligraphy, bird watching and watching a good comedy show.
Number of pets? What?
I currently live with three Domestic Shorthair (DSH) cats who were rescued from my neighborhood.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Let us revisit the way we place animals in society and have a conversation that challenges anthropomorphism and speciesism.
- Virginia Shugrue
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.