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Jessica Baldeck

Education:
B.A., Anthropology, UMass Boston, 2012
M.S. in Animals and Public Policy, Tufts University, 2019

What were you doing before entering the Masters in Animals and Public Policy program?
I was working as an Environmental Educator at a nature center in Norwell, MA for the past 4 years. I taught kids of all ages natural science topics ranging from freshwater macroinvertebrates to animal engineers. I was also one of the educators responsible for the daily care of the center’s animal ambassadors. Our animal ambassadors included several species of native reptiles and amphibians, two lizards, a red-tailed hawk, a great horned owl, and a flock of chickens.

What aspects of MAPP led to your decision to join the program?
I first discovered the MAPP program as a senior in college. Even though I was pleasantly surprised that there were other ways to have a career helping animals that didn’t involve veterinary medicine, I was actually intimidated by the word “policy” and didn’t think that the program would be a good fit for me at the time. After I worked with the animals at the nature center for a couple of years, I realized that there were opportunities for change in the way that the animal ambassadors were cared for and used as educational animals. Having this realization shifted my viewpoint of the word “policy” from something I was hesitant about to a catalyst for positive change for many creatures. I’m so glad that I rediscovered this program last year because I believe that the wide range of animal-related issues that are covered in this program will provide me with the information that I need to make a positive impact in the animal welfare world.

Interests in and experience with animals
I think my love of animals started with the small pets that I had while growing up. I had a lot of fish, a hamster, a parakeet, and 2 hermit crabs. When I adopted my first rabbit in 10th grade (she was actually a class pet!), my love for animals grew exponentially! Before my experience working with the animals at the nature center, I volunteered at a local animal shelter for a year after high school and interned as an education docent at the Stone Zoo right after college. My background in biological anthropology helped me educate the public about the zoo’s primates, especially their new baby gibbon, as well as human’s close relation to them.
As far as my interests go, I absolutely adore rabbits as companion animals and have a deep appreciation for our native wildlife. I’m fascinated by animal behavior and believe that educating the public about an animal’s behavior is the key to humans being able to cherish and live peacefully with them.

What are your outside interests?
In addition to playing with my rabbit, I love gardening, nature photography, and watching Disney movies.

Number of pets? What?
I currently have one rabbit named Shadow. She is the perfect blend of cuddliness and mischief!

Final Project Research Summary 2018: Alternatives for Learning About Wildlife in Captive Settings

MS in Animals and Public Policy Student Externship and Research Poster Presentations 2018

Back to MAPP Alumni page

Full list of MAPP capstone research projects