C. Elise Michaels
Master’s in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) Candidate 2020
B.A., Psychology, UMass 2018
What were you doing before entering the Masters in Animals and Public Policy program?
I have spent the past few years finishing my undergraduate education while pursuing interests outside of school. I’ve been volunteering as a teacher for immigrants and refugees, as well as expanding art from a hobby into a more marketable skill. However, I have loved animals and animal studies for years, and wanted to pursue a further education in this area.
What aspects of MAPP led to your decision to join the program?
I’m excited by the opportunity to work with a small cohort after spending my undergraduate years at larger institutions. There was no question that I wanted to pursue an education in animal studies. I spend an almost embarrassing amount of time at the New England Aquarium, and the MAPP program would help me develop both the knowledge base and applicable skills to follow in the steps of the researchers and educators I so admire there.
Interests in and experience with animals
I have had pets for my whole life, but also worked with non-companion animals. Working on a small farm in Germany gave me the opportunity to interact with animals raised for food and use in agriculture, far from the pampered dogs of my own life. It is my dream, however, to be able to work with octopuses, a creature that I have so far been unable to have hands-on experience with. Their intelligence and unique physiology has intrigued me since I was old enough to read about them.
What do you want to focus on at MAPP? What drew you to this?
I hope to gain the skills and experience to work in the gap between researchers and laypersons. By learning how to communicate and affect change, I hope to have an impact on the way those outside of academia regard and interact with non-human animals.
What are your career goals?
I aspire to work at an aquarium like the NEAQ, or a similar type of institution, as an educator or outreach specialist. It would also be exciting to be able to investigate cultural norms outside of the west, such as interactions with village dogs and other animals that live beside humans.
What are your outside interests?
I enjoy languages and speak Mandarin fluently and Yiddish conversationally. As a hobby, I enjoy creating art and recently got some of my work into a local gallery, which was as surprising as it was exciting.
Number of pets? What?
My fiancé and I have two dogs, both scruffy mixed-breed terriers from shelters. Marcie, roughly four years old, is anxious but very bright. Morty, still in late puppyhood, will hopefully complete therapy dog training and be able to volunteer with me by the end of the year.