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Ericca Gandolfo

Master’s in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) Candidate 2021

B.A., Communications & Culture Major, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Minor, Clark University, 2015

What were you doing before entering the Masters in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) program?
Before entering the MAPP program, I was an Administrative Assistant at Boston Consulting Group. The majority of my free time spent volunteering on the Adoptions Team of Muddy Paws Rescue, a foster- based dog rescue in NYC.

What aspects of MAPP led to your decision to join the program?
In researching graduate programs, I found the MAPP program to be the only one of its kind. The moment I read the curriculum and saw an emphasis on human-animal relationships, animal welfare, and animal policy, I knew no other program could compare.

Interests in and experience with animals?
From an early age, I spent my free time volunteering with animals and working countless hours to improve their welfare. From caring for rescued chinchillas and hedgehogs to reticulated pythons, and dogs, I truly find that with as much compassion I give to animals, I always feel rewarded back ten-fold. In 2018, I began my volunteer journey with Muddy Paws Rescue. I learned how to support staff welcoming new rescue dogs off of transport and how to be an Adoptions Counselor, facilitate interviews, process adoption applications, and review criteria to determine approval status. The more experience I gained, the more familiar I became with the many challenges impacting the rescue community nationwide, the lack of resources, and the need for a continuous movement to invoke legislation that will result in lasting change.

What do you want to focus on at MAPP? What drew you to this?
I want to focus on the Applied Track as I am most interested in advocacy and policy change. In addition to the reasons mentioned above, I interned with a non-profit, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (NYAGV). NYAGV is committed to reducing gun violence through legislative advocacy, education, and outreach. All purposed to encourage action and lead to policy change. I had the opportunity to shadow lobbyists in Albany, NY, and called upon Assembly Members to gain their support on new gun violence prevention bills. The experience taught me how powerful our voices could be with the right approach and language. When I first discovered the MAPP program, I instantly knew I found the step I have been looking for to inform and support my career goals in animal welfare with the greatest impact.

What are your career goals?
My career goal is to build a constructive career that redefines the human-animal relationship in society and ultimately improves animal welfare and protection.

What are your outside interests?
I love spending quality time with my family and friends. Whether I’m with them or on my own, I like to exercise, travel, and spend time outside hiking, swimming, or skiing. On rainy days I enjoy visiting local museums and seeing on or off-Broadway productions.

Number of pets? What?
I have one dog, Daisy Dream. I adopted her from Animal Care Centers of NYC, and she gets more loving every day. Her breed is unknown, but my best guess is she’s a Coon Hound, American Pitbull Terrier mix.

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