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Kiersten Hartnagel

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

B.S., Pre-veterinary medicine, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2020

What were you doing before entering the Masters in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) program?
I recently just graduated from UMass Amherst with my bachelor’s degree in pre-veterinary medicine. I spent the last 13 months training a goldador to become a service dog- she graduated July 31st. I have spent my summer focused on making the most of my time left with her by doing hikes, public outings, training, and of course lots of cuddles.

What aspects of MAPP led to your decision to join the program?
I was looking for careers to pursue after receiving my bachelor’s and I was really interested in animal welfare. After looking into careers previous graduates pursued, I was very interested in all the possibilities this program will open up to me. I am very interested in animal welfare and human-animal interaction and I think this program will allow me to make a positive impact in these aspects throughout society.

Interests in and experience with animals:
I have been working with and training service dogs since December 2017. I worked in an animal shelter, administering vaccines, blood draws, medications, and adopting out the animals. I was also lucky enough to spend the summer of 2019 in Ecuador working with wildlife doing rehabilitation and working closely with the Ecuadorian government to ensure animal laws were being followed. This also included a lot of animal enrichment and socialization. I briefly worked in a veterinary clinic, which I did not enjoy. I also worked in a research lab working with canine mammary tumors trying to find a cure for cancer, which would then be transferred to human cancer. My undergraduate at UMass Amherst also allowed me to get plenty of hands on experience with livestock animals- goats, sheep, horses, chickens, cows.

What do you want to focus on at MAPP? What drew you to this area?
I am very excited to learn about animals’ behavior and how it impacts human-animal interaction. I am also excited to learn about animal policy and how that effects our everyday interactions with animals. I am eager in learning how I can change the policies for the benefits of animals.

What are your career goals?
I am honestly not sure, but I’m open to different career paths. I know I want to get involved in some type of shelter work or policy work that pertains to animal welfare. I did this research project in undergraduate where I had to educate the class on puppy mills, and it was truly horrifying reading how awful their lives are and how little is done to change it. I want to make a positive change to policies to ensure these animals are living their best lives.

What are your outside interests?
I have spent the last 3 years of my free time training service dogs or working basically full time. I also like to watch Netflix or play a game of fetch with my cat.

Number of pets? What type?
I have a 2.5-year-old calico cat named Callie. She thinks she’s a dog and loves to play fetch.

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