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B.A., English, University of New Hampshire, Durham, 2005
M.A. in Teaching, Education Concentration, Simmons College, 2009
M.S. in Animals and Public Policy, Tufts University, 2016

Current Position:
Digital Communications Coordinator at Four Paws

In what ways do you use your Masters in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) degree in your current position?
I truly use the skills I learned in the MAPP program every day. At Four Paws, we work on many different animal welfare issues all over the world, relating to wildlife, companion animals, and farm animals. You never know what rescues/topics are going to come up in a given workday, and because of the knowledge I gained from the MAPP program, I am able to communicate with my peers on any issue that arises.

Since I work in the communications department at Four Paws, my main task is thinking about how to present issues to the general public and to motivate people to act (to support a cause or animal, to sign a petition, to donate, to change their behavior). The MAPP program gives you the necessary skills and practice to think about how we communicate animal issues to the greater world.

Tell us about your MAPP project or preceptorship. In what ways did it help you form your career goals?
I had a wonderful experience with my externship/preceptorship. I worked with Dr. Jennifer Jackman on the Public Attitudes Towards Seals pilot study on Nantucket. Working on this study gave me the opportunity to be a part of a research team from survey collection and analysis through to presenting the research at conferences as well as co-authoring a paper in Marine Policy. It has been really satisfying to be a part of a scientific study that is now being used by animal advocates to help promote continued protection for seals.

Through this externship, Dr. Jackman introduced me to many of the leading scientists who work on pinniped and other marine mammal issues, both at scientific and government organizations like Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and NOAA as well as animal welfare groups like IFAW and HSUS. It was exciting to be able to meet these amazing people, and I came to feel a part of the marine mammal and ocean protection world. Being immersed in the science and advocacy of marine issues has given me a wide range of experiences, knowledge, and connections that are useful in my current job.

What aspects of MAPP led to your decision to join the program?
I liked that the program seemed to have practical application, rather than just theoretical. I want to actively help animals, not just talk about helping them.

What were you doing before entering the MAPP program?
Working in the arts for a few years— most recently I’ve been focused on writing a science fiction novel which I hope to publish someday, and working on a documentary film about a small farm on Whidbey Island, WA.

What did you enjoy most about participating in MAPP?
I loved being in a place where everyone around you cares about animals. We animal people are sometimes viewed as a bit quirky by mainstream society, but for one year you are surrounded by people who also love animals and want to think and talk about ways to improve the lives of animals.

I also feel like I learned something new every day of the MAPP program. Whether related to animal science, human psychology, government, or policy, it was exciting to realize how much more there is to learn about the world.

Is there anything else you would like to share with prospective MAPP students?
I am very glad that I experienced the MAPP program. I made lifelong friendships and had the opportunity to meet some of the leading figures in the animal protection world. Because of the MAPP program, I am now able to pursue a career in ocean conservation and marine mammal protection, which is something I never would have been able to do without this degree. The program really changed the way I view the world, and I now feel like I have the skills in policy, science, and communication to help create positive progress for animals.

MAPP Externship Summaries and Presentations 2016 Click here

Selected Publications and Presentations

* Jackman J, Bettencourt L, Vaske J, Sweeney M, Bloom K, Rutberg A, Brook B. (2018) “Conflict and consensus in stakeholder views of seal management on Nantucket Island, MA, USA.” Marine Policy, DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2018.03.006

* Jackman, J., Bettencourt, R. (2017) “Seals, Conflicts and Public Policy: A Study of Voter Attitudes Toward Seals on Nantucket” 2017 Presentation, Society for Marine Mammalogy’s Biennial Conference, Halifax Nova Scotia, Tuesday, October 24, 2017

* Jackman, J., Bettencourt, R. (2017): “Stakeholder View of Seals, Conflicts and Public Policy: A Survey of Attitudes toward Seals Among Voters, Anglers and Tourists on Nantucket” Presentation, Marine Mammal Commission Annual Meeting, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, on April 6, 2017

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