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B.S., Animal Behavior with Minors in Anthropology, Biology, and Studio Art, Indiana University, 2015
M.S. in Animals and Public Policy, Tufts University, 2019

Current Position:
Training Program Coordinator, The Dog Care Academy at St. Francis House. The Dog Care Academy is job training program for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and interested in pursuing a career in the pet industry.

What were you doing before entering the Masters in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) program?
Research Assistant at the University of Alabama. Since graduating from IU, I have worked at a painting studio where I taught painting techniques to all ages, I have my own freelance art business, and was an adoption assistant Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control. I also did a semester of high school substitute teaching, and I spent this past summer in Alabama, interviewing large-scale rural landowners about their opinions of wildlife, wildlife management, and landownership.

What aspects of MAPP led to your decision to join the program?
After visiting the open house, I realized that the other students are just as driven and inspired as I am, and the program looks like it will connect me to some amazing students and professionals!

In what ways do you use your MAPP in your current position?
For my current position, I am designing and implementing a hands-on job training program in the pet care industry for individuals who are experiencing or vulnerable to homelessness in the city of Boston. As I recruit and screen applicants for the job training program, I’m always utilizing my training and understanding of the human-animal bond. An incredibly wide variety of people apply to participate in the training program, all with a shared love for animals, and different ideas of where they could take this career into their future. I repeatedly warn applicants that working with and for animals takes more than just “being a dog person”—it can be physically demanding, dirty, and surprisingly focused on human needs and interactions. Upon acceptance to the job training program, I work with participants to identify their strengths and interests and provide them with the resources they need to gain meaningful employment in a growing field. When designing the curriculum so far, several aspects of the MAPP program have been invaluable to me— a major one is the perspectives I gained from my classmates, who shared so much of their past work experiences and future goals that I have a greater image of what career paths exist working with animals. Also, the MAPP program introduced me to countless community-based approaches/services for companion animals, and I feel confident sharing these potential career paths with my students as well.

Tell us about your MAPP research project or externship. In what ways did it help you form your career goals?
I’m an animal, you’re an animal. In the research track, I completed a mixed-methods research project exploring how law and policy students in the U.S. conceptualize their biological and social identity as an animal species (Homo sapiens), and how this information relates to their political concerns for nonhuman animals. I’m really interested in what it means to people to “be an animal” (eating, sleeping, growing, defecating, breathing, dying, human beings!), and how people comprehend the human in larger-than-human contexts. I thought I already had adequate experience in conducting research before this program, but from start to finish, this project was a learning curve! Still, the process confirmed that I really do love conducting social science research, would like to pursue a doctorate degree in Anthropology, and eventually become a professor in this field.

What did you like most about the MAPP program?
Smaller classes that were discussion-heavy, which were usually electives, such as Intro to Human-Animal Interactions. I also appreciated the projects that allowed us to be creative and practice public speaking.

Is there anything else you would like to share with prospective MAPP students?
Sometimes the content in class is heavy and depressing and makes you mad at the world, so remember to take deep breaths, make time to hang with your friends, and turn your anger into solutions!
Also, bring Tupperware to the lunch talks so you can take the food home with you!

Interests in and experience with animals
My interests are in global human and animal relationships. I like to approach the topic via human psychology and anthropology to better understand why humans act the way that we do with other animals. I’m most interested in how humans self-identify as primates and accept evolutionary theory into their belief systems. My experience with animals is eclectic. Ranging from primate behavior and rehabilitation, researching eco-tourist’s motivations, researching landowner’s opinions of wildlife, shelter adoptions, dog boarding & grooming, etc. From my experiences, I have found that I most enjoy working in an international and academic setting.

What are your outside interests?
I spend about half of my energies on artwork– right now I’m really into textiles. I also am into yoga, the outdoors, and good tv!

Final Project Research Summary 2018:
Do Humans Know They Are Animals? Exploring the Psychology and Behaviors Associated with an Animal Identity

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

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