Master’s in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) Candidate 2020
B.S., Biology & Psychology, University of Georgia, 2015
What were you doing before entering the Masters in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) program?
After graduating college, I sought opportunities to spend more time with animals, so I began volunteering with a local service dog organization, Canine Assistants. A year into volunteering, I began working at the Atlanta Humane Society as an adoptions counselor. Over my last three years at AHS, I worked in adoptions, admissions, and animal care, and assisted with the shelter medicine, community outreach, disaster response, and cruelty investigation teams. I love being in a shelter environment and have done as much as I could to be involved with all facets of sheltering and animal welfare.
What aspects of MAPP led to your decision to join the program?
The broad scope of the MAPP program and the diversity of the student body stood out among other graduate programs. It’s been very encouraging to see an academic program inclusive of people with different backgrounds and work histories. I sought to join MAPP because of its view of animals and society as a whole, its strong network of professors and professionals, and its reputation within the academic world. After looking at potential schools and programs for so long, the MAPP program just felt like the right fit!
Interests in and experience with animals
Having grown up with dogs and cats, I have always enjoyed the company of animals.
After college I began volunteering with Canine Assistants, helping in their nursery, on dog socialization outings, and through their foster program. I later went on to work at the Atlanta Humane Society, where I dove into animal welfare as much as I could. I have spent the past three years with experts in animal medicine, shelter medicine, disaster response, law enforcement, and animal behavior in lots of wild places. Some of these places include: a hoarding case of 80+ dogs, an emergency shelter in an abandoned Home Depot, an outdoor clinic in the middle of a thunderstorm, and underneath cars trying to catch rogue cats. I’ve also enjoyed spending time with the thousands of animals that pass through our shelter who have shown me just how wonderful pets and people are together.
Throughout my experiences I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of pet ownership. I am interested in staying in the sheltering field and hope to move back to the Southeast US to continue creating and implementing programs to decrease pet overpopulation and improve the quality of life for those in a shelter environment.
What do you want to focus on at MAPP? What drew you to this?
While I want to work with domestic animals, I want to focus on broadening my understanding of wild and exotic animals and how they fit into the fabric of our culture. I believe that my getting a better understanding of other fields and topics will help me become a better animal advocate- wherever I end up working.
What are your career goals?
My current goals are to work in the sheltering world creating, implementing, and modifying shelter programs to enable better treatment of animals in shelters, communication between rescue organizations, and education of communities regarding pet health and care. Coming from an area and helping others that have a huge pet overpopulation problem, I know we have a long way to go to correct this issue. I want to continue to work with the most experienced and innovative people in animal welfare to make our communities more humane.
What are your outside interests?
Houseplants/indoor gardening, reading, yoga
Number of pets? What?
Two family dogs- Casey (7-year-old Shepherd mix) and Josie (1.5 year old hound mix), and one newly adopted tabby cat (1 year old)