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Sky Sobol

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

B.S., Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, University of Arizona, 2016

What were you doing before entering the Masters in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) program?
I worked a few different jobs involving dogs. My first dog related job after college was a Kennel Technician and later a Training and Enrichment Assistant at a dog rescue. Later I worked as an Assistant Trainer for a small dog training company in Portland. Unfortunately, during lockdown there wasn’t much I could do, so I focused on teaching my dog the foundations of tracking and getting her AKC Trick Dog titles.

What aspects of MAPP led to your decision to join the program?
Initially what drew me to the program is the uniqueness and interdisciplinary approach of the MAPP program. I have not seen any other program that combines human-animal relationships, ethics, public policy, and communication. I’m also excited by the idea of working with others who have passionate and diverse interests in animals and animal wellbeing. Joining the MAPP program will enable me to continue exploring topics that fascinate me and will help me realize my career goals.

Interests in and experience with animals
I’ve been working with shelter dogs since I was 13 and have continued to volunteer with and be employed by various rescues and humane societies. I’ve always had a strong interest in training, enrichment, behavior, and human-canine interaction.
My interest in cognition and behavior guided me on my undergraduate path. During my time as an undergrad, I went to Rwanda and conducted a research project on the cognitive ecology of the non-human primates of Rwanda. I later joined the Human-Animal Interaction Research initiative and worked on many projects related to physiological and psychological benefits of animal therapy.
I also worked as a Kennel Technician and later Canine Enrichment and Training Assistant at Luvable dog rescue for two years, which furthered my interests in animal welfare.
My main interests are shelter dog welfare and management, the effects of animal assisted activities/therapy on human and animal participants, and animal behavior and cognition. I also have strong interest in the welfare of human workers in animal related fields.

What do you want to focus on at MAPP? What drew you to this area?
I want to focus on strengthening my research, writing, and oral communication skills. No matter what path I end up taking, strengthening these skills will enable me to better help animals and the people that work with them.

What are your career goals?
Although I have a few ideas of what I might like to do, I want to keep my options open. I’m excited to see where the MAPP program will take me.

What are your outside interests?
I enjoy running, road tripping, hiking, horseback riding, and being outdoors. I also like photography, doing canine nosework with my dog, and watching Netflix.

Number of pets? What type?
My family has a pit bull mix named Pongo. She’s is a good couch potato, friend, and adventure buddy.

MAPP Capstone Research Project: Comparing the Effects of Different Types of Dog Training Classes on Dog Behavior

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