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  • B.A. in Anthropology/History (Environmental Studies Concentration), Albion College, May 2007
  • M.S. in Animals and Public Policy, Tufts University, 2016


Current Position:

Community Cats Rescue trapper

What were you doing before entering the Masters in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) program?

Following a one year experiment with law school during 2010-2011,
I spent a few years waitressing, cat sitting, and working various odd jobs. My primary volunteer activities included three years with Leuk’s Landings (a permanent home for cats with feline leukemia) and fostering neonates with Michigan Orphan Kitten Rescue. In my free time, I enjoyed reading (mostly YA sci-fi/fantasy) and playing intramural sports (softball, volleyball, wallyball, broomball, etc.)

What aspects of MAPP led to your decision to join the program?

I joined the MAPP program because I believed it would offer the opportunity to pursue my passion for animal welfare in an intellectual environment with other individuals who also shared my desire to effect change and make a difference.

In what ways do you use your Masters in Animals and Public Policy degree in your current position?

My current position takes full advantage of the knowledge and skills that I obtained and expanded upon while in the MAPP program. For example:
• As a student, I participated in the Sunday Community Cat Spay/Neuter Clinics for elective credit. My experiences included trapping in the field as well as volunteering at the clinics themselves on campus. As the Community Cats Rescue Agent (CCRA) at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), one of my primary objectives is to trap community cats and bring them to the Community Services Clinic at the shelter for spay/neuter.
• As a student, my course work included articulating animal welfare policy positions to different audiences and stakeholders. As the CCRA at ARL, I converse with the public, donors, volunteers, and even other staff members about the benefits of Trap-Neuter-Return and the importance of addressing community cat issues with a systematic and comprehensive approach.
• As a student, I learned about wildlife rehabilitation efforts through both my core and elective courses. As a member of the Rescue Department at the ARL, I am out in the field rescuing sick & injured wildlife and transporting them to local rehab centers.

Tell us about your MAPP project or preceptorship. In what ways did it help you form your career goals?

I collaborated with the Massachusetts Animal Coalition’s (MAC) Shelter Statistics Task Force to create and analyze an online survey which was distributed to the state’s animal shelter and rescue organizations. The objective of this research project was to learn more about the characteristics of Massachusetts’ animal shelter and/or rescue organizations and the logistics of their record-keeping practices in order to gain insight into what resources might help these groups to more effectively collect, analyze, interpret, and use data in order to better serve the animals in their care. Because this project enabled me to obtain a clearer understanding of the animal sheltering community in Massachusetts, I am more confident in how my current position working with community cats fits into bigger picture.

What did you enjoy most about participating in MAPP?

I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to broaden my animal welfare knowledge beyond the topics which I had previously pursued. While my pre-MAPP experience was largely focused on cats and other companion animals, I can now say that I know a thing or two about bats, bears, bees, beef cattle, and beluga whales as well!

In the News

Theresa was quoted in The Boston Globe’s article on November  27, 2017, “Kitten brought back from the brink of death”:

Published MAPP Capstone Research Survey of Massachusetts Animal Shelter Record-Keeping Practices in 2015

Full list of MAPP capstone research projects >>

Back to MAPP Alumni page