Meena Alagappan MAPP Alumni Profile

Meena Alagappan

Education:

  • B.A. in Anthropology, Cornell University, 1987
  • J.D., Northwestern University School of Law, 1990
  • M.S. in Animals and Public Policy, Tufts University, 2003

Current Position:

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

I was a senior faculty member at Advantage Testing, an academic test preparation company, and an active member of the NYC Bar Association’s Committee on Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals. Prior to that I practiced corporate and securities law at a large firm in Manhattan.

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

I was drawn to the program in 2002 because of my interest in animal rights, its coverage of a wide range of animal protection issues, and the opportunity to study animal law with Steve Wise and Paul Waldau.

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

What I learned from the program provided a solid knowledge base that helped shape HEART’s animal-related humane education resources. It also assisted me in effectively addressing policy-related issues in the CLE courses and public programs developed, and the reports written, during my terms chairing both the NYC Bar’s Committee on Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals and the ABA-TIPS Animal Law Committee.

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

My MAPP project was on the expansion of humane education through the development of “Animals and Society” courses in liberal arts colleges. I learned a lot working with Ronnie Copeland and reading Martha Nussbaum’s books Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education and Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions. Understanding the power of story in fostering empathy and compassion has definitely shaped the way HEART teaches humane education. It’s interesting how things turn out, but the Chair of HEART is also the person who endowed the amazing Animal Studies Initiative at New York University!

What did you enjoy most about participating in MAPP?

My wonderful classmates and their delightful dogs!

Is there anything else you would like to share with prospective MAPP students?

I think students should never underestimate the power of their own convictions and should try not to get discouraged by any lack of clarity on the job front upon graduation. Positions can sometimes be created and volunteering can frequently lead to great opportunities, so trust your hearts (no pun intended!).