Aiesha Sojourner holding a dog

Aiesha Sojourner


B.A. in Psychology from the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at The City College of New York, 2018
M.S. in Animals and Public Policy, Tufts University, 2021


What were you doing before entering the M.S. in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) program?
During my last semester at City College, I worked at an Endocrine Clinic, helping the Vet with his research focusing on hyperthyroid cats. The following year, I also joined the BluePearl team, an emergency & specialty veterinary hospital. I gained so much knowledge as a surgery assistant and was able to assist the Veterinarian during surgery. This year at Heart of Harlem Veterinary Clinic, I used my surgical knowledge to free six puppies from an intact amniotic sac, cut and suture the umbilical cord/”belly button”, and induce breathing (you can find the video on their Instagram) . The team there is exceedingly kind, and the practice manager was very diligent during COVID. Due to her efforts in keeping with regulation, our small practice was able to stay open during the pandemic.

Interests in and experience with animals prior to joining the MAPP program?
I have spent nearly ten years in animal welfare working as a veterinary assistant, dog walker, kennel attendant, farm hand, you name it. My most rewarding experience—albeit short-lived—was as a New Hope Liaison at Manhattan’s Animal Care Center (formerly known as Animal Control), where I worked with rescue groups throughout the Tristate and New England, to find homes for domestic and exotic/wild animals. This was achieved mostly online and by phone, but I did get to work hands-on assisting the Veterinarians, kennel workers and transport team. I always thought of pursuing a way to help animals through law/policy, but always pictured myself at an NGO as a female Steve Irwin! My time at MACC, using my interpersonal skills to network with rescue groups, along with all my hands-on experience, has solidified my interest in working behind the scenes doing animal policy.

What aspects of MAPP led to your decision to join the program?
I decided to join MAPP because of its long history and network. I knew I would get a top-notch education and overall experience. The campus is beautiful, and the faculty is warm and welcoming. After staying the weekend for the open-house, I felt I belonged here.

What are your outside interests?
My new hobby is DIY furniture! Other than that, I love to dance, write comedy sketches, and watch sci-fi.

Number of pets? What?
I have one elderly, but healthy, curvy girl named Pantera. A 15 year old domestic shorthaired tabby I call by any name but Pantera: Panda, Snorlax, Jiggly Puff, Lady Lumps, Lumpisha, Lumpy Space Princess, etc.

MAPP Externship

As a Legislative Intern at the Humane Society Legislative Fund, I watched and took notes on many Congressional and Senate Floor hearings, providing me with in-depth insight into the legislative process. I gained invaluable knowledge on the detailed process of animal advocacy on a large scale. Learning to write policy documents, along with research skills and the diverse topics from other students in the MAPP program, granted me the proficiency to aid staff with various projects throughout the summer, and create my own eco-friendly, animal welfare bill. Through the research I did during MAPP and the policy knowledge I acquired at Tufts, I was able to create supporting documents for the Big Cat Public Safety Act, transportation/ infrastructure and wildlife crossings bills, among other pending legislation; write to congress members and speak to their staff regarding issues like support to reverse the decision from last congress to delist grey wolves.