Alumni Blythe Owen with an elephant

Blythe Owen


B.A., Psychology, Wheaton College, 2019
M.S. in Animals and Public Policy, Tufts University, 2020


Current Position:
I’m working as a Policy Research Analyst with the Network Science Initiative division of National Journal. I have also been put onto the energy and environment vertical of our work, so I’ve been really enjoying working on a lot of sustainability projects for our clients! In short, I’m a political consultant for third-party organizations focusing on energy and environmental politics.

In what ways do you use your M.S. in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) education in your current position?
I’ve absolutely been able to apply a lot of skills from Communicating Policy and Policy Research and Analysis – as well as general presentation skills from throughout the MAPP year.

What were you doing before entering the MAPP program?
As I just graduated this past May, I spent most of my summer helping my parents move into their new house. In my four years at Wheaton College before this I studied psychology with minors in animal behavior and biology. I studied abroad for a semester in South Africa where I lead field research in different SANPark locations. I volunteered one summer in Thailand working with rescued elephants from trekking and logging conditions. I learned how to run a nonprofit organization and communicate with people around me, specifically people who did not speak English as a first language.

What aspects of MAPP led to your decision to join the program?
I am extremely interested in the policy aspect of animal rights and public awareness. MAPP was the only program I found that tied policy into animal care and animal behavior.

Interests in and experience with animals
I have had a serious interest in working with animals since middle school. In middle and high school, I trained and took care of my own pets along with pet sitting for neighbors. After I entered college, I was able to run research and volunteer at national parks and local zoos.

What are your outside interests?
I have been involved in performance groups for many years including community theater, dance groups, a capella, and steel drums.

Number of pets? What?
One dog named Tipper; he is a rescued mutt that we think is part lab.

MAPP Externship

This summer working with the MSPCA (Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Advocacy team, I learned a lot about communicating with constituents and shifting practices to cope with a pandemic. I also saw the interconnectedness of policy working on eviction resources that could help pet owners. MAPP’s communicating policy course, along with the fact checking skills we learned throughout the year, were essential to succeeding in my role this summer. As the summer continued my communication and writing skills grew stronger and I’m sure will only get better with more time and practice. I was also fortunate to see the strength of building networks with other organizations as we worked with members from the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Humane Society. I know I will use the skills I have built up in research and communication endlessly going into my career and I am forever thankful for the MAPP program and the MSPCA.

See Externship Experience presentation here: