Picture of Ericca Gandolfo

Ericca Gandolfo

Education

B.A., Communications & Culture Major, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Minor, Clark University, 2015
M.S. in Animals and Public Policy, Tufts University, 2021

Biography

What were you doing before entering the M.S. in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) program?
Before entering the MAPP program, I was an Administrative Assistant at Boston Consulting Group. The majority of my free time spent volunteering on the Adoptions Team of Muddy Paws Rescue, a foster- based dog rescue in NYC.

What aspects of MAPP led to your decision to join the program?
In researching graduate programs, I found the MAPP program to be the only one of its kind. The moment I read the curriculum and saw an emphasis on human-animal relationships, animal welfare, and animal policy, I knew no other program could compare.

Interests in and experience with animals prior to joining the MAPP program
From an early age, I spent my free time volunteering with animals and working countless hours to improve their welfare. From caring for rescued chinchillas and hedgehogs to reticulated pythons, and dogs, I truly find that with as much compassion I give to animals, I always feel rewarded back ten-fold. In 2018, I began my volunteer journey with Muddy Paws Rescue. I learned how to support staff welcoming new rescue dogs off of transport and how to be an Adoptions Counselor, facilitate interviews, process adoption applications, and review criteria to determine approval status. The more experience I gained, the more familiar I became with the many challenges impacting the rescue community nationwide, the lack of resources, and the need for a continuous movement to invoke legislation that will result in lasting change.

What are your outside interests?
I love spending quality time with my family and friends. Whether I’m with them or on my own, I like to exercise, travel, and spend time outside hiking, swimming, or skiing. On rainy days I enjoy visiting local museums and seeing on or off-Broadway productions.

Number of pets? What?
I have one dog, Daisy Dream. I adopted her from Animal Care Centers of NYC, and she gets more loving every day. Her breed is unknown, but my best guess is she’s a Coon Hound, American Pitbull Terrier mix.

MAPP Externship

For the final component of my M.S. in Animals and Public Policy, I selected the applied track and completed my externship requirement with the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) in Washington, D.C. For three months, I supported the Government Affairs department as a Legislative Intern. I had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects and issues, including preparing documents for meetings with Congressional offices, writing articles, a book review, social media campaigns, and outreach for federal legislation, such as the INVEST in America Act and the MINKS are Superspreaders Act.

In my time at AWI, I learned first-hand the intricacies of animal policymaking and was able to apply lessons and skills I gained the months prior during my time in the MAPP program. In addition to laying down the foundations of animal welfare, advocacy, and policymaking, the curriculum focused on strengthening my ability to communicate effectively, prepare for inevitable opposition, and still drive change. Being at AWI following the completion of my MAPP classes allowed me to practice much of what I learned in the classroom and furthered my understanding of animal advocacy and policymaking today.