Alumni Jillian Morrell next to an elephant

Jillian Morrell


  • B.S., Pre-Veterinary Science, University of Massachusetts Amherst, May 2018
  • M.S. in Animals and Public Policy, Tufts University, 2020


Current Position:
Candidate for Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine

What were you doing before entering the Masters in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) program?
Prior to entry into the MAPP program at Tufts, I studied at UMass Amherst, pursuing my undergraduate degree in Pre-Veterinary Science. During my studies, I also worked at the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, MA, helping to maintain the medical health and needs of all the animals within the shelter. I was also given the opportunity to assist by fostering a variety of animals that need extra attention due to medical conditions or abandonment.

What aspects of MAPP led to your decision to join the program?
It was apparent that the MAPP program would be an excellent stepping stone leading me to my end goal of becoming a veterinarian. This program provides a vast understanding of the rapidly growing cross-disciplinary field of anthrozoology and the changing roles of animals in society, including their economic and psychological impact.

Interests in and experience with animals
Since I was a young girl, I have always had a passion for animals. It all began when my family rescued our first cat. As I got older, I directed myself toward an agricultural high school that allowed for the development of many necessary skills within the veterinary field. This helped me to secure a job working at the kennel of a local veterinary clinic. I was quickly able to work my way from up to a Vet Tech, assisting doctors with daily work and exams. I was also provided the opportunity to assist in surgeries. Once entering college, I became more aware of the desperate condition many shelters are in, due to being understaffed and full of animals in need. Throughout my college career, I devoted myself to making their lives better and becoming an advocate for these animals without a voice.

What do you want to focus on at MAPP? What drew you to this?
After spending years working with shelter animals, I feel strongly that this work will remain a part of my life forever. I aspire to have a lasting impact that alters their lives for the better. I feel very passionate about the Animals in the Community section of the electives courses and the opportunities it offers to become involved with the Tufts Center for Shelter Dogs, Paws for People, and the Pet Loss Hotline.

What are your career goals?
As a future veterinarian, I strive to provide optimal care and services to animals in a medical setting.  I plan to use what I have learned here, at Tufts, to help influence regulations and policies that will improve the lives of animals outside of the clinic and in the community. The curriculum will provide me with a better understanding of the complex ethical, political, and social issues involved in human-animal relationship research. This will aid in navigating through boundaries, advancing knowledge and implementing new policies to safeguard animals at the local shelter or on an international level.

What are your outside interests?
Other than fostering animals in need, I enjoy traveling around the world and exploring the culture and history of those places. Some places that I have been lucky enough to visit include Canada, Mexico, Italy, Greece, and Thailand. I love to be outdoors hiking, kayaking and sharing my experiences with any dogs that want to join me!

MAPP Capstone Research Project

“Feline Dental Care in New England Animal Shelters”

The purpose of this study is to understand the scope of dental care provided by animal shelters in New England for cats and the impact of feline dental disease on cats and their adopters.
Made possible by the generous support of
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)