B.S., Biology & Psychology, University of Georgia, 2015
M.S. in Animals and Public Policy, Tufts University, 2020
Community Outreach Specialist, Atlanta Humane Society
What were you doing before entering the Masters in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) program?
After graduating college, I sought opportunities to spend more time with animals, so I began volunteering with a local service dog organization, Canine Assistants. A year into volunteering, I began working at the Atlanta Humane Society as an adoptions counselor. Over my last three years at AHS, I worked in adoptions, admissions, and animal care, and assisted with the shelter medicine, community outreach, disaster response, and cruelty investigation teams. I love being in a shelter environment and have done as much as I could to be involved with all facets of sheltering and animal welfare.
What aspects of MAPP led to your decision to join the program?
The broad scope of the MAPP program and the diversity of the student body stood out among other graduate programs. It’s been very encouraging to see an academic program inclusive of people with different backgrounds and work histories. I sought to join MAPP because of its view of animals and society as a whole, its strong network of professors and professionals, and its reputation within the academic world. After looking at potential schools and programs for so long, the MAPP program just felt like the right fit!
Interests in and experience with animals
Having grown up with dogs and cats, I have always enjoyed the company of animals.
After college I began volunteering with Canine Assistants, helping in their nursery, on dog socialization outings, and through their foster program. I later went on to work at the Atlanta Humane Society, where I dove into animal welfare as much as I could. I have spent the past three years with experts in animal medicine, shelter medicine, disaster response, law enforcement, and animal behavior in lots of wild places. Some of these places include: a hoarding case of 80+ dogs, an emergency shelter in an abandoned Home Depot, an outdoor clinic in the middle of a thunderstorm, and underneath cars trying to catch rogue cats. I’ve also enjoyed spending time with the thousands of animals that pass through our shelter who have shown me just how wonderful pets and people are together.
Throughout my experiences I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of pet ownership. I am interested in staying in the sheltering field and hope to move back to the Southeast US to continue creating and implementing programs to decrease pet overpopulation and improve the quality of life for those in a shelter environment.
What are your outside interests?
Houseplants/indoor gardening, reading, yoga
Number of pets? What?
Two family dogs- Casey (7-year-old Shepherd mix) and Josie (1.5 year old hound mix), and one newly adopted tabby cat (1 year old)
This summer I interned with the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and their Community Services department. My primary role was to assist ARL staff in communicating with the public and to schedule clients and their pets for wellness and spay/neuter services. My experiences in the MAPP program helped prepare me for community work by encouraging analysis of broad systemic issues from an objective and non-judgmental perspective. I had the opportunity to speak directly with pet owners facing hardships before and during COVID-19 as well as assist ARL while they worked to address racial and economic inequalities related to animal welfare. As a result, I gained confidence in my ability to communicate and share information with the public and act in a public-facing role. The new perspectives, ideas, and problem-solving skills emphasized by MAPP and ARL have motivated me to become a better community and animal welfare advocate.