Alumni Shannon Giguere with a horse

Shannon Giguere


B.A., Psychology, Colby-Sawyer College, 2019
M.S. in Animals and Public Policy, Tufts University, 2021


Current Position:
Therapeutic Riding Instructor, Strongwater Farm Therapeutic Equestrian Center

What were you doing before entering the Masters in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) program?
I was at Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire studying Psychology and interning at Full Circle Farm Therapeutic Horsemanship.

What aspects of MAPP led to your decision to join the program?
I was considering coming to Tufts to pursue a DVM, but after attending the Adventures in Veterinary Medicine program in high school, I realized that a career as a veterinarian may not be a good fit for me. I still had a passion for animals and a desire to incorporate them into my career, so I was excited to learn about the MAPP program and all of the unique opportunities it had to offer for people like me.

Interests in and experience with animals
I have been horseback riding since I was seven years old and grew up with dogs and other various furry friends in my home. I have worked at barns and doggie daycares, and am the go-to pet sitter for my friends and family. More recently I have begun exploring the benefits of animal assisted-therapy through volunteer opportunities and internships.

What do you want to focus on at MAPP? What drew you to this area?
I am planning on pursuing the applied track in order to focus specifically on human-animal relationships. I am hoping to expand on the knowledge I gained through my time at a therapeutic horseback riding facility and learn about giving animals a purpose while also improving the lives of those interacting with them.

What are your career goals?
I am hoping to work in the field of animal-assisted therapy. My goal is to learn through experience in the MAPP program and find a career path that I am passionate about.

What are your outside interests?
Other than riding horses, I like music, singing, and making pottery.

Number of pets? What type?
My family has two dogs: Benny, a 14-year-old Havanese, and Riley, a 10-year-old Maltipoo.

MAPP Externship

As a therapeutic horsemanship intern for Perkins’ Rein in a Dream, I was involved not only in the day to day operations of the lesson program, but also assisted with the re-accreditation of the facility as a PATH premier center. One of my most rewarding job responsibilities was lesson support. I was able to observe seasoned instructors and learn from their confidence and expertise. I also saw first-hand the everyday operations of the program and what it takes to run an organization of this kind.
The MAPP program prepared me for many aspects of this job, but perhaps most helpful was the way it formed me as a communicator. Being an instructor calls for clear and competent communication, and through my coursework I developed a strong voice. I came into the program with experience in the equine industry but had never explored the aspects of animal welfare and the impact of policy decisions on these outcomes. I now see my career differently. I am not only an instructor of people, but an advocate for animals. The MAPP program expanded my view of the field I have wanted to pursue my whole life, and I am extremely grateful for all that I have learned.

See Externship Experience presentation here: