Alumni Tania Roa feeding a llama

Tania Roa

Education

B.A., Psychology with minor in Animal Science, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, 2018
M.S. in Animals and Public Policy, Tufts University, 2020

Biography

Current Position:
Digital Communications and Internships Manager, Biodiversity for a Livable Climate, Cambridge, MA

In what ways do you use your MAPP in your current position?
I actively connect the dots between human, animal, and planet health. The MAPP program taught me that these are all interconnected. To spread awareness for this philosophy, I use the writing techniques I practiced during MAPP. Rather than only allowing academic writing, the professors encourage creative and advocacy writing, as well.

Tell us about your MAPP project or preceptorship. In what ways did it help you form your career goals?
Interning with World Animal Net was my first experience working remotely. I gained experience in creating online content, working with people living in different parts of the world, and disseminating information to specific audiences. I learned the importance of using digital platforms for advocacy work. The internet has become a large part of our everyday lives, so I am sure I will be using these skills throughout the rest of my career.

What did you like most about the MAPP program?
I liked almost everything, but if I had to decide, I would choose two things:
1. A lot of the classes were discussion-based. They allowed me to learn more about my classmates and to hear from different perspectives. This format also validated everyone’s experience.
2. I also really enjoyed the close-knit community. The faculty and staff were welcoming. I always felt included in conversations. Considering I did not know anyone when I arrived (I had never stepped foot in Massachusetts before I moved for the program), this was important to me.

What were you doing before entering the M.S. in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) program?
I took a gap year to finish my undergraduate research project, volunteer, work on graduate school applications, and travel. I taught an Animal-Assisted Therapy and Animal Welfare class at a women’s prison. Then I toured around the countries of New Zealand and Iceland. Lastly, I participated in political actions regarding animal rights and environmental issues that affect wildlife and humans alike.

What aspects of MAPP led to your decision to join the program?
I have always had a passion for changing the world by shifting the way we view and, in turn, treat animals. This program illustrates that concept better than I could have imagined. The other programs I applied to were focused on animal-assisted therapy. Although that still interests me, I love that this program also emphasizes animal welfare. This program is unique for its ability to promote careers that benefit both animals and humans.

Interests in and experience with animals
I have had a variety of pets growing up including rabbits, dogs, fish, and a turtle. For a while, I worked as a dog walker and a dog sitter. During college, I studied animal-assisted interventions. I was involved in two research projects that examined reading dog programs. For both, I interacted with therapy dogs and children (some with disabilities). I investigated how these interactions affect both the human and animal involved, but I mostly focused on the human side. I now want to shift my focus on the animal side by exploring how our decisions impact the lives of both domesticated and wild creatures.

Is there anything else you would like to share with prospective MAPP students?
The beauty of this program is that you hardly ever end up where you expect to after you graduate. The people you meet, the topics you discuss, and the experience as a whole will challenge your beliefs. MAPP invests in people by fostering both professional and personal growth.

MAPP Externship

As an International Policy Intern for World Animal Net, I researched and drafted comments for the Convention on Biological Diversity’s peer review process. I also wrote a blog, assisted with the quarterly newsletter, and helped create an online exhibition for the Animal Issues Thematic Cluster’s side event at the United Nations’ High-Level Political Forum. I learned about regenerative food systems, the effects of the wildlife trade, and the dire need to include animal welfare in international policies.
During the MAPP program, I learned about the human activities threatening biodiversity, various ways of advocating for animals, and how to interact with different audiences in person and online. My classes and internship emphasized the links between the well-being of animals, people, and our planet. By acknowledging these connections, I plan to use the skills I have gained to fight for a future where all people and nonhuman animals are appreciated.

See Externship Experience presentation here: