Our program has developed a solid track record for helping our graduates pursue their anthrozoological interests in the work force. In addition, graduates wishing to further their education beyond our program have gained acceptance into doctoral programs in the United States and abroad. Below, we caught up with some recent graduates to see what they are doing now.
Nikki Bennett currently works for Audubon Florida and collaborates with Gulf Islands National Seashore, National Park Service as a biological technician and steward for nesting sea- and shorebirds. Her work involves surveying nesting sea- and shorebird to make recommendations for areas that need additional monitoring and collect data on select populations. Bennett is also responsible for monitoring nesting areas for disturbances induced by human and predator activities, educating the general public about nesting sea- and shorebirds in the area, and recruiting volunteers to assist with projects.
“Completing the Master of Science program at Canisius University has given me unique skills to apply as a biological technician. The majority of my work involves me observing nesting sea- and shorebirds and how beachgoer activities impact these birds. The skills and knowledge I obtained from Canisius University allows me to critically analyze the perspective of the sea- and shorebirds to prevent possible human induced disturbances and to create solutions for both the birds and people that utilize the beaches of Northwest Florida. People in this line of work tend to only focus on the animal’s interest; however, I am able to advocate for both the animal and humans involved so that people are more accepting of sharing the beaches with the birds and respectful of their nesting locations.”
Taryn Bromser-Kloeden started her doctorate in environmental science and policy at George Mason University in Fall 2017. While completing her master's, she worked part-time as an assistant manager for her local animal shelter and as a dog swim instructor. According to Taryn, “I always knew I wanted to continue my education after college, but it wasn't until I stumbled upon the ANZO program that I felt I'd found the right one. My coursework aided me in my animal shelter career in so many ways, introducing me to the latest research and perspectives on animal behavior, sheltering strategies, and animal welfare. But my ANZO experiences also helped me realize my true passion was for conservation psychology, specifically how understanding stakeholder perspectives can help remedy human-wildlife conflicts. Once I decided to pursue a doctorate in this field, the faculty were incredibly supportive. My educational background and the research experience gained during the ANZO program gave me the skills and confidence to apply (and be accepted) to a doctoral program where I will be able to continue my interdisciplinary research on human-wildlife interaction. I am so grateful to be an ANZO!"
As a graduate student, Jonathan Dimino took classes, such as Shelters, Rescues, and Pounds, that encouraged him to think of innovative ways to help nonhuman animals. While working full-time at Microsoft, Jonathan combines his technological expertise with his ANZO background and passion for companion animals to run PA Dog Rescue, a nonprofit he created. Here’s what Jonathan had to say about his rescue work: “Originally, PA Dog Rescue was going to be like your typical rescue, but I quickly realized that this would not be ideal. My efforts would be wasted recreating the wheel so I looked to do something different. We provide assistance to local rescues and shelters through monetary/physical donations and by offering services that help get their dogs adopted more quickly. This includes doing photo shoots for their adoptable dogs, creating promotional videos, and getting their dogs more visibility by adding them to our website and Facebook page, which already has almost 21,000 followers. In addition, I created an app similar to Free Rice. It presents a series of fun, image-based questions. For each question that is answered correctly, food is donated to a homeless dog in need. The food is paid for by advertisements that are placed on the page. In the short 3 months it has been running, it has already earned over 720,000 pieces of dog kibble. An organization called ‘Shop for Your Cause’ recently purchased this app. Due to their better ad network and higher user traffic, this partnership will increase how much food PA Dog Rescue earns.”
Catherine Doyle was a member of the first graduating class of Anthrozoology Master's students at Canisius University (and in the United States!). She is the Director of Science, Research & Advocacy at Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in California. Here's how the ANZO program impacted her career: "The ANZO program helped me to raise the bar in my work for elephants and other captive wild and exotic animals. I focused on the science and research-based classes, where I gained the knowledge and skills necessary to launch a long-term behavioral study of the African elephants at the PAWS sanctuary. In turn, I use that knowledge and experience to advocate on behalf of captive elephants used in entertainment. For example, I provide expert testimony at government hearings on proposed bills, and I've passed important legislation at the city and state levels to protect elephants from a menacing device called the bullhook. Those victories spurred a major circus to stop using elephant acts altogether. Because of the ANZO program, I am always thinking deeply about human-nonhuman animal relationships and challenging the way we think about nonhuman individuals. I am particularly interested in captive wildlife and how these animals, no matter how well cared for, are unable to fully realize themselves in captivity. I've written chapters addressing the ethics of keeping elephants in captivity for two books (Oxford Univ. Press, and one in press) and presented my research on keeper-elephant relationships at various animal studies conferences. I am now diversifying my work to include big cats in captivity. Having a master's degree in Anthrozoology from Canisius has made a big difference in my work and I will always be grateful to the program for the opportunity to expand my academic horizons."
Jenny Egan is currently an Animal Keeper at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Her job includes taking care of the animals and engaging with guests who are allowed to interact with our animals. She says, “as an ANZO student, I learned that there cannot just be one way to view animals, and that in order to educate the general public about zoos and the animals that reside in them, we have to make sure our lessons are relevant to the guests. We have to be able to teach about animals in their natural habitats and about how to preserve their wild spaces. We have begun to create more ways to teach about animals that allow children and adults to see more of their natural behaviors. Instead of always holding an animal during a demonstration, we have created carts that allow the animals to climb, play, and move around. During my time as an ANZO (which I still consider myself to be!), I studied guest perceptions of zoos and apply everything that I learned [as an ANZO student] at Animal Kingdom every day."
Heather Svoboda keeps busy as the Communications & Development Manager for the Cat Adoption Team, a nonprofit feline-only animal shelter located near Portland, OR. She recently shared the following with us: "Animal sheltering is a passion of mine, and I’m fortunate to work as a communications and fundraising professional in this field. Simply put, it’s my job to talk to people about cats! My experience as an ANZO heightened my understanding of human-animal relationships and helps me look critically at issues surrounding pet adoption and shelter animal welfare. I bring this experience with me to talk with the press, the public, adopters, and donors about issues that impact shelter animals. Whether it’s marketing cats for adoption, earning donor support for programs that are crucial to shelter animal welfare, or collaborating with colleagues about best practices for shelter housing and enrichment, the critical thinking skills and animal behavior knowledge I gained in the Anthrozoology program are with me every step of the way!"