The season of family picnics and reunions draws near which means I’m drafting up my responses to my favorite question: “Anthrozoology? What are you going to do with that degree?”
The good news is that I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve been working in my field for almost four years now and I absolutely LOVE my job. My own parents (who are just thrilled for me) even roll their eyes when they have to hear me rave about having my dream job. The sad truth is that it seems uncommon to love your job these days. So, I repeat, I am one of the lucky ones.
In 2010, I was serving as the Senior Fellow for the Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations (ISHAR) at Canisius. ISHAR was just starting and some how, some way, we were lucky enough to kick off the speaker series with Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE. Dr. Jane delivered her lecture, “Gombe and Beyond: The Next 50 Years,” and captured my heart (along with 2,500 other hearts at the KAC that day).
I’m know I’m not the only young person who met Dr. Jane and subsequently declared that I would work for her some day. During her visit to Canisius, I learned about the Jane Goodall Institute’s global humanitarian youth program, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots. In fact, hundreds of thousands of young people in more than 120 countries around the world are following in Dr. Jane’s footsteps as well.
When I finished my undergraduate degree (in political science with minors in zoo biology and anthrozoology – wait, what?), I scored a fellowship with Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots and spent a short time working in an office in Danbury, CT. From there, I was offered a full time position as the Program Coordinator and I was given the gift of being able to work from home in WNY.
I am living in a city that I love – a city that raised me – doing a job that I love. Every day, I get to work with young people and their mentors all over the world who are making a positive difference for people, animals, and the environment. We call ourselves the “next generation of Jane Goodalls.” We’ve tasked ourselves with ensuring a bright future for the Earth and all of the beings that live here. Very anthrozoology.