1. What do you do?
I am a fellow with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), one of the largest animal protection organizations in the world. My fellow program is part of HSUS's new initiative to provide a pipeline into the field for early career professionals.
2. What's the coolest part of your job?
I love that HSUS can focus on the bigger picture because of its size: We are involved in a kaleidoscope of animal-related legislation, regulations, ordinances, and more from city to city and across the world.
My favorite part of my current position is that it allows me to work with many different departments across my organization and, therefore, many different animal issues. These last few months, I've been working on legislative issues such as pet-inclusive housing policy (dogs and cats). In a few more months, I could be working on wildlife management with animal control professionals.
3. Why are you passionate about it?
Our treatment of animals and our environment is a reflection of ourselves. My call toward animal protection draws from the desire to promote the interests of beings who cannot speak for themselves.
I've always been passionate about human-animal interactions and had worked with animals in many different ways prior to seeking my graduate degree. Animal policy, in particular, appeals to me because it is an opportunity to make a larger impact on the lives of all animals and the people who care for or interact with them.
4. Which skills from Georgia Tech and your Public Policy degree have helped you be successful in this career?
My Master of Science in Public Policy (MSPP) familiarized me with policy in action. With policy, on one side, you have to temper your expectations for incremental change, but on the other side, you have to be flexible and reactive to newly introduced policies or political leadership. I appreciate that tension and first experienced it because of the program's required internship semester.
My MSPP coursework also gave me some hard skills to add to my resume and introduced me to policy-specific praxis in research and data analysis that I can keep in my back pocket. Wearing multiple hats professionally is practically the standard operating procedure in the nonprofit world, so having that kind of varied experience is helpful.
Finally, it was helpful just to be around people at many different levels with many different interests. I may have been the only one in my program interested in animal policy, but that meant I learned a lot about other types of policy (and academia!) from professors and fellow students.
5. What's your #1 tip for students and alumni interested in your field?
My tip to students would be to keep finding ways to explore the things that you are interested in whenever you can, however you can, for example volunteering, reading, research, and informational interviews, etc. I am a testament to the fact that you can go into many different, unexpected fields with a social science degree. I had a passion and found a way to center my studies around it. You can too.
Avery graduated with a Master of Science in Public Policy in 2019. Explore more Ivan Allen College alumni careers!