During the pandemic, I realized my heart was still very much in the animal welfare world and wanted to return to work in the field. I had already started the Library and Information Sciences masters program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison the semester before, but by fall of 2020 I knew I wanted to figure out a way to combine what I was learning at the iSchool with helping animals and get back into the animal welfare world.
So I did some internet searching and found the online masters certificate program at the University of Florida. What an awesome program! I started in spring 2021, taking one class each semester along with the one class I was taking in the iSchool program. The certificate program is five classes, and covers so much on progressive shelter management, from behavior to medical to One Health programming. It was 100% worth my time and was an invaluable education that I am now using as a board member and volunteer for Animal Friends Alliance, and with my work at Faunalytics as well.
I graduated this past semester from the program (Go Gators!). What an amazing experience! I encourage any folks out there who work or volunteer with a companion animal shelter or rescue to look into it. There is also a full masters program if you want to do a full dive into things. A great feature to note: they include the syllabus for each class publicly on their website, so if you cannot afford taking the classes you can at least see the books they recommend and check those out.
Not many good things came out of the pandemic, but I am so glad it helped me get back to where my true passion lies: helping the critters!