HSU Graduate Lands Dream Job
by Christiana Merritt (née Remick)
I received my Bachelor of Science in Animal Studies from HSU in July of 2011. Every course I took at HSU impacted me. I was challenged in unexpected ways, I learned invaluable lessons about animal protection issues, and I discovered how I personally could make a difference for animals. What I learned at HSU shaped not only what I know about the animal protection movement and how I approach animal welfare issues, but how I communicate these issues to co-workers, friends, family, and new people I meet. My hope is to return to HSU to pursue a master’s degree.
For my HSU capstone research project, titled “We Framed Roger Rabbit: How Film Influences Human Perceptions of, and Attitudes Toward, the Domestic Rabbit,” I conducted extensive background research on the myriad, often exploited roles domestic rabbits play in human society. I created an online survey that used YouTube videos depicting rabbits in three different contexts: prey animal, household companion, and cute and cuddly creature of cartoons and movies. Each participant watched a series of videos depicting rabbits in one of these stereotypes, and then answered a series of questions about their perceptions of rabbits and their attitudes toward their various uses and treatments. My data showed a significant correlation between video contexts and perception scores, suggesting that visual depictions do influence attitudes.
Rabbits at The Rabbit Center
A year later, I have a job I love as Shelter Manager at the House Rabbit Society Adoption and Education Center (aka “The Rabbit Center”) in Richmond, California. The Rabbit Center is both the headquarters for House Rabbit Society, an international nonprofit rabbit rescue and educational organization, and home to 40 adoptable rabbits, all rescued from municipal shelters. We also oversee a large number of foster homes both locally and throughout the nation. Every day at House Rabbit Society is a new experience, and one that HSU helped me prepare for in many different ways. In September of this year, my organization hosted a booth at a huge community event in the Bay Area with over 250,000 people in attendance. I spoke with countless individuals unaware that rabbits could be adopted from shelters, or about how wonderful they are as companions. After the event, I returned to the shelter, to process adoption paperwork, perform intake exams on new rabbits, train new volunteers, and plan the next fundraising event. My position with House Rabbit Society involves a lot of responsibility and it is very demanding work, but I get to go home every night knowing that I made a difference. HSU has played a crucial role in the journey that led me to where I am today.
To learn more about Christiana Merritt’s research and survey results please contact her at: email@example.com