Jessie Huart Sullivan and a rescued dog

Jessie Huart Sullivan is an IHE M.Ed. graduate, a humane educator, a writer, a manager at a non-profit pet adoption center, an activist, a mom to a happy and beautiful eight-month-old daughter, and a dog mom to her two handsome dogs. “All roles and accomplishments I cherish!” she says.

Jessie lives in Kettering, Ohio, where she works as the adoptions manager at the SICSA Pet Adoption Center.

We asked Jessie to share about her work for a better world.

IHE: What led you to the path of humane education?

JHS: The short answer, pit bulls! Specifically, one pit bull – my dog, Slaw. He inspired me to take action against breed discrimination and eventually follow my passion and make a career change.

IHE: Share how you’re currently manifesting humane education.

JHS: I’m lucky. I get to manifest humane education in my job every day. I work for an organization that cultivates critical thinking, respect, and compassion for animals. As the adoptions manager, I get to find homes for animals in need, as well as encourage compassion for people and provide help and resources to those in need.

IHE: Share a success story.

JHS: In spring 2012, I started a petition on Change.org to appeal to United Airlines to change their breed discriminatory pet policy, which prohibited several pit bull type breeds from flying with their airline. The petition received more than 45,000 signatures and United Airlines has since changed their policy to a breed neutral dangerous dog policy.

IHE; As a new mom, what most excites and scares you about raising your child for a solutionary world?

JHS: What scares me most is raising a girl in a society that is immersed in over-sexualized images of women, teenagers, and even young girls. I worry about the burden that an unattainable beauty and body image can have on a girl’s self-image and her physical and mental well-being. I know that I will be unable to shelter my daughter from these images, and I only hope that I can provide her the information and skills necessary to think critically about media and pop culture and instill confidence that helps her to feel beautiful, inside and out.

What excites me most is to nurture a sense of wonder, awe, and curiosity that will last a lifetime.

IHE: What are your future plans for your humane education/changemaking work?

JHS: My goal has always been to be a lifelong learner. I plan to continue to do my best to educate myself on the connections between animals, people, and the environment; try my best to make daily choices that do the most good and least harm; and encourage others to do the same, while remaining open-minded and compassionate.

IHE: What would you say to others interested in IHE’s graduate programs?

JHS: I think through the humane education program, you will learn as much about yourself as you will about education, animal protection, the environment, and other issues – and, for me, this has been equally valuable!