Student Spotlight: Erin King, PhD student

We are thrilled to welcome Erin King, M.S., who is starting in Fall 2020 as a student in the human-animal interaction track at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine PhD program. Erin will be working in Dr. Megan Mueller’s lab and in the Center for Animals and Public Policy, as well as continuing her role as Civic Life Coordinator at Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University.


  • Undergraduate degree earned: BA
  • Major: Sociology and Anthropology
  • College/University: Christopher Newport University
  • Year Graduated: 2013
  • Post-Grad degree(s) earned: MS
  • Concentration: Animals and Public Policy
  • College/University: Tufts University, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
  • Year: 2015- 2016

What were you doing before entering the PhD program?

  • Prior to the PhD program, I was working at Tufts University, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine as a research coordinator, and program coordinator for the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University. My background is in community engagement and Human-Animal Interaction, with a focus on social determinants of health and equity.

Interests in and experience with research

  • Current research project areas include equity and accessible veterinary care, student service -learning and civic engagement, and human- animal interaction. I was a project coordinator for an NIH grant assessing the impact of therapy dogs on stress for adolescents with social anxiety, as well as the coordinator for a canine dental health clinical trial. Past research has also focused on link between animal cruelty and human violence, as well as USDA Animal Welfare Act Enforcement Actions.

What area of research are you interested in? What drew you to this?

  • I am interested in continuing work in Human- Animal Interaction research, focusing on both individual and community health through the human-animal bond. I was drawn to this area of research through my experience with HAI, and my love for data and statistics.

What are your career goals?  Professional experience?

  • My goals are to provide empirically rigorous research to the field of HAI, while preparing for a career as a professor in academia with the ability to teach and mentor students.

What are your outside interests?

  • Outside of school/work, I am a horse person and I love to spend time outdoors. I enjoy hiking, rock climbing, and spending time with my 11.5 year old retired Greyhound.