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Influence Positively Interview - Kellie Heckman


Dr. Heckman brings her background in research science to FiXiT Foundation. Her experience in science includes the use of genetic tools to examine the evolutionary relationships and the examination of natural populations in a variety of animal groups. During her PhD research at Northwestern University, she examined the evolutionary history of mouse lemur species, the world's smallest primates. At Yale University, her postdoctoral research focused on the population biology of North American freshwater and Mediterranean fish species.

Dr. Heckman also provides nearly a decade of animal welfare experience. She was a member of the executive committee of the Friends of the New Haven Animal Shelter and performed additional duties for the organization during her 7 year tenure, including volunteer orientation, fundraising, and feline socialization. In addition, Heckman was also involved with trap-neuter-release efforts in New Haven, CT. Dr. Heckman would then use her research background in PETA's Corporate Affairs Department, supporting the animal welfare movement with hard science.

Dr. Heckman was born in Indiana and received her Bachelor of Science in population biology from Purdue University and doctorate in evolutionary biology from Northwestern University.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Perfect happiness is when all animals are treated humanely -- of course, starting with the end of needless euthanasia as a product of companion animal overpopulation.

If you could come back as a dog or a cat, which one would it be and why? Definitely a cat! I love my dog, but the complete independence and 'do what I want' characteristics of a cat's personalities are enviable. No pack mentality for me.

What is your pets most treasured possession? Sadly, it is my computer. Without it, I couldn't do my work to help all of those dogs and cats. My most treasured companions are my two cats, Nino and Applehead, and dog, Diamond.

Your proudest achievement so far? My proudest achievement is receiving my doctorate in biology studying the diversity of primates of Madagascar. It was a challenging battle, yet very rewarding experience.

Who are your heroes in real life? Anyone that steps up and advocates for those that don't have a voice is a hero in my book. I was inspired to study primates by Jane Goodall, and what a voice she has for protecting chimpanzees. Also, Peter Singer has been a real inspiration, opening my eyes and so many others to the horrors of factory farming.

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