Michelle Szydlowski AAS, BA, MA, PhD

Michelle earned her PhD in Anthrozoology from the University of Exeter.   She has spent the last eight years teaching at colleges and universities, and currently serves as a Visiting Assistant Professor with Miami University’s Project Dragonfly. 

Following a long teaching career in public schools, zoos and museums, Michelle redirected her energy toward a degree in veterinary technology, and changed her career interests to include wildlife, conservation, and animal rehabilitation. This led her to discover her passion for anthrozoology and the unique ways it combines these passions. Her master’s and PhD research revolved around the intersections of tourism, conservation, and otherthanhuman animal-human co-working relationships.

Michelle loves water and any large, grey animals that eat lots of vegetables. Her dream is to spend half the year in the US having adventures with her grandson and half the year in southeast Asia working with elephants and greater one-horned rhinos.

She has been ‘commuting’ to Nepal for more than a decade, building relationships with stakeholders of multiple species, supporting non-profits, and conducting research. She continues to work with local communities on conservation projects, animal welfare, sustainability, and human-wildlife conflict mitigation.

Michelle has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. Her monograph about her work in Nepal will be published in a few months through CABI. She also believes strongly in outreach and co-founded/co-hosts The Anthrozoology Podcast and its offshoot Anthrozoology Speaks. These platforms (which can be found here) promote conversations between academics, practitioners, and all those interested in our relationships with other species.

Michelle loves to share her passion and has served as a professional consultant for numerous articles in national and international online news outlets, an interviewee for Ivanhoe media video broadcast news and Fodor’s travel. She speaks at professional conferences and community seminars about conservation, humane education, elephant welfare, ecotourism, neurodiversity, teaching in higher education, and a variety of other topics.

A long-term volunteer, Michelle mentors graduate students from several countries, works with community organizations, and serves on the boards of charitable organizations. She received a British Council Social Action award for her work in February of 2023. She joined the board of the International Society of Anthrozoology earlier this year.