We’re so excited to announce a new member of the All For Animals’ family: Ashlyn Cavaletto. Ashlyn is filling the position of the organization’s first Assistant to the Executive Director, where she will help our Executive Director, Karen Lee Stevens, with administration, volunteer coordination, event planning, fundraising, community outreach, and—perhaps most importantly—helping All For Animals grow!
Ashlyn didn’t just apply for the job because she’s an animal lover (which she is, but more on that later), but because, as she says, “This is my dream job right now.”
Currently, Ashlyn has an associate’s degree in early childhood education, and has a bachelor’s degree in zoology with a minor in education from UC Santa Barbara. She’s also studying for a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Penn State in order to explore the bond between children and animals, and how that affects education.
“I didn’t grow up in a great situation,” explained Ashlyn. “But when I realized that dogs give unconditional love and support, it made a world of difference to me, especially in my education.” The canine support helped Ashlyn improve her situation, get into a great college, become financially stable, and develop as an individual.
Now Ashlyn is taking her experience to the next level so that she can help others. She recently was accepted into a master’s program through the Miami University at Ohio and Project Dragonfly. Project Dragonfly partners with San Diego Zoo Global as their advanced inquiry program, focusing on conservation and community involvement in applied programs.
“I’m excited about it,” she said, when asked about the master’s program. “And when I learned about this job opening, I didn’t just see it as a job or having fun. It falls exactly in to what I want to do long-term for graduate research.”
Ashlyn eventually wants to go on to earn a doctorate degree and study programs like All For Animals’ ARF! (Animals + Reading = Fun!) program as well as animals in science education. Her goal is to discover how to improve the programs and make them more accessible to different communities and demographics.
It’s easy to see why we feel lucky to have Ashlyn on our team at All For Animals!
And speaking of animals…when she’s not studying, Ashlyn can be found training her two dogs, Ryker, a Lab-Collie mix, and Mya, a Golden-Shepherd mix. At almost three, Ryker has done a lot of obedience and agility training, and can’t get enough (as you can imagine with that combination of working breeds!). While one-year-old Mya is bit of a goofy puppy, she’s still “super obedient” and getting into the advanced tricks. Both Ashlyn and Mya can’t wait to be part of the next All For Animals’ therapy dog training class.
Ashlyn’s family at home includes a few others: a domestic short-haired cat named Dodger, a Savannah monitor lizard called Smaug, and a frilled lizard they call “Little Guy.” Oh, and she lives with a male human, Jake, who is also her husband!
“I’m looking forward to seeing how I can help and improve the organization,” said Ashlyn. “I’m really interested in community outreach. I’m not someone who likes to be idle, so I’m excited to get going!”
And we’re so happy to have you, Ashlyn! Welcome!