Major: Evolutionary Anthropology and Sociology, with a sub-plan of Law, Justice, and Social Change
Graduated in 2017
The Animal Lover
Jenna Malzahn roots for the underdog—literally.
“Foxes, coyotes, wolves—those are all my cup of tea,” says Malzahn. “A lot of the time, people don’t like them. I want to understand why that’s the case.” She explains how, for example, the Grimm Brothers’ early 19th-century version of “Little Red Riding Hood” fueled the eradication of wolves in Western Europe due to fear and misinformation.
“I want to fix misconceptions like that and actually teach people that these animals are good—that they are really important to our ecosystem,” she says.
Malzahn grew up watching Animal Planet, but could never have imagined that she’d be double-majoring in evolutionary anthropology and sociology and studying human-animal conflict at U-M. But she wasn’t in LSA long before she began to see the connections—in fact, it was her first-year introductory biology class that sparked her interest. “It was geared toward primates and which species are most closely related to humans,” she says. “I learned so much and just loved it.”
Sophomore year, Malzahn became involved in U-M’s Student Animals and Society Institute (SASI). The group is dedicated to examining “the complex and multidimensional relationships between humans and other animals,” working to “expand, question, debate and enhance this field for students,” according to its website.