Ximena (pronounced He-men-ah) Salgado-Santamaria is a recent MSW graduate with a certificate in Animal-Assisted Social Work from the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work. While at DU, she had the privilege of interning with the Institute for Human-Animal Connection where she conducted a study for the Pets For Life program run by the Humane Society of the United States. In addition, she has worked as a veterinary technician since 2014. She is very excited to join Austin Pets Alive! and the HASS project to continue advocating for pet owners and their companion animals in underserved communities, as well as challenge the systems in place that make it difficult for them to keep their pets well and at home. With her passion for conducting research and developing programs that acknowledge the interconnectedness between humans, animals and the environment, she’s thrilled to be a part of the national reform that HASS is hoping to bring to the animal welfare and human services field. She is very proud to be a Latina and a daughter to Colombian immigrants. She lives with her husband Damian, her adorable dog Obi, and her two sassy cats Sky and Peter.