Development and Administrative Assistant
Kristen Diederich serves as the development and administrative assistant for Mercy For Animals, supporting the development department in fundraising and membership programs, as well as managing day-to-day administrative tasks for the organization.
Kristen attended Penn State University where she earned bachelor’s degrees in biology and psychology, along with a minor in law and liberal arts and honors in the Crime, Law, and Justice program. She also recently completed a master’s degree in primate conservation at Oxford Brookes University in England.
Kristen’s affinity for animals and nature dates back as far as she can remember, compelling her to become vegetarian while still in high school. In the course of researching animal welfare issues later in life, Kristen discovered the stark realities of modern farming practices and transitioned to a fully vegan lifestyle. This discovery also sparked an interest in pursuing farmed animal welfare advocacy full time.
Combining a passion for travel with a love of animals, Kristen has participated in wildlife volunteer projects on five continents. Her experience covers a wide spectrum, from bathing elephants in Thailand and caring for orphaned monkeys in Africa to conducting wildlife surveys in Ecuador and developing enrichment recommendations for a zoo in India. Kristen’s master’s thesis, completed in Sri Lanka, focused on how effectively providing wildlife and conservation education to travelers in a hotel setting enables them to make more responsible tourism choices.
A native of Pennsylvania, Kristen has called California home since she first moved to San Diego in 2009. She spends much of her free time outdoors where she enjoys hiking, kayaking and camping. Now living in Los Angeles, Kristen is enjoying the enormous variety of vegan food options and restaurants, including her current favorite, Veggie Grill. Kristen believes that we must each strive to live every day by her favorite quote from Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”