Laura Houston joins the AWA team with over 20 years’ experience working to advance the human-animal bond. Ms. Houston most recently held the position of Director of Education with the Elmwood Park Zoo (EPZ) in Norristown, PA where she was instrumental in EPZ becoming the first zoo in the nation to become Autism Certified. Prior to that, she was with the Philadelphia Zoo for 16 years where she held several roles including Director of Education. While at the Philadelphia Zoo, she helped steward the creation and advancement of multiple programs and exhibits including the award-winning ZooCrew teen volunteering program and Hamilton Family Children’s Zoo. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master’s degree in English both from Rutgers University – Camden. In addition to being an avid animal-lover, she is also passionate about engaging with her community, holds the position of Secretary for the Gloucester Commission for Women, and is a dedicated Philadelphia sports fan. Ms. Houston is a life-long resident of West Deptford, New Jersey where she resides with her partner, Bill, two rescue dogs and two very sassy African grey parrots.