Mikel is currently a PhD Candidate at UC Berkeley in the Psychology Department, where she studies animal behavior, and human-pet relationships. She has presented research on the welfare of laboratory pigeons, human attitudes about domestic cats, learning in zebrafish and pigeons, and emotions and decision making in squirrels at several academic conferences. She served on the Board of Directors for the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants for four years, and is a former Co-Chair of their Cat Division. Mikel also co-runs the website Food Puzzles For Cats. She lives in Berkeley with her boyfriend and their two rescue cats.