2022 Speakers


Melyssa Allen, MA, DipACLM
Mind-Body-Thrive Lifestyle

Melyssa Allen holds her Masters in Clinical Psychology from the University of Central Florida, is a board-certified Lifestyle Medicine Professional, and is pursuing her board-certification in Health and Wellness Coaching. Melyssa has firsthand experience witnessing the dedication of veterinary professionals in their careers while she worked as an animal trainer with the Navy's Marine Mammal Program and SeaWorld Orlando.

Melyssa currently works as a Clinician Well-Being Coach in a large healthcare organization and recognized the opportunity to provide support services to veterinary professionals given the limited number of resources currently available. Using her training in mental health, wellness coaching, and lifestyle medicine, Melyssa expanded the Mind-Body-Thrive Lifestyle to include specialized services and programs dedicated to promoting well-being among veterinary professionals.


Johanna Baldwin

Johanna Baldwin has worked in the veterinary profession for over 25 years. In her varied roles, Johanna has held leadership positions in both private and corporate practices. Using her experience and understanding of the challenges employees face, Johanna creates and manages VCA’s Associate Health and Well-being program. 



Bryan Baxter
Bavarian Nordic

Bryan Baxter is a National Sales Director at Bavarian Nordic, has worked in the vaccines industry for over 20 years. His career started in working with hospitals, public health and government accounts with Glaxo SmithKline in the Mid-Atlantic region.  After GSK, he transitioned to MedImmune and built the public health sales division for Flumist, where he was responsible for developing national strategy to raise pediatric immunization rates.  He spent 6 years developing the private national contract strategy and building commercial relationships with Center for Disease Control(CDC) for the  Meningitis franchise.  He joined Bavarian Nordic in 2020 as the US National Sales Director where he has been instrumental in building the US commercial team while working to help raise awareness for rabies pre-exposure and post-exposure vaccination. 


Megan Baylor, CVT
YTI Career Institute

Megan Baylor has been a CVT since 2009. She has worked in various veterinary practices in central Pa, including emergency and critical care, biomedical research, and general practice as technician, CSR, and technician manager. Megan became an instructor at a new veterinary technician school in York, PA, in 2013. She left full-time status in 2016 to be her career with professional continuing education with PA’s Veterinary Medical Association. As she grew in association management, she began to see how veterinary professionals have the power within organizations to make changes. She continues to aid new professional organizations with communication, business fundamentals and engaged the membership. Megan also continues to teach at York’s veterinary technician program. Megan’s other interests include veterinary ethics, regulatory boards and procedures, and elevating veterinary technology as a career. Megan is also involved in many other associations and social clubs in leadership and membership roles. 

Megan has fun, too; she and her husband have a 7-year-old son, a rabbit adopted from her Vet Tech program. Furthermore, if you want proof she is crazy, she has two German Shorthair Pointers, a year-old puppy named Ralph and an old man named Kaiser. 


April Bays, CVT, VTS (ECC), VCC
Elevative Veterinary Training Solutions

April is a CVT with more than 20 years of experience, becoming a Veterinary Technician Specialist in Emergency and Critical Care in 2013, and a Veterinary Cannabis Counselor in 2021. She enjoys teaching emergency topics and the art of critical care and critical thinking. She created Elevative Veterinary Training Solutions in 2020 to share her passion for excellence and emphasize technician empowerment and utilization. When she’s not eliminating pain or writing proceedings, you can find her supporting the many local breweries, backpacking, and getting lost in the wilderness. Literally. 


Stacey Benton, DVM, PhD
University of Cincinnati Blue Ash

Dr. Stacey Benton is a small animal veterinarian who joined the faculty at the UC Blue Ash Veterinary Technology Program in 2012 as an adjunct instructor.  She is currently an Assistant Professor and the Academic Advisor for the Veterinary Technology Program where she teaches the Laboratory Procedures courses.  Stacey is trained in mind-body skills for stress reduction and facilitates a 9-week seminar for students, faculty, and staff each semester.  She is passionate about the importance of balance and wellbeing in personal and professional life and incorporates wellness strategies like meditation into all her courses. As a result, students experience less stress and more fun in her lab procedures courses! 


Mary L. Berg, BS, LATG, RVT, VTS (Dentistry)
Beyond the Crown Veterinary Education

Mary is a Charter member of the Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians and received her Veterinary Technician Specialty in Dentistry in June 2006.  Mary worked in research for over 29 years, specializing in products aimed at improving the oral health of companion animals, and continues to work with companies to evaluate the efficacy of their products.  In addition to her research background, she was the practice manager and dental technician specialist at a general practice for seven years.  She is an adjunct at two distance veterinary technology programs and is currently the president of Beyond the Crown Veterinary Education; she has over 15 years of experience teaching dentistry to veterinary teams, using practical and easy to master methods. Mary is actively involved in NAVTA, AVDT, AVMA, AAVSB, F4VD, and KVTA.  Mary was named the NAVTA Veterinary Technician of the Year by NAVTA in 2020 and received the AVDT’s Excellence in Dentistry Education in 2019. In addition, Mary is a speaker and wet lab instructor at numerous state and national conferences and has had multiple articles placed in professional publications and journals, written several textbook chapters and her Companion Animal Dentistry for Veterinary Technicians textbook was published in 2020. Mary lives on a small farm near Lawrence, Kansas with her husband, Doug, and has two sons and four grandchildren. 


Sandra Bertholf, LVT, MS
Mercy College

Sandra Bertholf is a licensed veterinary technologist and an alumna of Mercy College. She graduated with her Bachelors of Science from the Veterinary Technology Program in 1997, with cum laude honors. Sandra helped train Mercy Veterinary Technology students as externs in the clinical setting for many years before joining the faculty at Mercy College full time in 2014. She has over 20 years of clinical experience in areas including general practice, emergency/critical care and ophthalmology. She feels Mercy gave her an exceptional foundation for her profession and hopes to do the same for her students.  Sandra earned her Masters of Science in organizational leadership at Mercy College in 2018, allowing her to combine her love of medicine, business and leadership. She teaches full time and works in clinical practice part time at Animal Medical of New City. The courses she teaches include: Introduction to Veterinary Science, Clinical Veterinary Nursing lecture and lab as well as Externship II, a course where students complete their clinical rotations in specialty practice and prepare for their national licensing exam.


Rob Best, CVPM, CFE

Rob Best, is, among many other things, a certified expert in Neuroleadership, the science-based field centered around emotional intelligence. His work focuses on increasing the emotional and psychological safety within professional environments to help attract, retain, and develop talent. 

And he certainly knows a little something about talent, having been a basketball player, a world explorer who’s trekked six of the seven continents, and even the CEO of a global nonprofit supporting teenage entrepreneurs in over 30 countries. 

Rob holds two bachelor’s degrees, Business, and Organizational Communication. His learning and education have never stopped; in addition to his certification in Neuroleadership, he’s earned his CVPM, is a licensed expert in body language, statement analysis, and deception detection.

Rob finds the encouragement and support for well-being among colleagues in the veterinary industry both rare and compelling. It’s what turned his own stop in this industry into an adventure that’s lasted more than a decade. And led him to seek a variety of new educational avenues to help him grow in his ability to support leaders, and support positive change for both people and pets. 

His message for veterinary professionals today? A reminder that being resilient often means taking a breath and making an intentional decision to be kind to yourself and to others. So, in the words of the famous Dr. Odie Marcovici, “Always be kinder than you feel”!


Heather Bhakta, DVM
Lincoln Memorial University

Heather Bhakta, DVM graduated in 1999 from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.  Her passion is increasing efficiency in clinical veterinary medicine by supporting teamwork and communication between veterinarians, veterinary technicians and assistants. Since graduation, Dr. Bhakta has worked in mixed animal practice, small animal general practice and emergency medicine before joining the faculty at Lincoln Memorial University in 2017 as an Assistant Professor, and then Veterinary Medical Technology Program Director. 


Kathleen Bliss, LVT, MALS
SUNY Alfred State College

My name is Kathleen (Kathy) Bliss and I am an LVT from SUNY Alfred State College.  I have been teaching there for 21 years and was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2015. I was appointed Co-Director of the Veterinary Technology program in the summer of 2021.  At Alfred State I teach Veterinary Medical Terminology, Introduction to Veterinary Technology, Parasitology and Animal Behavior courses. I was thrilled to present at the 2021 AVTE Symposium. 

 In addition to my AS in Veterinary Technology I hold an AAS in Agriculture Science from Alfred State, a BS in Animal Science from Purdue University, and an MALS from Excelsior College. 

My husband and I live in Centerville, NY and have two college age children. We own Heartwood Farm where we produce Certified Organic Maple Syrup. We also have horses, dogs (shelter mutts!) cats, and chickens.


Ed Carlson, CVT, VTS (Nutrition)

Ed Carlson is the Director of Veterinary Nursing Education for VetBloom. He is the 2022 Immediate Past President of the Massachusetts Veterinary Technician Association and the Treasurer of the New Hampshire Veterinary Technician Association. Ed has served on multiple NAVTA committees and is the 2022 NAVTA Immediate Past President. He obtained a VTS (Nutrition) in 2014 and lectures frequently at local, regional, national, and international veterinary conferences on a variety of nutrition topics. Ed was also the recipient of the NAVTA 2019 Technician of the Year award. 



Amanda Colon, DVM
Mercy College

Dr. Colon became a small animal veterinarian serving the Westchester area for 5 years after graduating from veterinary school. During that time, she was also working at Mercy College, Iona College, and Lehman College as an adjunct professor teaching various subjects including Nutrition and Anatomy, and Physiology. By October of 2017, she transitioned to a full-time teaching position for the Biology Department and is now a full-time assistant professor at Mercy College for the Veterinary Technology Program teaching Small Animal Diseases, Veterinary Communication, and other veterinary courses. Dr. Colon continues to work as a part-time veterinarian at Thornwood Animal Hospital and is finishing her certification in small animal acupuncture. She has also presented multiple times with her Mercy colleagues regarding communication, flipped classroom techniques, and Bookwidgets at previous AVTE events. 


Christine Crick, CVT, RVT, LVT, VTS (Anesthesia / Analgesia)(ECC)

Clinically, Chris has been dedicated to veterinary surgical and critical care medicine for over 25 years and has a strong interest in emergent anesthesia & dynamic patient care. In 2003, she attained board specialization with the Academy of Veterinary Technician Anesthetists, followed by the Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technicians and Nurses in 2007. 

It became apparent to her that medical expertise in specialty and emergency medicine disciplines is essential to global care of the patient. With the many layers of care needed, Chris believes the future sustainability of veterinary medicine hinges on leveraging highly skilled nursing staff. Learning from both essential successes and challenges in human nursing, she has a focus on aptitude, engagement and systems of quality to ensure safe and reliable outcomes. 


Meri DuRand-Kosman, CVT, LATG
Dakota County Technical College

Meri DuRand began teaching in the Veterinary Technician program at DCTC in January 2018. She graduated from Globe University in 2011 and interned and has worked at the University of MN Research Animal Resources since 2011.

“Biomedical research has been my life since 2011. I am a certified veterinary technician and have been certified since 2013. I have my Assistant Laboratory Animal Technician certification (ALAT) and I am working on my Laboratory Animal Technician certification (LAT). I am a volunteer with the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA), the state representative for the Minnesota Association of Veterinary Technicians (MAVT), the secretary for the Society of Laboratory Animal Veterinary Technicians (SLAVT), and a board member on the Minnesota branch of the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS)," Meri stated regarding her experience in this field. 

Meri has earned her Assistant Laboratory Animal Technician certification (ALAT) and has had articles published on Antibiotic-induced Disruption of Intestinal Microbiota Contributes to Failure of Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, In Vivo Application and Localization of Transcranial Focused Ultrasound Using Dual-Mode Ultrasound Arrays, and has been featured in ALN Magazine.

She loves drag racing up at Brainerd raceway and attending car shows. She also enjoy going up to the cabin and fishing on the lake in the summer and enjoys craft time in the winter months along with ice fishing.


Tammy Ege, CVT, MS
Wilson College

Tammy graduated from Wilson College in 1994 with a B.S. in VMT. She then went on to attend the American College of Applied Science and graduated with a M.S. in Companion Animal Behavior Analysis and Counseling in 2015. Tammy has 15 years of working experience in the veterinary field, working at the Shippensburg Animal Hospital from 1994-2009. She has been teaching at Wilson since 2009. Tammy has been involved with SCNAVTA Committee since 2017. 


Katherine Fogelberg, DVM, PhD
Lincoln Memorial University

Katherine Fogelberg earned a PhD in Science Education from Texas Christian University, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Texas A&M University, and a Master’s in Educational Leadership from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX.  She has clinical experience with companion, wildlife, and zoo animals and is a qualitative scholar interested in international public health and faculty professional development. Dr. Fogelberg is an army veteran, serves as a reviewer for scholarly journals covering a variety of disciplines, and is an Associate Editor for the peer-reviewed journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. She also established and runs Msomi Academy for Girls, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is working to co-create access to education for school-age children in Kisii, Kenya. 


Jennifer Leah Folger, DVM, MST
Platt College Ontario

Jennifer Folger, DVM, MST, graduated from Western University of Health Sciences in 2015. Prior to veterinary school, she received her Master’s in Secondary Teaching at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and taught high school English and Literature. She is currently the Clinical Director of the Veterinary Technician program at Platt College in Ontario, California, and continues to work part time as an Associate Veterinarian at a local private practice. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling with her spouse and 2 children and spending time with her menagerie of nine pets. 


Kelly Foltz, AAT, CVT, LVT, RVT, VTS (ECC)
University of Florida

Kelly Foltz is a 2006 graduate of Athens Technical College and became a member of the Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technicians and Nurses in 2012 with recertification in 2017. Ms. Foltz has worked as an adjunct instructor of Veterinary Technology, emergency and critical care technician and nursing supervisor, author, and lecturer. She has served on the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities and on the AVMA Task Force and Working Group on veterinary technician utilization. Her professional interests include veterinary technician utilization and education, feline nursing, pediatric and neonatal nursing, trauma, wound management, and sepsis. 


Samantha Geiling, RVT
Windward Community College

Since moving to Hawaii in 2008, Sam Geiling, RVT, has helped build and grow the veterinary technology program, founded the Hawaii Vet Tech Association, helped pass legislation to recognize registered veterinary technicians. She is passionate about helping students achieve their goals, and loves teaching hematology and other lab techniques. 


Tricia Gorham, MA, CVT
St. Petersburg College

I graduated from SPJC in 1991 with an AS degree in Veterinary Technology. I began work in a small animal veterinary clinic locally where I became the technician manager for the hospital. I began teaching for SPC in 1996 as an adjunct instructor while continuing my work in the veterinary hospital. Shortly after beginning as an adjunct I decided to further my education and received my Bachelor degree in 2005 from University of Central Florida in Vocational Education. After taking on a full time role with the college, I furthered my education once again and received my Masters degree in teaching with an instructional technology specialty from National University. I currently maintain a clinical relationship weekly to maintain my skills and to remain current in my field. 


Nancy Grittman, MBA, BA

Nancy Grittman, Senior Director of Program Services, American Association of Veterinary State Boards has been with the AAVSB for over ten years. Nancy has her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Bluffton University and her Masters of Business Administration from MidAmerica Nazarene University. Her extensive professional experience is in education, human resources, and program management. Nancy’s professional career started in education as the first Assistant Director of a Peace Arts Center at her alma mater before spending several years teaching and coaching in the public schools in Ohio and Kansas. She had a career change and worked for a fortune 500 company division in several positions including People Development Manager for 300 employees in a five state region. Nancy continued in human resources and was a Human Resources Director for a long term care nursing facility with 300 employees. With AAVSB, Nancy oversees all program and services in Exams, RACE/RACEtrack, and VAULT. Nancy continues to have a passion for children’s literature and has been a professional storyteller of children’s literature on peace themes since college when she assisted with the development of the Peace Arts Center. 


Amanda Hackerott, RVT, BAS, CPI

Amanda Hackerott, RVT is Director of the WSUTech Veterinary Technology Program. She has about 12 years’ clinical experience in veterinary medicine (mostly emergency and shelter) and has been active in VT education for seven years. She has a Bachelors of Applied Science in Workforce Leadership and Applied Learning and just earned a Post Secondary Instructor certification. Her special interests include her White’s Tree Frogs, chicken medicine, reading and taking naps. 


Lori Harbert, MSW, LCSW
BluePearl Specialty & Emergency Pet Hospital

Lori Harbert is the Director of Health & Well-being for BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospitals. Lori leads the veterinary industry in the health and well-being space with the development and launch of BluePearl’ s first comprehensive health and well-being structure providing resources and support to over 8,000 associates.

Lori has been a social worker for more than 30 years. She is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) who specializes in mental health counseling, trauma-informed care, and leadership building. Lori is also a certified grief counseling specialist (CAGCS) and Mental Health First Aid instructor. 


Abigail Higgins
Bavarian Nordic

Abigail is currently the key account manager at Bavarian Nordic. 


Julie Horvath, Coach

Julie Horvath serves as the Committee for Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA) Accreditation Manager/Coach within the AVMA Division of Education and Research. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the CVTEA accreditation process and working with developing the accreditation management system.  Her primary role is ensuring that the Assistant Directors travel relentlessly to site visits, prodding CVTEA volunteers to work evenings and weekends, and responding to panicked program directors about their accreditation issues. The CVTEA accredits more than 200 veterinary technology programs nation-wide. Ms. Horvath earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Marketing from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She is a member of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA), the Association of Specialized Accreditors (ASPA), and is a lifetime honorary member of the Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (AVTE). She has been with the AVMA for 25 years. 


University of Arizona

Dr. Rob Keegan has over 30 years of clinical anesthesia, research and teaching experience at the undergraduate, graduate and professional level and served as the anesthesia section head at the Washington State University (WSU) Veterinary Teaching Hospital for over 15 years. An early adopter in the creation and use of computer simulations as teaching tools, Dr. Keegan transitioned out of clinical anesthesia and became a founding faculty member of the WSU Simulation Based Education Section. Since 2016 he has taught anesthesia, physiology and critical care laboratories using immersive simulation at WSU and most recently at the University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine where simulation has been integrated throughout the curriculum. 


Melina Leone
Bavarian Nordic

Melina Leone works as a Director, Multi-Channel Marketing at Bavarian Nordic, which is a Manufacturing company with an estimated 552 employees; and founded in 1994. They are part of the Demand Generation team within the Marketing Department and their management level is Director. Melina is currently based in Morrisville, United States. 


Laura Lien, CVT, VTS (LAIM), MS

Laura is a Wisconsin and Arizona credentialed veterinary technician with 26 years of experience. Her clinical experience includes mixed animal private practice and academia. She has created, led and taught for both traditional and distance education AVMA CVTEA accredited veterinary technology programs. Her teaching areas include small and large animal species. Ms. Lien is a graduate of Madison Area Technical College’s veterinary technician program and earned her Masters of Science-Education degree from Capella University. She holds a Veterinary Technician Specialty (VTS) in Large Animal Internal Medicine with the Academy of Internal Medicine for Veterinary Technicians (AIMVT) and served as Director-at-Large for her subspecialty. Ms. Lien is a published book author and editor, has written for periodicals and presented at local, national, and international meetings. 


Dennis Lopez, MEd, LVT

Dennis Lopez did not start out working in the field of Veterinary Medicine. A 1978 graduate from the CA State Polytechnic University with a B.S. in Communication Education, Dennis taught high school for a couple years, while working part-time in a retail bookstore. Finding the retail business more and more challenging and in a position to pursue a passion, Dennis returned to college in 1999 to obtain an Associate’s degree in Veterinary Technology and pursue his passion of working with animals.

He worked for several years in general practice until the opportunity arose to join Pima Medical Institute in 2003 as a part-time instructor in their new Veterinary Assistant Program in Las Vegas. Seeing the need for Credentialed Veterinary Technicians in the Las Vegas valley, in 2004 Dennis approached the ownership of PMI and suggested they consider starting a degree granting program in Veterinary Technology. Dennis was tasked by Pima to write the original technician level curriculum and started PMI’s first Veterinary Technician program in 2005. Dennis obtained a Master of Education degree from UNLV in 2008 and has further developed a passion in researching college student success courses and the critical need for Introductory courses as a foundation to higher education. 


Ji Zhen Low, BSc, BVMS
Temasek Polytechnic

Dr. Ji Zhen Low is a veterinarian who's work in small animal clinical practice has taken her to Windy City Chicago and Adelaide, Australia. She moved back to her hometown of Singapore in 2017, and that was when she made the switch to a career in academia.

Ji Zhen's current role is as a lecturer in the Diploma in Veterinary Technology in Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore, and she continues clinical practice at the school's in-house training clinic, and as the attending veterinarian for the school's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). As an advocate for the welfare of veterinary technicians, Ji Zhen has also contributed as a founding committee member on the Singapore Veterinary Technicians and Nurses Chapter in 2020-2021. 


Melissa Loy, LVT
Lincoln Memorial University

Melissa Loy is a Licensed Veterinary Technician; she is licensed in both Tennessee and Virginia. Melissa is the Lead Small Animal Technician at Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine located in Harrogate TN.  She works at the Clinical Skills location in VA where she focuses on supporting the faculty in delivering Clinical Skills curriculum needed to become a successful Veterinarian. She heads up a team of five Licensed Technicians along with one Animal Care taker and one Veterinary Assistant. This Small Animal Team is a vital part of the Clinical Skills program, from instructing in varies labs to ensuring needed supplies are ordered and set up.

Before coming to LMU-CVM Melissa Loy worked over twenty years in the field of Veterinary Medicine. Starting as a Veterinary Assistant at a local hospital to then move on to a busy emergency and referral center. This is where she discovered her love of surgery through serving as a Scrub Assistant for over ten years. During this time Melissa attended Penn Foster online and obtained her Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology. This allowed her to then obtain her licensure after passing the VTNE. Melissa is active in several committees and a member of Tennessee Veterinary Technicians Association. Melissa is also pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Technology at Lincoln Memorial University. 


Steven I. Mclaughlin, DVM, MPH, DACVPM
Zuku Review

Dr. Steven I Mclaughlin is a graduate of the Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine, class of 91'. He did mixed practice on the shores of Lake Ontario in northern New York and in Ecuador as a Peace Corps volunteer.

His lifelong interest in teaching and effective learning models led him from clinical practice and public health to the world of veterinary education.

Dr. Mclaughlin is co-creator of the VIN NAVLE Prep course and founder in 2007 of the Zuku Review, an online veterinary test preparation service for the VTNE, NAVLE and BCSE. 


Shirin Modaresi, DVM, MS
Hill's Pet Nutrition

Shirin Modaresi, a native of Rock Hill, SC, is the Hill's Emerging Professional Strategic Initiatives Manager for the US. She received her BS in Biology from University South Carolina Honor's College, with a minor in Spanish, before getting a MS in Biology from Winthrop University. Shirin attended veterinary school at the University of Georgia and graduated cum laude in 2010. Afterwards, she practiced small animal medicine for four years in Georgia before moving to Charlotte, NC for her position with Hill’s Pet Nutrition. She still practices part-time in Rock Hill, SC as a relief veterinarian.

Her special interests in veterinary medicine are nutrition, feline medicine, clinical pathology, and behavior. While in veterinary school, Shirin did parasitology research on Cytauxzoan felis, worked with Campus Cats to socialize feral kittens, and founded the UGA CVM Animal Welfare Club. When she's not working, Shirin enjoys cooking, traveling, reading, dancing, and spending time with her friends & family, including her husband, her sons (11 and 13), and her pets (3 kitties and an Aussie mix). 


Irene Moore, DVM, MSc, BSc (Agr.)
University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus

Dr. Moore has been involved in veterinary technology education for decades as an instructor, coordinator, and administrator. Irene has also been very involved in a number of committees and associations, both on and off campus. She is a past president of several veterinary-related organizations, including the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, the Association of Veterinary Technology Educators, and the Ontario Veterinary Technician Educators. She is currently chair of the Veterinary Technician National Examination committee, and the immediate past-Chair of the PAVE for Veterinary Technicians committee, both subcommittees of the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. She also participated in the development of the Qualifying Science Examination for PAVE. She has been a well-received speaker at provincial, national, and international conferences. 


Nicole Nieman, CVT
Dakota County Technical College

Nicole Nieman is the director of the Veterinary Technician program at DCTC. Nicole grew up in Stacy, Minnesota, and graduated from North Branch High School. She earned a B.S. in Computer Animation from the Minneapolis Institute of Art in 2004 and went on to earn an A.A.S. in Veterinary Technology from Argosy University. She became a certified veterinary technician (CVT) in 2006. 


Vicky Ograin, MBA, RVT, VTS (Nutrition)
Hill's Pet Nutrition

Vicky received her technician degree from Los Angeles Pierce College in 1983. She served in private practice for many years in California, and then 20 years ago began a career with Hill’s Pet Nutrition, where she is an Engagement Specialist, in the US Professional Veterinary Affairs department, where she focuses on veterinary technicians in tech schools and graduates as well as developing and educating on nutrition.

In 2007, she completed a Bachelor of Science and in 2008, she completed a Masters, both in Business Administration. Vicky obtained her Veterinary Technician Specialty (VTS) in nutrition in June 2013 and serves as secretary for the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians. She is a member of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA), and was the 2014 president of NAVTA. Currently she serves as the NAVTA CE Committee chair.

Vicky speaks nationally and internationally and is a published author.


Paula Parker, BVSc (Hons), MVS, MBA

Paula joined the AVMA in January 2022 as an Assistant Director in the Education & Research

Division. She is responsible for working with staff, volunteer leadership and stakeholders to propose, develop and implement AVMA policies and programs concerning the accreditation of schools and colleges offering a professional degree in veterinary medicine and programs offering a degree in veterinary technology.

Paula received her Bachelor of Veterinary Science from the University of Queensland; her Master of Veterinary Clinical Studies and Post Graduate Certificate in Veterinary Clinical Studies from Murdoch University; and her MBA from the Australian Institute of Business. Paula has worked across the Australian animal health sector in large animal, mixed animal, companion animal referral practice and corporate management. She has also served in multiple volunteer leadership roles for the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), including: President and Director of the Board. 


Bonnie E. Price, DVM, MPH
Lincoln Memorial University

Bonnie Price is an Associate Professor of Veterinary Health Science within the School of Allied Health Sciences at Lincoln Memorial University. She lectures for undergraduates, graduate, and professional students across multiple disciplines (including vet tech, pre-vet, pre-med, nursing, conservation biology) with the goal of creating interdisciplinary collaborations very early in students’ training. In addition to her work with undergraduates, she has taught research design and analysis at LMU’s medical school and lectures on food safety for the LMU College of Veterinary Medicine. 


Malathi Raghavan, DVM, MS, PhD
Purdue University

Malathi Raghavan earned her degree in Veterinary Medicine from the Ukrainian National Agricultural University, Kiev; M.S. degree in Environmental Conservation from the University of New Hampshire, Durham; Ph.D. in Comparative Epidemiology from Purdue University. Dr. Raghavan has published in areas of epidemiology and public health, medical education and medical college admissions in Canada, and has worked on Accreditation and Certification issues, with international stakeholders, for the American Veterinary Medical Association. She returned to Purdue in August 2016 as a Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Outcomes Assessment and Data Management with responsibilities ranging from administrative to scholarly and teaching activities. 


Jeanette E. Reinhardt, LVT, MA
SUNY Delhi

Jeanette Reinhardt is a tenured assistant Professor at SUNY Delhi in the School of Veterinary Science. She has taught in several first-year courses which include: Introduction to Veterinary Science, Large Animal Care Lecture and labs, Pathology & Parasitology Labs, Small Animal Care Labs, and is currently teaching Animal Anatomy & Physiology Lecture and labs, and Clinical Physiology. She has taught in the following second-year courses: Dentistry. Then she has developed and taught Veterinary Pathophysiology in the SUNY Delhi BS degree.

She has developed many different learning techniques in some of the other labs that she has assisted in
working in: for example, in Small Animal Care labs she developed “anal glands” in a stuffed dog and then
also developed canine “nails” with hot glue and the nail covers. This allows students to be able to use the
“fake” nails or anal glands to be able to have a better understanding where the glands are located and
how it “feels” to trim nails. This current year she developed a more hands-on lab in the Animal Anatomy
& Physiology course which includes: Directional terms, Bone Scavenger Hunt, Play-dough Brains, and
Escape-Lock box. 

She is currently a member of NAVTA, NYSAVT, AVTE and is on several committees within SUNY Delhi
and in NAVTA. She currently lives in Delhi with her partner, Bill, and has two adult children, one in
college for pre-optometry and one in the Marines as a loadmaster on C-130’s and is currently stationed
in Japan. She is an animal mom of an English Bulldog (Winston) and 2 cats (Steve and Luna). In her free
time, she enjoys gardening, making crafts, and relaxing at the beach.


Barbara Robinson, LVT
Coastal Alabama Community College

Barb attended tech school at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches LA, graduated in 1994 and has been licensed in Maryland, Louisiana, and Alabama. She has worked in several aspects of veterinary medicine including general practice, internal medicine, radiology, shelter and emergency medicine. She moved to Mobile AL in 2003 where she worked in general practices and a state of the art emergency practice. Barb spent 1 year working with the Mobile County Animal Shelter to help improve the lives of animals that found themselves at the shelter. 

In 2014 Barb took on the next challenge in her career by teaching future veterinary technicians at Coastal Alabama Community Colleges. The Coastal Alabama Veterinary Technology program was a new program to the state of Alabama where Barb, along with Dr. Cathleen Forrester, have turned the program into an AVMA accredited program in a very short time. She is proud of the students that have made it through the program so far and continues to strive in educating the future of veterinary medicine. She shares her home with her husband as well as a dog, 2 cats, 2 Bearded Dragons, a Chameleon, 3 snakes, a Giant Day Gecko, a cockatoo, and a Military Macaw. She became a grandmother 8 years ago to a wonderful little boy and loves spending her spare time spoiling him rotten.


Rebecca Rose, CVT
Lap of Love

Rebecca Rose, CVT, certified career coach, has a diverse background in the veterinary community as a credential team member and leader. She has worked in and managed clinics, collaborates with industry partners, authors articles and books, and facilitates engaging team workshops. Rose’s enthusiasm for professional development in veterinary medicine is contagious, as she encourages and supports veterinary teams in reaching their highest potential. She believes there are ample opportunities in veterinary medicine to build and maintain a healthy, sustainable life and career. Her most current role includes Outreach Specialist and Manager within Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice. She can be reached at [email protected]


Liza W. Rudolph, BAS, CVT, VTS (CP-CF)(SAIM)
Rowan College of South Jersey

Liza Wysong Rudolph is an international speaker and has been working as a veterinary technician for almost 20 years. Liza is a graduate of the Bachelor’s program in Veterinary Technology at St. Petersburg College and is a Veterinary Technician Specialist (VTS) in Canine/Feline Clinical Practice and in Small Animal Internal Medicine.

Liza Rudolph is a Past President of the Academy of Veterinary Technicians in Clinical Practice (AVTCP). She is also a founding member of the Maryland Veterinary Technicians Association (MDVTA) and is an active member of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (VECCS), Ohio Association of Veterinary Technicians (OAVT), New York State Association of Veterinary Technicians (NYSAVT), and New Jersey Veterinary Technicians and Assistants (NJVTA).

Liza enjoys providing education and training to veterinary technicians. She is a webinar instructor for Penn Foster, provides traditional lectures and workshops, participates in online continuing education opportunities, and publishes informational articles.

Liza currently practices as a relief veterinary technician in both general and referral practices and provides education and training to veterinary technicians.


Lethea Russell, LVT
Washington State University

Lethea Russell, LVT; is the Coordinator of the Clinical Simulation Center at Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine.  Her career as a veterinary technician began in equine surgery with a focus on orthopedics and sports medicine.  After 22 years she made a career move when she decided to venture into teaching and simulation. For the past six years, Lethea has assisted with the procurement and development of models and simulated cases in several areas of veterinary medicine, ranging from small animal emergency critical care, anesthesia, disaster preparedness, large animal dystocia, and colic management.  She has found that simulation followed by a debrief session allows students to explore and develop both skills and knowledge in a safe environment without consequences. Her favorite comment from students when they walk out of the simulation room is, “I won’t forget that ever!!!”  Whether she is creating a bleeding wound, accidentally administering an overdose to a simulated patient, portraying a hysterical client, or teaching in the moment, Lethea is proud of her role in simulation. She appreciates the opportunity to offer students, veterinarians, or technicians the chance to explore complicated real-life experiences. 


Garnetta Santiago, MA, LVT

Garnetta Santiago is Manager of Academic and Professional Affairs for Zoetis, and leads strategic engagement with Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Veterinary Technology programs in the U.S. and Caribbean; as well as educational, wellbeing and professional development outreach to the veterinary profession through digital platforms. A 2003 graduate of the veterinary technology program at SUNY Delhi, Garnetta has worked as a Licensed Veterinary Technician in small and mixed-animal clinical practice, shelter medicine, academia, and the animal health industry. She holds degrees in Political Science, International Relations and Veterinary Science Technology, earned the Professional Certificate in Online Education Instructional Design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and is enrolled in the Certificate Program for Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine through Purdue University.  She is Immediate-Past President of the New York State Association of Veterinary Technicians, and lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband, daughter and two beautiful orange tabby littermates. 


Lisa Schenkel, DVM, CCRT, CMVA
Mercy College

After completing her degree in electrical engineering and working in her chosen field, Dr. Schenkel returned to school to begin her veterinary education at Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Following her graduation, she completed a small animal medicine and surgery internship at Sacramento Animal Medical Group in Carmichael, California and an additional year of practice at the North Shore Animal League Hospital for small animals. In 2000, she joined the staff at Animal Medical of New City as a small animal general practitioner with special interests in pain management and critical care.

In 2007, she completed her training in veterinary rehabilitation therapy and in 2012, became certified in veterinary medical acupuncture. Dr. Schenkel first joined Mercy College in 2011 as an adjunct professor teaching pharmacology and toxicology for the Veterinary Technology Program.  In 2012, Dr. Schenkel became a full time faculty member of the Mercy College Veterinary Technology Program; in 2013, Dr. Schenkel was appointed as the program’s Associate Director.  Starting September 1, 2015, Dr. Schenkel has been appointed as the Program Director for the Veterinary Technology Program. Dr. Schenkel currently enjoys teaching pharmacology and toxicology, clinical pathology, pain management, radiology, anesthesia and a veterinary global experiences course.


Joye Sears, RVT
Dalhousie University

Joye Sears, RVT has been a Technical Instructor with Dalhousie University since 2015.  Her areas of special interest include medical math, nutrition, client communication, and mental health in the veterinary industry.  Her passion for teaching has earned her the Faculty Award for Early Career Teaching Excellence in 2020 and the Student Appreciation Award from the graduating class in 2021.  She has previous presented topics at the AVTE Symposium and the Dalhousie Conference on University Teaching and Learning in 2019 and 2021. Her work to improve teaching techniques for vet tech students is fully supported by her furry family: Fiona, Thor and Loki. 


Ashli Selke, CVT, RVT
NAVTA President | Purdue University

Ashli has held many different roles as a credentialed veterinary technician. Her expertise lies in her adaptability to change, formerly serving in the United States Navy she had to take on many roles and navigate living in many different places. Once she completed her role there she attended Harrison College School of Veterinary Technology in Indianapolis, IN to pursue her goals in veterinary medicine. That experience helped tremendously once she had graduated and married her husband Jon who was Active duty Army. With that military commitment, she once again found herself having to move and find new ways to grow in Vet Med every few years. 

In 2016 after her husband’s retirement she chose to reside in Arkansas to be close to family and her home state of Texas. There she was able to start to pursue her interest in veterinary leadership. She began with her role on the executive board of the Arkansas Veterinary Technician Association as the Director of Marketing and was able to achieve goals within the organization that greatly improved their accessibility to help veterinary technicians within the state. From there she went onto becoming the NAVTA State Representative and then held her first position in NAVTA as District 8 Representative for TX, LA and AR helping connect voices to NAVTA and vice versa. 

In January 2021 she made the move to West Lafayette, Indiana to utilize her skillset as the Clinical Lab Coordinator and Instructional Technologist with Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine in the Veterinary Nursing Program. Her passion is advocating for veterinary nurses and furthering the profession. She sits on multiple state and national committees as well as being the NAVTA 2022 President. She believes the only way to obtain meaningful change in our profession is to be involved and advocate for ourselves on the important needs of veterinary technicians/nurses.


Micha C. Simons, VMD
Lincoln Memorial University

Micha C. Simons is an Associate Professor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery at the Center for Innovation in Veterinary Education and Technology at LMU-CVM. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania College of Veterinary Medicine (‘08) and completed a small animal surgical residency in 2014 at Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center in Pennsylvania. Since then, she has been working in academia and is very passionate about teaching and engagement. Dr. Simons’ professional interests include veterinary surgical education, gamification, and creating continuing education opportunities for veterinary faculty. She is also involved in community outreach, particularly providing STEM-based experiences to those in communities with limited access. 


Carolyn Spivock, RVT

Carolyn has been in the veterinary industry for over 20 years. She received her Bachelor’s in Animal and Poultry Science from Virginia Tech and her Associate of Applied Science – Veterinary Technology from the Community College of Baltimore County. Over her career she has held roles in patient care, leadership, hospital management, and field and support office positions. She is currently the Director of Technician & Assistant Development in VCA’s Medical Operations Department. Carolyn’s passion is helping to create opportunities for continued growth in skills, knowledge, and leadership development for our Veterinary Technicians and Assistants with a special focus in patient and team safety. 


Elizabeth Stark, CVT
Heartland Veterinary Partners

Elizabeth is a licensed technician and began her education career in 2015, starting as a lab assistant while working in General Practice. Over the past six years, she has taught a variety of classes, including Laboratory Analysis and Procedures 1-4, Animal Technology, Clinical Medicine Classes, Career, and Office Success, acted as Externship Coordinator, and maintained the school's lab equipment. In addition to being on the Certified Veterinary Technician Task Force Committee for Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association, she is currently in her fourth year at the University of Phoenix, earning a Bachelor of Communications degree. Elizabeth works for Heartland Veterinary Partners, advocates for the utilization of vet tech licensure to its fullest extent, and works towards the advancement, growth, and development of Veterinary Technicians actively in the field to better the industry and combat burnout. 


Lori L. Stose, DVM
Fort Valley State University

Lori L. Stose is an experienced veterinarian and assistant professor of veterinary science and public health.  She practiced for 15 years in small animal general medicine and surgery, and currently teaches in the veterinary technology program at Fort Valley State University.  Dr. Stose graduated with a B.A. in Biology in 2000 and obtained her DVM degree in 2005.  After graduating from veterinary school, Dr. Stose became a successful and compassionate small animal practitioner in Georgia.  She has now transitioned that passion into educating and training the future of veterinary medicine. Dr. Stose is a member of multiple veterinary organizations. She enjoys spending time with her two dogs, Birdie and Wyatt, and Worm the cat, is an avid sports fan, and can often be found relaxing under a shade tree at the lake. 


Melissa Supernor, LVT, CVT, VTS (SAIM), CFE, CCFP
Blue River Petcare

Melissa J. Supernor is founder and president of Educational Advocates for the Veterinary Team (EDAVT), speaking on Internal Medicine, Practice Development, Professional and Career Development topics at local, state, and national levels. She has authored many chapters and articles on many topics. She holds an AS degree in Veterinary Technology, a BS in Psychology and earned her CVT in 1990, VTS in Small Animal Internal Medicine in 2008, and LVT in 2020. She is an experienced veterinary technician specialist skilled in veterinary medicine, animal welfare, disaster medicine, professional and personal development of the veterinary team. Currently, she is a Clinical Development Specialist at Blue River PetCare. 


Sabrina Timperman, DVM
Mercy College

Sabrina Timperman graduated from Veterinary School in 2005 from Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine in Baton Rouge. She practiced small animal medicine for 4 years in the New York Metropolitan area and began teaching as an adjunct professor at Bergen Community College in New Jersey and at Mercy College. As an adjunct professor at Mercy College, Dr. Timperman, taught the Anatomy of Domestic Animals Laboratory course for several semesters and progressed to teaching the Lecture component soon after.  In 2010, Sabrina Timperman, was hired as a full time faculty member as an Assistant Professor in the Veterinary Technology Program in the School of Health and Natural Science.   She has taught a variety of courses including Anatomy of Domestic Animals, Physiology of Domestic Animals, Clinical Laboratory Techniques Lecture, Externship I, Externship II Global Veterinary Experiences and Cooperative Education in Veterinary Science. She has been an active member of the Veterinary Technology Program. In 2016, she became the Associate Director of the Veterinary Technology Program and received a promotion to Associate Professor. 

In addition to her work at Mercy College, Dr. Timperman has presented at many conferences both nationally and internationally. She has written a book chapter in Clinical Anatomy and Physiology for Veterinary Technicians published by Elsevier and co-edited a book published by Wiley, Assessing Essential Skills of Veterinary Technology Students (3rd ed.). She has written several articles in the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA Journal) and an article in the inaugural issue of The Journal of the Association of Veterinary Technician Educators (JAVTE), a peer-reviewed, scholarly journal, is the official publication of the Association of Veterinary Technician Educators (AVTE).


Christina V. Tran, DVM
University of Arizona, College of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Christina V. Tran is a first generation Filipino-American raised outside of Chicago, Illinois. After completing her undergraduate degree at University of California, Davis, Dr. Tran received her veterinary degree from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She has spent the majority of her professional
career in small animal private practice -- as a full-time associate, relief veterinarian, and house call practice owner. In addition, Dr. Tran has worked in shelter medicine and in academia. 

She served as veterinary technology faculty at Portland Community College and as veterinary technology program director at Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Currently, Dr. Tran is on faculty at University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine as associate professor of practice and Clinical Relations Lead Veterinarian. She also works part-time as a veterinary telehealth consultant. Dr. Tran is passionate about volunteering and currently serves in several veterinary medical organizations including the Multicultural Veterinary Medical Association (past president and founding board member), Virtual Veterinary Care Association (Board of Directors), AVMA’s Animal Welfare Committee, Arizona Veterinary Medical Association (Board of Directors), Arizona Veterinary Medical Examining Board (Investigative Committee member), and the AVMA’s Council on Education (site visitor and selection committee). In addition, Dr. Tran and her dog Marley are a registered pet therapy team with Pet Partners.


Nicole Valdez, LVT, VTS (Anesthesia / Analgesia)
Washington State University

Nicole Valdez, LVT, VTS (Anesthesia / Analgesia) started her technician career working in the anesthesia department at Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital in 2005. During her time working as an Anesthesia Technician, she obtained her Veterinary Technician Specialty (VTS) in Anesthesia / Analgesia in 2011. In 2020 she accepted a position as a Clinical Instructional Services Supervisor who oversees many different veterinary teaching labs and has had the opportunity to aid in teaching anesthesia simulation labs this past year. Her interest is to teach others her knowledge of anesthesia and local blocks. She’s a firm believer to prepare for the worst and hope for the best when running anesthetic cases. She finds that simulation aids in the process of having the time to talk about an anesthetic scenario without having patient compromise.  Where all the focus can be spent on learning in a safe positive learning environment. 


Rachel A. Valentine, RVT, BS

Rachel A. Valentine, RVT, BS is an Assistant Director in the AVMA Division of Education and Research and the Center for Veterinary Medical Education Accreditation. She serves as staff support to the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), CVTEA Selection Committee, and the AVMA/NAVTA Leadership Committee. She has been with the AVMA since August 2012. Prior to that, Rachel was an educator at Tulsa Community College Veterinary Technology Program since 1999. Rachel served on the CVTEA from 2005 to 2012, serving as Vice Chair in 2008-2010 and Chair 2010-2012, the Veterinary Technician National Examination Committee, and the Veterinary Technician Ad Hoc Committee for the Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary medical Examiners. 


Annika VanNoy, PhD
Senior Director Learning and Change, Thrive Pet Healthcare

Dr.VanNoy is a learning strategist fueled by compassion, curiosity, and dissatisfaction with the current state of adult learning in the veterinary industry. In her PhD work she combined her passion for both teaching and learning while investigating the possibilities that modern cognitive psychology models provide to adult learning. During her graduate work, Dr. VanNoy followed another one of her passions – the love and care for animals. She started working at a general practice in Austin, TX and quickly began to see the wide array of opportunities for improving veterinary continued education and the opportunities for all people to expand their careers in veterinary medicine. Dr. VanNoy is passionate about developing and supporting emotionally healthy and internally motivated teams to drive success in professional and personal development.


Margaret (Peg) Wheeler, MS, LVT, IAPCM (Career Coach)
Rarebreed Veterinary Partners

Margaret (Peg) Wheeler MS, LVT, IAPCM (Career Coach) has been teaching in veterinary technology and animal care education for over 25 years and is currently an adjunct instructor at the University of Maine Augusta. Previously Peg developed and served as Department Chair for a Veterinary Technology program and an Animal Care and Management program at York County Community College in Wells, Maine. Peg has an associate degree in Veterinary Technology, bachelor’s degrees in animal science and Environmental Conservation, a master’s degree in Adult and Higher Education, and recently earned a Professional Certificate in Career Coaching. She is the current President of the Maine Veterinary Technician’s Association and serves on the Board of Directors for the Maine State Society for Protection of Animals. Prior to working in veterinary technology education, Peg worked in small and large animal veterinary practices, shelter management, technical support for IDEXX Labs, and as owner/manager of a pet services business and municipal animal shelter. Peg lives in southern Maine with her husband, son, and many animals including cats, dogs, horses, donkeys, goats, and various species of poultry.