Zoological and Aquatic Animal Residency Program

Residency Graduates

Illinois Fosters Outstanding Zoo Careers

Here are some of the individuals who completed the Illinois Zoological and Aquatic Animal Medicine Residency Program, which is jointly offered through the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo, and John G. Shedd Aquarium.


Dr. Michelle Davis kneels next to her seal patient and feels it's lower abdomen.

Dr. Michelle Davis, Dipl. ACZM

Veterinary Resident: 2005 to 2008
Current Position: Veterinarian, Georgia Aquarium

“The residency shaped me into a well-rounded zoo veterinarian. I learned from many different experts and left the program ready to work as a zoo and aquarium vet. The Chicago Zoological Society’s fast-paced, top-notch veterinary program was integral in preparing me for my current position.”




Dr. Lisa Naples feels around the abdomen of her patient.

Dr. Lisa Naples, Dipl. ACZM

Veterinary Resident: 2006 to 2009
Current Position: Chief Veterinarian, Los Angeles Zoo








Dr. Trevor Zachariah focuses on his patient as he operates.

Dr. Trevor Zachariah, Dipl. ACZM

Veterinary Resident: 2007 to 2010
Current Position: Director of Veterinary Programs, Brevard Zoo








Kim Wojick points to a patient's vitals as she operates.

Kim Wojick, Dipl. ACZM

Veterinary Resident: 2008 to 2011
Current Position: Associate Veterinarian, Roger Williams Park Zoo

“Brookfield Zoo and the Illinois Zoological and Aquatic Residency Program was an amazing educational experience that provided the framework for my career in zoo and conservation medicine.”





Gwen Jankowski smiles while holding a small animal in her hands.

Gwen Jankowski, Dipl. ACZM

Veterinary Resident: 2009 to 2012
Current Position: Associate Veterinarian, Denver Zoo

“I couldn’t have asked for a better veterinary and animal care staff to work with and learn from. The staff was always expanding the boundaries of advanced medical care. I also valued the opportunity to participate in conservation projects, most memorably working with Dr. Adkesson in Peru to help protect South American fur seals.”




Ben Nevitt smiles at the dolphin he is in the water with.

Ben Nevitt, Dipl. ACZM

Veterinary Resident: 2010 to 2013
Current Position: Associate Veterinarian, San Diego Zoo

“My residency not only allowed me to get my job dream job but also gave me the tools to be successful in it.”






Jennifer Flower, with her stethoscope around her neck, kneels next to a zebra, Jennifer Flower, Dipl. ACZM

Veterinary Resident: 2012 to 2015
Current Position: Chief Clinical Veterinarian, Mystic Aquarium

“The Illinois Zoological and Aquatic Animal Residency Program provided me with a life-changing opportunity to be trained by experts in the field of zoo and aquatic animal medicine and to practice high-quality medicine on a variety of exotic species. This training program prepared me to become a successful and well-rounded zoo and aquatic veterinarian.”



Dr. Jimmy Johnson focuses on treating a large animal.

Dr. Jimmy Johnson, Dipl. ACZM

Veterinary Resident: 2013 to 2016
Current Position: Associate Veterinarian, St. Louis Zoo

“The diverse experience and expert mentorship afforded at the Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo was invaluable for my development as a versatile clinician and scientist. It made me well-equipped to make meaningful, forward contributions to the field of zoological medicine.”





Dr. Meg Watson smiles as she receives a kiss from her seal patient.

Dr. Megan Watson, Dipl. ACZM

Veterinary Resident: 2014 to 2017
Current Position: Associate Veterinarian, Atlanta Zoo

“This residency has been an unforgettable opportunity that helped shape me into the zoo and aquatic animal clinician and scientist that I aspired to be. The Chicago Zoological Society’s staff practices cutting-edge medicine, setting an example for what I hope to achieve and contribute to the field. Field conservation, research projects, and working alongside superb mentors are just some highlights. The residency provided me with a strong foundation to build upon. It has been the highest privilege and honor to be a part of this team.”



Dr. Dana Lindemann feeds a giraffe.

Dr. Dana Lindemann, Dipl. ACZM

Veterinary Resident: 2015 to 2018
Current Position: Senior Veterinarian, Sea World Orlando

“The Illinois Zoological and Aquatic Animal Residency provided a unique opportunity to exercise clinical skills with a diverse array of species and in a variety of work environments, while receiving guidance of exceptional mentors and colleagues. This residency truly prepared me to make a meaningful contribution to the conservation medicine community. I will always be proud to be a graduate of this program!”



Dr. Karisa Tang smiles for a photo with a pangolin around her neck.

Dr. Karisa Tang, Dipl. ACZM

Veterinary Resident: 2016 to 2019
Current Position: Staff Veterinarian, Shedd Aquarium

“I am incredibly fortunate to have been mentored by an immensely talented team of clinicians, researchers, and teachers. This residency models making big impacts through compassion for zoological species, both at the population and individual levels. Graduates of the Illinois Zoological and Aquatic Animal Residency move forward with incredible opportunities, clinical acumen with a vast variety of species, and a lifelong family of colleagues.”



Dr. Julie Sheldon smiles as she treats a sloth under anesthetic.

Dr. Julie Sheldon, Dipl. ACZM

Veterinary Resident: 2017 to 2020
Current Position: Clinical Assistant Professor of Zoological Medicine, University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine

“This residency program is incredibly diverse with strong mentorship in clinical, research, and teaching opportunities. The challenges it provided helped me grow as a clinician and a person and build teamwork and leadership skills–while in a supportive and fun atmosphere with enthusiastic people I consider family. The work took me from the clinic to the rocky beaches of Peru. I will cherish the years I spent with the Brookfield Zoo and IZAAR!”