Tell us about your background.
I’m originally from Florida and grew up less than a mile from the beach, but my veterinary career has taken me to many new and exciting places over the past few years.
In high school I worked at a local veterinary hospital, which is where my dream of becoming a veterinarian began, even though my mom knew long before I did. As a little girl I was fascinated with watching my dad clean the fish after a successful day out on the boat. I always had to see what was in the stomach!
I earned both my bachelor’s (2008) and master’s (2010) degrees from the University of Florida. I then moved to Starkville, Miss., to attend veterinary school and graduated from Mississippi State University in 2014. Following veterinary school, I completed a small animal rotating internship at North Carolina State University in 2015 and a small animal emergency and critical care residency at Colorado State University in 2018. After completing my residency training, I joined the faculty here at the University of Illinois.
How did you become interested in emergency and critical care?
During my undergraduate studies, I worked as an ICU/ER technician at the University of Florida’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital. One busy afternoon, with almost every ICU cage already claimed by a very sick dog or cat, we had multiple emergencies come in at the same exact time. A short while later I remember looking up from the patient that I was helping with and as I looked around the room there were doctors, technicians, and students everywhere and they were all doing the same thing I was, trying to save an animal’s life. It was a day that I’ll never forget, and that’s when I knew emergency and critical care was my calling.
What are your special interests?
During my residency training I had the opportunity to receive advanced training in extracorporeal therapies including hemodialysis, hemoperfusion, therapeutic plasma exchange, and cardiac bypass. I am very passionate about these advanced therapies and hope to be able to provide this service to our patients and clients in the future.
Have you always wanted to work in academia?
Since I was a technician, I have always enjoyed teaching, so it was a no brainer when it came to choosing a career in academia. Being able to teach the next generation of veterinarians, while working alongside other specialists and providing expert medical care to our patients, is the most rewarding part of my job.
Do you have any pets?
Of course! When I was younger, I fell in love with the Rhodesian ridgeback breed. After I moved to Illinois, it was the perfect time for me to get a new ridgeback puppy, and I ended up getting two instead! They are so much fun and definitely keep me on my toes!