Assistant Professor, University of Florida
I was raised in a military family, but I spent most of my life growing up in the great state of Oklahoma and am the oldest of four children (one brother and two sisters). I spent my younger years as a figure skater before joining the rest of my family as a soccer player. After graduating with a zoology degree from Oklahoma State University in 2005, I married my husband, Jake; we then moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma where I worked as a shark biologist at the Oklahoma Aquarium. After several years, I decided to attend veterinary school and earned my DVM from Oklahoma State University in 2013. We then moved to Fort Collins, Colorado where I completed my rotating internship, small animal surgery residency, and masters degree at Colorado State University. While in Colorado, I had the opportunity to not only enjoy the great outdoors, but I was able to train with many great surgeons and to experience many aspects of MIS with Dr. Eric Monnet. After completing my residency, we made the journey to Gainesville, Florida where I joined the faculty at University of Florida. While not working or spending time outdoors, we enjoy hanging with our large dog, 3 cats, a tortoise, and many plants.
Tell us about your current role (ie. Practice type, position, professional and research focuses?)
I currently work as an Assistant Professor in Small Animal Soft Tissue Surgery at the University of Florida and am completing my ACVS Minimally Invasive Fellowship in Small Animal Soft Tissue Surgery with Dr. Brad Case. I love getting to work in an academic setting and seeing students and residents get excited about surgery. As I progress in my career, my research interests have evolved to include gastrointestinal surgery, upper airway surgery, as well as minimally invasive surgical techniques.
How do you incorporate MIS into your surgery clinic?
I enjoy incorporating MIS into many aspects of surgery from basic procedures like laparoscopic ovariectomies and gastropexies, to more advanced surgical procedures like thoracoscopy, cholecystectomies, and adrenalectomies. I love exposing veterinary students and residents to basic MIS procedures on a weekly basis and getting them excited about incorporating this into their future practice. We are able to then build off these fundamental skills, and I get to not only teach and watch residents develop their more advanced MIS skills, but also learn and develop techniques myself.
What excites you about MIS? (or tell us about a MIS success story)
I love being involved in a field that is continuing to evolve and progress. There is so much more to explore and learn in veterinary medicine and MIS, and it is both exciting and fun to be a part of a process that continues to challenge me and encourage me to keep learning. It is always exciting to be a part of something new and innovative and get to expose and excite others about MIS.
Why do you love being a VES member?
Being a VES member is a great opportunity to stay informed and learn about new and exciting opportunities in MIS from many different experts in the field. I really enjoy getting to be a part of a great community that is welcoming and able to share ideas and thoughts and provide feedback. I especially love being able to hear different ideas and experiences other surgeons have had and incorporating those into my practice.
Where would you like to see veterinary MIS go in the future?
Veterinary MIS has an open road ahead, and the possibilities are endless. I would love to see MIS become more readily accessible and available to our veterinary patients. In order for this to happen, I would like to see MIS training opportunities become more readily available for both students and surgery residents.
What do you like to do for fun outside of veterinary medicine?
My favorite activities involve spending time with my family and traveling. I must admit that I’m an old lady at heart, and I love bird watching, reading, crocheting, and plants (my new Florida obsession)! My husband and I enjoy getting outdoors to hike and spending time near the water, whether kayaking the Florida rivers and coast or just enjoying the beautiful beaches.