I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. After one year of college, I entered the Exotic Animal Training and Management program at America’s Teaching Zoo in Moorpark, CA. I graduated in 2004 and moved soon after to San Diego, where I started my first job in the animal field at an outreach facility called The Wildlife Company. For over two years I took exotic animals to schools and libraries and performed educational presentations, promoting conservation of the world’s animals and habitats. After two years, I left The Wildlife Company to complete a six week internship with Natural Encounters, Inc. and their annual bird show at the Texas State Fair in Dallas. During those six weeks I gained a wealth of knowledge in training, specifically with free flight birds.
Once back in San Diego, I pursued another passion of mine: the medical aspect of the animal field. I started at All Creatures Animal Hospital in Del Mar as an assistant veterinary technician. I quickly moved up to Vet Tech I and then Vet Tech II. All Creatures was not only a primary vet facility but also an emergency facility that also provided overnight care for critical patients. I was given the opportunity to assist in everything from general care, to overnight patient monitoring, to triage and emergency surgeries. It was an amazing opportunity to grow my skill in observation and knowledge of animal medicine.
After two years as a vet tech, I was hired as a carnivore keeper at the San Diego Zoo in the Sun Bear Forest area in 2008. For three years I worked with an amazing range of animals from bears and big cats, to primates and small and large hoof stock. Sun Bear Forest introduced me to what has become a new passion in my life, the African wild dog. They are a species that will forever hold a place in my heart. IN 2011 I moved over to the Children’s Zoo area where I have the opportunity to practice my love of educational presentations and building relationships with animals via free contact training.
After participating in multiple AAZK SD events over my years as an SDZ keeper, such as Bowling for Rhinos and Pints for Preservation, I was inspired to attend an AAZK SD board meeting. After just one meeting, I knew that I had to keep going. I felt inspired by the dedication of the board members who were doing so much for animals and conservation beyond their work hours. Four months later, I was voted onto the board as the Events Coordinator. After a year as Events Coordinator, I was offered the Vice President role as well. I am excited to do my part to help endangered species and habitats, and promote conservation by planning fundraising events for AAZK SD. I look forward to networking and growing as a keeper and a conservationist thanks to the wonderful animal keeper community here in San Diego via AAZK SD.