My entire career has focused on animal care and teaching people how to responsibly coexist with animals.
I received my undergraduate’s degree from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment in 1995, majoring in Ecology and Animal Behavior. While studying for graduate school, I worked part-time as Veterinary Technician at an emergency animal clinic, plus I volunteered and started my thesis research at the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. I received my Master’s Degree in Biology from Western Illinois University in 1998, and in that same year, I was hired as a marine mammal trainer at Shedd Aquarium while completing my thesis work on dolphin echolocation there. I spent ten years training a diverse group of animals including whales, dolphins, otters, seals, sea lions, penguins, primates and birds of prey. For an additional three years, I was the manager of the Animal Programs Collection at Shedd. I was responsible for the husbandry, training and interpretative programming of a large collection of birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates.
Besides exotic animals, I have been training dogs and their people for the past 10 years. Prior to moving out to the Western Suburbs three years ago, I taught a number of group classes at Unleashed in Evanston: Puppy Preschool, Puppy Kindergarten, Beginning and Intermediate Obedience, Clicker Training 101, Introduction to Agility, and Solving Problem Behaviors. In addition to teaching for A Sound Beginning, I offer private training and behavior consultations, and I assist ASB colleague, Amy Saletta, with a variety of group classes.
At home, I train two rescued Australian Shepherds, three human animals under the age of nine, and a husband.