Veterinary Oncology Physics Coordinator
Veterinary Radiation Oncology Technician II
When I was just six months old, my parents brought home a puppy and a kitten, and the three of us were raised together. During my childhood, we had horses, cats, dogs, hermit crabs, fish, and a turtle. I couldn’t imagine my life without animals!
I was born and raised in Boise, Idaho and my parents still live in the house I grew up in. I moved to Northern Colorado after high school and earned a degree in elementary education from the University of Northern Colorado. I taught school for a few years and then decided to pursue my true passion – animals.
I earned an associate’s degree in Veterinary Technology at Front Range Community College. Shortly after graduation, I was hired in the Radiation Oncology department at the Flint Animal Cancer Center as a Veterinary Radiation Oncology Technician. I worked as a technician on the team for seven years, assisting with radiation treatments, communicating with clients, and teaching vet students. My degree in elementary education played a bigger role in my new career than I ever thought it would.
After immersing myself in radiation treatment, I knew I wanted to learn more. I decided to go back to school to pursue a master’s degree in Radiologic Health Sciences (Radiation Cancer Biology and Oncology) here at Colorado State University. I am graduating in the spring of 2023, which has helped me transition into the role of Veterinary Oncology Physics Coordinator.
I spend most of my time working with our medical physicist to ensure our clinical treatment machines are working accurately. I am responsible for all monthly required quality assurance on our linear accelerator, small animal irradiator, and two superficial irradiators. I train our residents on QA of the linear accelerator to prepare them for their board examination. I also maintain the 3D printers in Dr. Leary’s lab and print patient-specific 3D boluses which are used to improve radiation outcomes on uneven surfaces, such as snouts and limbs. I am also the primary operator of our small animal irradiator which is used for everything from cell irradiation to treatment of avian and exotic small pets.
As much as I love my new position, I haven’t forgotten my roots on the clinic floor. I spend time in the clinic providing support when an extra set of technicians’ hands are needed for patient care and client scheduling.
I am inspired every day knowing that the work we do at the FACC impacts not only our current patients but future patients as well. I also love the knowledge that our research today may impact treatments available one day for human patients, providing quality of life for someone’s child or grandparent.
When I have free time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, reading, fly fishing, watching hockey, and working on puzzles. As in childhood, my family still has many pets. Willow is our Staffordshire terrier mix, Tulip is a pit bull, and Jedi and Finn are our domestic shorthair kitties. We also have three birds – Odette, a canary, and Denahi and Kenai, parakeets.
I love working here and knowing that what I do makes a difference.