Vet Tech Institute faculty members include:
Dr. Rebekah Clermont, Medical Director, graduated with a B.S. in Animal Science and a minor in genetics from North Carolina State University and then earned her veterinary medical degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. As a D.V.M. student, Dr. Clermont was a co-author of a study about Cushing's disease in horses. After graduation, she worked for four years as a general veterinary practitioner in Virginia Beach, VA, where she gained substantial experience with medical and surgical procedures. In 2014, she and her husband moved to Pittsburgh, and Dr. Clermont joined Vet Tech Institute. Dr. Clermont currently has a Pitt Bull Terrier that she adopted from a shelter in Tennessee in 2007, but she previously has had other dogs, several cats, several rabbits, fish, hamsters, and a green iguana.
Nicole DiMichele, C.V.T., has taught at Vet Tech Institute for 13 years and was at one time the school's on-site kennel manager. Nicole earlier worked as a certified veterinary technician at both a busy veterinary emergency hospital and a non-emergency/routine veterinary clinic. Nicole received her B.A. in Psychology from the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and her A.S.T (in veterinary technology) from Median School of Allied Health Careers; she also is a current and active member of the NAVTA, PVMA, and C.V.T.EA organizations. Nicole is the proud owner of two dogs (an Akita and a Pit-Bull mix), and most consider her to be an avid enthusiast of the Akita Breed.
Amy Geramita, R.V.T., Kennel Manager, has a passion for large animal medicine, and still helps her father on their family farm, raising beef cattle, swine, and poultry. Graduating from Vet Tech Institute in 2011, her externships were at Cleveland Equine Hospital in Ravenna, Ohio, and Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. Amy then was the head veterinary technician for three years at a small animal and equine practice in Landrum, South Carolina. Moving to Pennsylvania to be closer to family, she spent a year as an I.C.U. Veterinary Technician at Animal Emergency Clinic (now MedVet – Mahoning Valley) before joining the faculty at Vet Tech Institute. Amy and her husband have five animals in their home: Rowdy, a rat terrier; Belle and Brie, chihuahuas (both adopted from VTI); and two cats, Missy (adopted from VTI when Amy was a student) and Gus.
Nikki Girimonti, L.V.T., joined the faculty at Vet Tech Institute in 2007. She started by working at the local equine facility as a trainer and riding instructor while she was still in college, graduating from Duquesne University with a major in biochemistry. She began her career working overnight shifts and monitoring anesthesia in an emergency practice, eventually finding her passion in anesthesia and exotic animal medicine. She then became the technical supervisor at a large referral practice, where she spent countless hours in surgery. Mrs. Girimonti feels so fortunate to be able to share her variety of experiences with VTI students. She currently lives west of Pittsburgh with her husband, two children, and numerous pets.
Russell Grego recently joined the faculty at VTI, where he is an alum. His experience includes emergency medicine at V.C.A. Met Vet West and general practice at Canon Hill Vet Clinic, a small animal and equine practice in Canonsburg. Prior to attending VTI, Russell served as an active duty member of the U.S. Army in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His four dogs (three Siberian huskies and a pug) are Eddard, Koda, Moose, and Otis; his two domestic short-haired cats are Toothless and Cersei; his horse is Tymmer. When the seven of them allow him some spare time, he enjoys playing hockey.
Dr. Sara Hurst earned both a B.S. in Animal Science and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Texas A&M University, before going on active duty as a Captain with the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps. Stationed at West Point, NY, she was the official veterinarian for the U.S. Army Mascot Mules. Dr. Hurst then worked in private practice for four years in Texas before moving to the Pittsburgh area and joining the Vet Tech Institute faculty. Dr. Hurst and her husband own many pets, including 2 French Bulldogs, a cat, three horses, a cockatoo, an African grey parrot, a cockatiel, a panther chameleon, and a bearded dragon.
Carolyn Klar, C.V.T., has been a licensed veterinary technician for 33 years, with experience in all aspects of veterinary technology as well as hospital management. She started out in mixed animal practice, where she was a senior technician and surgical tech for eight years. Wanting to broaden her experience, she joined a large emergency hospital in Pittsburgh. She then transferred to V.C.A. Met Vet, where she still works as an on-call Veterinary Technician. Carolyn has two children, a daughter studied art therapy and a son graduating from VTI in February 2019. She also shares her home with two dogs, Josie and Scorpio, and three cats, Julie, Mary, and Monster.
Kylie Pringle, C.V.T., has a passion for animals and farming that started at a very young age. She grew up on her family farm, where she still helps with the three horses (two of which are retired racehorses), donkey, and 60 head of beef cattle. She started volunteering at a mixed animal veterinary hospital while in high school and then graduated from Vet Tech Institute in 2014. An externship at Performance Equine, based out of the Meadows Racetrack, boosted her love for harness racing and performance racehorse medicine. Working next at a mixed animal practice, she honed her skills in the small animal emergency department, I.C.U., and equine department. Recently, after another fun stint working at Performance Equine, she joined the staff at VTI. Kylie, her husband, and her son share their home with two dogs and three cats.
Rachel Russell, M.A.Ed, C.V.T., has taught at Vet Tech Institute for 12 years. She earned her B.S. in Veterinary Medical Technology from Wilson College and her master's (M.A. Ed.) in Teaching & Learning from Argosy University. At Argosy, she studied curricular design, English as a second language support, and accommodation design for learning-disabled and advanced students. While in the field, Rachel worked at a busy "24/7-365" emergency hospital and later as a head surgical anesthetist/technologist at a general practice clinic. Rachel shares her home with Loki, her orange tabby, and enjoys reading, gardening, and spending quality time with her family.
Brianne Schultz, C.V.T., who recently joined the VTI faculty, has four years of experience administering chemotherapy to patients and working one-on-one with clients in the Medical Oncology Department at Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center. A 2014 Vet Tech Institute graduate, she also has participated in a study abroad program through the South African University.
Melissa Sowa, C.V.T., gathered a variety of experiences after graduated from Vet Tech Institute in 2009. For four years, she was part of a 24/7- 365 practice that handled both emergencies and routine care. Melissa then joined a fast-paced clinic that performed 30-to-40 surgeries per day; during her four years there, she completed her apprentice with AWDA and became a certifier and evaluator for S.A.R. teams. Along the way, she has earned a B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh and a master's degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Argosy University. She and her husband, Piet, live with their two German shepherds, Vader and Neo, and their cat, Isis. Melissa still finds time to teach dog classes, compete in dog sports, lead a unit on a search and rescue team, be a handler for K9 Vader and K9 Neo, and operate as a certifier for search-and-rescue k9 teams.
Lisa M. Szafranski, C.V.T., Program Coordinator, SCNAVTA Advisor, has been working in the veterinary field for over 30 years, and still works part-time at V.C.A. Duncan Manor Animal Hospital. She is certified in Canine Obedience from the National Canine College in Columbus, has taught obedience classes, and has competed in agility and obedience trials with her dogs. "Mrs. S" brings her enthusiasm and love of the field of veterinary medicine into the classroom, and her "Mrs. S-isms" are a helpful way to retain the critical Terminology words. Mrs. S shares her home with two Beagles, Tripp and Ike (whom she adopted from the school), a Parson Russell terrier, Lily (who is a certified therapy dog that goes on pre-school visits and has been in two of our commercials), and two amazing cats, Dottie and Obi.
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