Vet Tech Institute faculty members include:
Dr. Allison Kiser, joined Vet Tech Institute as the Program/Medical Director at the beginning of 2021. Her educational background includes a B.S. in Pre-Veterinary Medicine & Biology from the University of Findlay in 2006 and then a D.V.M. degree from Iowa State in 2010. Dr. Kiser went on to complete both a comparative theriogenology internship at Iowa State University in 2011 and a residency in equine theriogenology at Texas A&M University in 2013. After practicing as an equine/mixed animal veterinarian in Ohio, South Carolina, and Wisconsin, she became the program director at another AVMA-accredited school in 2018. A native of Western Pennsylvania, she returned with her two horses, her greyhound, and her cat. She is also an avid fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins!
Courtney Cole, C.V.T., graduated from Median School of Allied Health Careers in 2004 and has worked in the veterinary field specializing in small animal medicine. Courtney earned her Bachelor's degree from Arizona State University and serves as the Chair of VTI's IACUC committee. She and her family share their home with one dog named Luna.
Nicole DiMichele, C.V.T., has been at Vet Tech Institute since 2005 and was once the school's on-site kennel manager. She 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.E.A organizations. Nicole is the proud mother of two daughters, Brinn and Sonni, three cats, and two birds. Nicole previously owned two beloved Akita's and considers herself to be an avid enthusiast of the breed.
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.
Crystal Gordon, C.V.T., has been in the small animal medicine field since graduating from the Vet Tech Institute in 2010. She completed her externship at the Humane Society, which then hired her. She went on to work in private practice for many years, including in the oncology department at MedVet and as a veterinary laboratory generalist at ANTECH Diagnostics. Crystal continues to advocate for the pets at the Humane Society, and she shares her home with her son, two cats, a dog, and a cockatiel.
Russell Grego, C.V.T., is happy to be a member of the faculty at VTI, where he is an alum. His experience includes emergency medicine at V.C.A. Med Vet West and at Canon Hill Vet Clinic, a small animal and equine practice in Canonsburg. Before attending VTI, Russell served as an active duty member of the U.S. Army and is a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He spends his time with Ashley, his wife, and two daughters, Natalie and Rosie, along with their three Siberian huskies, Eddard, Koda, Aurora; his three cats, Toothless, Cerse, Queen Anne, and horse Tymmer. He enjoys playing hockey and golf when allowed some spare time.
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 a cat, a cockatoo, an African grey parrot, an Amazon parrot, a cockatiel, an axolotl, and a bearded dragon.
Alina Neff, C.V.T., graduated from VTI in February 2020 after completing her externship in Belize at a wildlife and referral clinic. Upon returning home, she worked with the Humane Animal Rescue in Pittsburgh, going on to work at PVSEC, the National Aviary, and Animal Friends. Alina is passionate about the human-animal bond and fear-free practices in the workplace. Alina lives with her fiance Dylan and their two dogs, Zuzu and Jimmy Dean, and three cats, Obi-wan KatKnobi, Shrimp, and Taco.
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 three horses, two of which are retired racehorses, a donkey, and 60 head of beef cattle. She started volunteering at a mixed animal veterinary hospital 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. Kylie and her family share their home with one dog, four cats, and a flock of chicken and ducks.
Melissa Sowa, C.V.T., has gathered various veterinary experiences after graduating 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 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. Melissa still finds time to teach dog classes, compete in dog sports, and operate as a certifier for search-and-rescue k9 teams.
Lisa M. Szafranski, C.V.T., Program Coordinator, SCNAVTA Advisor, is a Median School of Allied Health careers graduate who has worked in the veterinary field since 1986 and is still working part-time at V.C.A. Duncan Manor Animal Hospital. She is certified in Canine Obedience from the National Canine College in Columbus and instructs basic puppy obedience classes for our kennel 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. She shares her home with two labrador retrievers, Petunia and Buoy; a rescue rotweiller, Bean and two amazing cats, Dottie and Obi, who were adopted from the school.
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