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AAV Student Committee

Committee Chair:

AAV Student Membership / Veterinary School Liaison

Elizabeth B. Mackey, DVM

Student Co-Chairs

Lisa Knapp is in the 2017 veterinary class at Western University of Health Sciences. Growing up near the San Bernardino mountains peaked her interest in ecology and conservation biology at an early age. While obtaining a degree in Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology at UC Davis, CA, she became interested in veterinary medicine and the roles that veterinarians play in wildlife health. After graduating from UCD, Lisa spent time as an intern at the California Wildlife Center in Calabasas, CA, and Pacific Wildlife Care in Morro Bay, CA. These experiences solidified her desire to work with wild birds. She has a strong passion for wildlife/avian medicine and is currently considering pursuing ABVP certification in avian practice. In her free time, Lisa enjoys reading, hiking, running with her dog, and being a very enthusiastic but amateur bird watcher.

Zoë van der Plaats received her Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Medicine in 2016 and is currently a student in the Masters Program at the Utrecht University in the Netherlands.


She is active this year on the board of the veterinary student association Archaeopteryx as treasurer. Archaeopteryx is an association for birds and exotic animals, which helps her to broaden her network in avian medicine. She is excited about using the networks of the AAV and Archaeopteryx to help both associations grow!


Zoë’s interest in avian species originates from her father who worked as a falconer for about 15 years. She grew up with multiple birds of prey of varying species. From a very young age, she has helped her father care for their birds of prey. Later on during her study in veterinary medicine, she came to appreciate all other birds too, however her interest still goes out more to birds of prey.

Rebecca Dickerson is a second-year veterinary student at the University of Missouri. Though her path has been tortuous, her love of birds began as a child, learning about the local wildlife at her grandparents’ bird feeder. The summer after attaining a B.A. in Business Administration from Truman State University, she found her true calling in veterinary medicine when she worked part-time for a mixed animal practitioner. In 2011, she was able to return to school and rekindled her love of birds while working on a regional ecological survey of avian malaria parasites. In 2013, she graduated with a B.S. in Biology from the University of Missouri - St. Louis.


Since starting veterinary school, she has been active with MU’s Raptor Rehabilitation Project. This year, she has been instrumental in training new students in rehabilitation creance techniques. She is looking forward to externships with avian practitioners during her clinical years and learning as much as she can about avian medicine and surgery. She currently lives in Columbia, MO with her husband, two cats, and several backyard chickens.

Cassandra Rodenbaugh is from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is a member of Oklahoma State Univeristy’s veterinary class of 2019. As a child, she realized that bearded vultures and secretarybirds were more remarkable than fairies and dragons and, even better, they were real. This led to her deep passion for raptor conservation, including the medical mitigation of environmental poisons, international breeding and reintroduction programs, and collaborating with human populations that have raptors actively integrated in their culture.


Cassandra has studied raptor rehabilitation and veterinary care in the United States and Europe, assisted in translating the Bearded Vulture European studbook, has volunteered with avian husbandry at the Tulsa Zoo for seven years, and is currently engaged in rodenticide-related coagulopathy research. Eventually she hopes to join the AZA’s Raptor Taxon Advisory Group and be an active participant in avian conservation medicine. Cassandra joined the AAV because the association facilitates similar passions and she hopes to connect to more people and learn from them.

Ongoing Research Studies

Are you conducting a clinical research study related to avian medicine? Contact to submit your study to be listed on our site.
Click here for current studies.

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