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AAV Student Committee

Committee Co-chairs/Veterinary School Liaisons:

Claire Grosset

Claire Grosset, Dr méd vét, IPSAV, Dipl ACZM

Olivia Petritz

Olivia A. Petritz, DVM, DACZM

About the Committee Co-chairs:

Claire Grosset, Dr méd vét, IPSAV, CES, Dipl ACZM

Dr. Grosset graduated from Alfort School of Veterinary Medicine in France in 2008. She completed a specialized internship in Zoological Medicine at the Université de Montréal and a residency in Companion Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine at the University of California, Davis. She became an ACZM Diplomate in 2014. She has a passion for research in exotic animals including companion avian species and birds of prey, and currently works as a clinical instructor at the Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire of the Université de Montréal, Canada.

Olivia A. Petritz, DVM, DACZM

Dr. Olivia Petritz completed her undergraduate and veterinary degree at Purdue University in Indiana. Following graduation, she completed a small animal medicine and surgery residency at a specialty hospital in San Diego, CA, followed by an exotic animal internship at Gulf Coast Avian and Exotics in Houston, TX. Dr. Petritz returned to California to complete an ACZM residency at the University of California, Davis in companion exotics and zoo medicine, and achieved board certification in November of 2013. She then started an exotics service at a specialty hospital in Los Angeles and worked there for three years prior to joining the faculty at North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine as an assistant professor of avian and exotic animal medicine.

2019 Committee Activities:

What does the Student Committee have in store for you for 2019?


  • Selection of the recipient(s) of the AAV Student scholarship
  • Selection of the recipient(s) of the AAV Chapter scholarship
  • Reach out to the AAVAC and EAAV representatives to join our efforts to educate students
  • Develop more Student Chapters in veterinary schools outside of the United States to better engage international veterinary students in learning about avian medicine


We are always interested to hear from YOU about what is needed from our student membership. If you have any requests or suggestions, please let us know!

Meet the Student Committee Members

The following students serve as co-chairs on the student committee.


Cassandra Rodenbaugh

Cassandra Rodenbaugh is from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is a member of Oklahoma State University’s veterinary class of 2019. As a child, she realized that bearded vultures and secretary birds 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.


Elysha Smith

Elysha Smith is a veterinary student in the class of 2020 at the Ontario Veterinary College, in Guelph, Canada. Her love of birds started when her parents said she couldn’t have a leopard gecko but agreed to a budgie. This started Elysha’s love of birds, and she became a member of local parrot clubs, volunteering with their community outreach events, and attended the Canadian Parrot Conference throughout high school. She attended the University of Guelph, majoring in zoology, and she graduated in 2015. Elysha has worked with a variety of exotic companion species throughout the years, but birds remain her favourite, with a passion for parrots and backyard poultry. Elysha hopes to pursue specialization in avian medicine after graduation.

Elysha has a jenday conure that currently lives with her parents, due to student living arrangements, but she has 2 hedgehogs in Guelph that keep her busy.

Kerry Thomas

Kerry Thomson B.Sc. (Hons), B.Ed.

DVM candidate, Class of 2021

University of Sydney

Kerry commenced her DVM degree at the University of Sydney Australia following a career as a secondary school biology and chemistry teacher. She is the founder of the Association of Avian Veterinarians Student Chapter and Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians Student Chapter at the university. Kerry’s primary interests in veterinary medicine include comparative ophthalmology and zoological medicine. Her interest in birds took root through undergraduate courses in ornithology and evolutionary biology and matured into a clinical interest whilst spending time with Dr. James Harris at Mayfair Veterinary Clinic in Hobart. Kerry has a deep reverence for wildlife and feels very fortunate to have some of the most unique, diverse, and beautiful, yet very cheeky, birds in the world right in her backyard.


Taylor Tvede

Taylor Tvede is a veterinary student at Ross University in St. Kitts. She attended Cornell College and double-majored in biology and environmental studies so she could combine her love of conservation with the potential to continue on into a medical field. After completing her undergraduate education in 2013, she moved around the country and worked at various rescue and rehab facilities, sanctuaries, and zoological facilities. She has worked with all kinds of animals like sea turtles, big cats, bears, primates, reptiles, the whole shebang, but birds are easily her favorite, and she has a special love of raptors. Taylor has always been very passionate about exotic animals and wildlife. Ideally, she would love to be a zoo veterinarian for a facility that encourages and supports in situ conservation projects that she can initiate or be a part of. She is involved with many organizations on her campus that get her more experience with exotic mammals, reptiles, and birds and is currently the president of Ross University’s AAV student chapter.Taylor has a pet hedgehog that is currently being fostered back in her hometown of Albuquerque, NM since hedgehogs are illegal on St. Kitts, but the pet void has been filled by her island cat and any bird that needs home care.


Zoë van der Plaats

My name is Zoë van der Plaats, I'm 23 years old and I received my Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Medicine in 2016. I'm currently a student in the Masters Program at the Utrecht University in the Netherlands and I'll be receiving my Master of Science in Veterinary Medicine in October 2019. My interest in avian species originates from my father. He has worked as a falconer for about 15 years so I grew up with multiple birds of prey and owls of varying species which I helped to take care of as well. During my study in veterinary medicine I came to appreciate smaller birds as well, but my interest still goes out more to birds of prey and owls. I completed my Master Research Project 'Relationship between Blood Lead Concentrations and Occurrence of Trauma in Wild Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) Admitted to Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers' at the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota in 2017 after which I won the Student Manuscript Competition of the AAV in 2018 and presented my paper at ExoticsCon. For the future I hope I can specialize myself in avian medicine somehow, therefore I'm trying to network a lot and look for opportunities abroad.

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