The School of Veterinary Medicine team includes more than 1,500 staff who go about their jobs with dedication and compassion. These “gems” contribute to patient care, student teaching, laboratory investigations, diagnostic testing and administrative responsibilities that support the school’s success and keep things running smoothly. The veterinary hospital recently recognized the outstanding service and dedication of staff members with the following awards


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Drs. Bret McNabb and Jane Sykes present Stacy Zindel (center) with her award.

Stacy Zindel – 2017 Rachel Smith Award

Congratulations to Stacy Zindel, Companion Exotic Animal Medicine & Surgery Service, this year’s recipient of the Rachel Smith Award, the most prestigious staff award presented by the veterinary hospital in honor of long-time staff member Rachel Smith. Zindel, a 20-year employee of the veterinary hospital, is recognized for her “can do” attitude, professional demeanor, and having the “patience of a saint” while instructing students. She is described as having a heart of gold, earning the gratitude of her colleagues for her caring and nurturing ways. Zindel is extremely dedicated to her job, her CAPE teammates and her patients.

“Her interpersonal skills and superior technical skills have been invaluable for teaching future generations of veterinary veterinarians and support staff.”

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Drs. Bret McNabb and Jane Sykes present Theresa Varland (center) with her award.

Theresa Varland – 2017 Client Services and Hospital-Wide Administrative Support Award

Congratulations to Theresa Varland who was recognized for her 29 years of service in the veterinary hospital and her enthusiastic promotion of the hospital and its people at meetings and outreach events. Varland serves as the Small Animal Orthopedics and Soft Tissue Surgery Coordinator where she goes above and beyond in her commitment to animal patients and clients. She’s recognized by colleagues with a great deal of respect as both a team player and a leader. Her positive attitude, willingness to help and humble approach is appreciated by teammates, students and clients alike.

“Theresa gets along with everyone. She is funny, compassionate, sympathetic and hard working. She is an excellent role model for the younger client service people and she is always willing to teach and train people.”

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Drs. Bret McNabb and Jane Sykes present Michele Santoro (center) with her award.

Michele Santoro – 2017 Laboratory, Pharmacy, Central Service and Diagnostic Imaging Award

Congratulations to Michele Santoro, Small Animal Radiology Service, who was recognized for tireless efforts to instruct senior students and residents in how to safely perform thoracic, abdominal and musculoskeletal radiography. She is described as one of the most talented people in the group, willing to take on whatever needs to be done to keep the service running optimally. Santoro is often sought out by imaging residents and faculty for her opinion on how to improve image quality or obtain special views to answer diagnostic questions.

“Michele has worked week after week, year after year for more than 28 years to keep patients, students, residents, service faculty and other faculty calm during what would otherwise be a chaotic period.”

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Drs. Bret McNabb and Jane Sykes present Gabe Gil (center) with his award.

Gabe Gil – 2017 Large Animal Clinic Staff Award

Congratulations to Gabe Gil, Equine Surgery and Lameness Service, who was recognized for his outstanding service, dedication, teaching ability, interpersonal skills and superior technical skills. Gil is innovative and demonstrates calm wisdom and leadership in response to the often chaotic activities of the service. His service has had a tremendous effect on overall client satisfaction and has been instrumental in the function of the service. Gil goes about his daily duties with a smile and instills confidence in the clients that their horse is being well cared for.

“The client service provided by Gabe is the best I’ve ever seen.”

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Drs. Bret McNabb and Jane Sykes present Michele Ortiz (center) with her award.

Michele Ortiz – 2017 Small Animal Clinic Staff Award

Congratulations to Michele Ortiz, Small Animal Orthopedics Service, who was recognized for her dedication, hard work and compassion patient care. Ortiz is upbeat and positive, greeting everyone with a smile while going about her job in an organized and efficient manner. Her colleagues recognize her outstanding work ethic as both a leader and a team player. Known as the “Mom of Ortho,” she has a phenomenal ability to interact with clients and is described as “incredible with the animals.”

“Michele is one of the most important members of our team; without her we would not be able to do our jobs efficiently.”

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Dr. Jane Sykes presents Rob Warren with his award.

Rob Warren – 2017 Star Award

Congratulations to Rob Warren, VMTH Communications and Marketing, who was recognized for his outstanding efforts to coordinate the school’s activities, demonstrations, tours, booths, displays and volunteers for the veterinary medicine open house associated with Picnic Day. He worked tirelessly for weeks in advance to oversee arrangements and prepare materials, displays and videos for use at the event. He not only led the initiative for planning and implementation, but provided extensive publicity and marketing of the day’s activities in advance and on the day of the event.

“Rob’s professionalism, planning and dedication were critical to the success of this event.”