Todd Driggers, DVM
Dr. Todd Eric Driggers grew up in a rural Indiana town, where loving animals through providing medical care became his passion. He started by caring for his pet dogs and cats as a boy, and progressed to exotic pets, such as his pet turtle named Tippy. Dr. Driggers was admitted to the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine after just two years of undergraduate study at Purdue, due to his commitment to the profession, demonstrated by his volunteerism and job at a small animal hospital in Indiana. Science, biology, and eventually medicine have been combined in his career as a practitioner of exotic animal medicine and surgery.
After graduating, he began working exclusively with exotic animals at the Avian And Exotic Animal Clinic in Indianapolis, and eventually moved to Arizona, where he started an exotic practice at Mesa Veterinary Hospital. He started a mobile practice called “Foothills Mobile Exotic DVM” in 1997 and changed the hospital name to “The Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic of Arizona” after moving into a small clinic.
He has spoken nationally and internationally at the Association of Avian Veterinary Conferences and the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarian Veterinary Conferences. He has also written several chapters in various peer-reviewed journals and books.
Dr. Driggers vacations in exotic locations around the world to view and learn about the wildlife he treats at the office. He is involved in many other activities outside work, including medical coordination for medical mission trips to the Dominican Republic through Food for the Hungry and child sponsorship advocacy. Dr. Driggers is a busy father of three and husband to his high school girlfriend, Heather. He and his family attend church at Central Christian Church in Gilbert.
Sarah McLaughlin, DVM
Dr. Sarah McLaughlin joined AEAC after graduating from North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine in May of 2015. Prior to veterinary school, Dr. McLaughlin earned a Bachelor of Science from Northern Arizona University in 2008. Her professional interests include avian medicine, exotic animal dentistry, and ophthalmology. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, drawing, and taking care of her two Yellow-naped Amazon parrots and two cats.
Alyssa Scagnelli, DVM
We are thrilled to announce that Dr. Alyssa Scagnelli will be joining AEAC on Monday, July 10th! Originally from New York City, Dr. Scagnelli completed veterinary school at the University of Missouri and graduated in 2015. After graduation, she completed two academic internships at the Louisiana State University (LSU) School of Veterinary Medicine. Her last year at LSU was entirely devoted to exotic pet and zoological medicine. Dr. Scagnelli is extremely passionate about reptile medicine and wishes to become more involved in local conservation efforts for various species. She also really enjoys raptor medicine and is particularly fond of avian orthopedic surgery. In her spare time, Dr. Scagnelli enjoys being outdoors with activities including: backpacking, climbing, kayaking and archery. At home, she can be found relaxing with her two (friendly) male iguanas and numerous other scaly critters.
Tim Cota, Veterinary Technician
Tim has had a lifelong passion for a wide variety of animals. From a very young age, he has had many reptiles and invertabrates that he has kept and bred. He has been a Veterinary Technician for ten years, and has contributed to many entomological studies involving scorpions, tarantulas, and many other small arachnids such as mites and pseudoscorpions. In his freetime, he likes to shoot portrait photography and spend time with his wife Andrea and 5 year old daughter Zoey, going camping, hiking, and looking for reptiles and bugs to photograph.
Dan Scrivener, BS, Certified Veterinary Technician
Dan grew up in a military family and is a Navy veteran himself who has lived all over the world. He started his career in the veterinary field in 2000 working as a kennel technician. In 2002, Dan became a Certified Veterinary Technician. Minus the time he spent serving his country, he has been working with exotics and emergency and critical care medicine ever since. Dan has always had a passion for birds of prey and has become a licensed falconer and currently volunteers at Liberty Wildlife as an educator and medical services volunteer. He completed his BS in Environmental Science with a minor in Biology in August of 2017 and plans to continue on to his Master’s degree. Dan spends his free time out hawking and hiking with his wife Stefanie, daughter Cameron, his terrier mix Archimedes, his ferruginous hawk Quinn, and his prairie falcon Tesla.
Priscilla Barrera, Veterinary Assistant
Originally from Sacramento, California, Priscilla grew up mostly in Arizona. Priscilla graduated from Williams Field High School and East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) in 2016. Priscilla got her certification through EVIT as a certified Veterinary Assistant during her senior year of high school. Priscilla has always had a big heart and compassion for all kinds of animals but has a soft spot for all feathered friends. Priscilla has owned Pigeons, Ring necks, Amazons, a Quaker, and an African Grey, along with dogs at home. Priscilla has done volunteer work both handing food out for the needy as well as working at a shelter for dogs and cats. In her free time she enjoys going to the gym, photography, and is always on the move. Priscilla is currently attending college for her bachelor’s degree while also working at AEAC.
Marisol Carrasco, Veterinary Assistant
Marisol Carrasco was born and raised in Mesa, Arizona in a house of 2 brothers and 4 sisters; She is child #5. Her parents are both from Mexico but decided this state would be the best place to raise their 6 kids. She enjoys the heat of summer more than the “cold” winters here. Marisol graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Applied Bio in hopes to use it as a stepping stone to one day get into veterinary school. Marisol has had a love for animals since she was very young; her house has always had dogs, birds, fish and more recently has added tortoises and cats. In her free time Marisol volunteers for an animal shelter and a rescue when not at the clinic. When she has time to relax and take time away from all the animals in her life she spends it with her family, her husband, her Corgi, her Cockatiel, and her Indian Ringneck.
Samantha DeMarco, Veterinary Assistant
Samantha was born and raised in Gilbert, Arizona, graduated from Perry High School, and received an athletic scholarship to play goalkeeper for Northern Arizona University’s Women's Soccer Team where she studied biology and herpetology. She has always had a passion for animals, especially reptiles, and ever since she was little, Samantha and her dad would go hiking looking for wildlife, especially native rattlesnakes. Ever since then she has wanted to work with exotics and wanted to be in the veterinary field. At 22 years-old, Samantha just recently bought her first house last October in Maricopa, Arizona. Samantha spends much of her time outside of AEAC working with green anacondas, Argentine boas, caiman lizards, and native rattlesnakes primarily. In addition to this variety of reptiles, she does share her home with several other critters as well including her dog Baily whom she raised from 5 weeks old. Samantha's “free” time is spent working with socializing Wolf dogs and educating the public regarding these amazing animals.
Jamie Cox, Veterinary Assistant
Bio coming soon . . .
Sandi Orenstein, BA, Office Manager
Sandi Orenstein grew up in Connecticut and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Quinnipiac College. Sandi’s professional career moved her to Massachusetts, where she served as the Senior Development Director for an international non-profit organization doing Major Gifts Fundraising and Event Planning. After relocating to Arizona in 2001, Sandi left the business world to pursue her interest in caring for animals. She worked for the Arizona Humane Society and volunteered for several local animal rescue groups. In addition to spending her days here at AEAC, Sandi volunteers for a local non-profit and serves on their Board of Directors as well. Sandi also trains in the martial arts and teaches karate on the weekends. Sandi lives in Chandler, where she now resides with her husband and their two children. Sandi has always had a houseful of cats and dogs however spending her days at an exotic animal clinic has had its influence - the human to reptile ratio at her house is now 4/4 with their three ball pythons and a crested gecko!
Val Welch, Receptionist
Val Welch is a native Californian but relocated to Gilbert from Iowa to escape the cold winters and to be closer to family. She graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Landscape Architecture. She practiced this for several years and then took a different path and opened a bakery and espresso café with her sister. After 21 years they sold the business in 2014. She and her husband have 3 adult children and love spending time with them and their granddaughter, Sage. They enjoy biking, camping, and most outdoor activities. Val has many hobbies including gardening, jewelry making, and home decorating projects. She has always had an affection for animals and enjoys the company of their cat, Lucy. Over the years, she has had many dogs, cats, a parakeet, many frogs, lizards, and other critters.
Emily Aflague, Receptionist
For as long as she can remember, Emily has always had a passion for animals. As a kid, she idolized Steve Irwin and could not wait to get started in the biological community. She has volunteered and interned at Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde, AZ. Emily has a Bachelor of Science in Biology with an emphasis in conservation and education. She plans to return to school to receive a degree in marine biology in order to achieve her lifelong goal of researching great white sharks while simultaneously educating the public on these amazing animals. Emily shares her home with her fiancé Jack and their 4 pets: Emerson the Irish terrier mix, Brody the Great Dane mix, Jarvis the Ball Python, and Elio the African Pygmy Hedgehog.
Seraphim Robertson, Receptionist
Seraphim was born in Colorado and was always in the creeks looking for bugs, frogs, craw-fish, and minnows to catch. Seraphim and her Mom moved to Arizona on her 8th birthday to be closer to family. She grew up in a small town called Coolidge and graduated from Imagine Prep Coolidge with many awards. Seraphim is on the path to be a Veterinary Technician, and possibly study zoology.
Jose Tovar, Animal Assistant
Jose was born and raised in a small town in AZ. He became interested in animals at a young age, always hopeful of bringing some type of pet when visiting his relative's ranch. Over the years he has had a variety of pets. In 2000 Jose rescued 4 ferrets, which increased his interest in exotic pets. In 2017 Jose decided to leave his job of 14 years in manufacturing to pursue his passion of caring for and helping all pets. In his free time Jose enjoys hiking, camping, astronomy, cooking, traveling, and building projects. Currently Jose has a pet rabbit named Bailey and a Green Cheek Conure named Sherbert.
Morgan Adair, Animal Assistant
Morgan was born in Mesa, Arizona and has lived in Gilbert her whole life. Ever since she was a child, she has always had a major love for animals. She first started out with a beta fish, and now she has two dogs, a cockatiel, red-eared slider turtle, leopard gecko, and three bearded dragons. She graduated from Highland High School and is now going to Chandler Gilbert Community College to work towards getting a degree in Applied Biological Sciences. In her free time she loves to watch TV shows on Netflix, read, longboard, walk her dogs, go to the gym, and listen to music. She also enjoys spending time with her friends and family and watching comedy and horror movies.
Darien Younger, Animal Assistant
Bio coming soon . . .
Katherine Koczwara, Animal Assistant
Katherine grew up in Arizona and was raised in a Polish-American household. Her fascination with birds began at age twelve when she and her family adopted a cockatiel. After graduating from Red Mountain High School, she went onto Arizona State University where she is currently pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences. After gaining experience in the Education Department at Arizona Animal Welfare League by caring for over 25 different species, she became interested in exotics and hopes to specialize in exotics as a vet. When not hanging around animals, Katherine likes to explore new music, skateboard, volunteer, watch documentaries, and play guitar.
Experienced Veterinary Technician Needed!
Our growing Exotic Animal Practice is in search of an experienced Veterinary Technician. We have recently relocated and are a strong and growing practice. We are the first and oldest exotic pet exclusive practice in Arizona! We are looking for a veterinary technician who has experience practicing in exotics medicine and surgery. Ideal candidate will also have experience in radiology including digital x ray, CT scan, flouroscopy, and ultrasound. Preferred 2 + years experience as a veterinary technician in a predominantly exotics practice. Willing to accept applicants with limited exotics experience if it is replaced with 5 + years as a veterinary technician in a high volume clinic/hospital and also possess a strong passion for exotics. Please email your resume and cover letter to Sandi at firstname.lastname@example.org Seeking a full-time employee however, part-time applicants will be considered as well.