Our Staff

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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.

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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

Dr. Alyssa Scagnelli moved to Arizona and joined the AEAC in 2017. She attended veterinary school at the University of Missouri and graduated with her DVM 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 companion exotic, native wildlife and zoo/aquarium medicine and surgery. Dr. Scagnelli is extremely passionate about reptile medicine and conservation. She is an active member of the International Iguana Foundation, an organization that conducts health assessments and creates species survival plans for the world’s most endangered lizards. Dr. Scagnelli is also passionate about aquatic animal medicine and has conducted research on anesthesia methods in fish. She has published several peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on various topics relating to exotic animal medicine. While it may seem like Dr. Scagnelli only enjoys "scaly" critters, she loves all aspects of companion exotic medicine. Other areas of interest include backyard poultry and waterfowl medicine, raptor medicine, and avian orthopedic surgery and endoscopy. When she is not at the clinic, Dr. Scagnelli tries to spend her time outdoors or traveling, when possible. She can be found hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, kayaking, SCUBA diving, or simply gardening in the yard. She lives with her fiancé Mark, and numerous scaled, feathered, and furry critters.

Ryan Navarro, DVM, MS

Dr. Ryan Navarro is the newest veterinarian to join the AEAC family after completing a one year specialty internship with Broward Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital located in Deerfield Beach, FL. Prior to this, he earned both DVM and Master’s degrees from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2018 and 2016, respectively.

Dr. Navarro loves his work treating exotic animals and thrives on the variety of species he gets to interact with everyday. Professionally he enjoys all aspects of exotic veterinary medicine and has particular interests in wildlife conservation and infectious disease, having published several papers on gastrointestinal viral infections in several species from the Caribbean.

When not busy treating his patients, Dr. Navarro enjoys spending time outdoors. Kayaking, hiking, SCUBA diving, and snorkeling are among his favorite activities, in addition to “two wheel therapy sessions” with his Triumph Speedmaster. He lives with his fiancé Krystal, two budgies named Hanalei and Molokai, and three cats named Dr. Ana Taco, Professor Cheddar Cheese Pizza, and Merlin Lord of the Fleas.

Priscilla Barrera, Veterinary Technician

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.

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.

Samantha DeMarco, Veterinary Technician

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. 

Aurora Beans, Veterinary Technician

Aurora Beans grew up mostly in Arizona, with a short time working and living on a farm in Wisconsin. Since she was a young child she dreamed of working with exotic animals. This dream lead her to Arizona State University where she received her bachelors degree in Biological Sciences. While at ASU, Aurora began researching orchid bees in the rainforests of Panama. This research fueled a passion for bees and led her to study honey bees with ASU and the USDA, as well as to start up her own hives. When she is not working, Aurora volunteers at Liberty Wildlife as a medical services volunteer and “bee expert”. She has been working with Liberty to integrate more conservation and bee based education programs. In her free time, she likes to garden, read, and cuddle with her rabbit, Dez, and her lovebird, Lupe.

Berkeley Martineau, Veterinary Assistant

Bio and updated picture Coming Soon . . . 

Jackson McQuerrey, Veterinary Assistant

Bio and updated picture Coming Soon . . . 

Breanna Widner, Client Care

Breanna was born and raised in Arizona, and graduated from EVIT’s Veterinary Assistant program in 2020. Breanna has had a passion for all animals and nature since she was a child. She shares a home with her snake, frogs, dog, and her three cats. Breanna also owns a Mexican red-headed amazon parrot named Lucy. When she’s not hanging out with her animals, she enjoys caring for her many plants and watching TV shows and movies.

Madison Crump, Client Care

Bio and updated picture Coming Soon . . . 

Emily Bruns, Animal Care and Client Care

Bio and updated picture Coming Soon . . . 

Charlotte Higginson, Animal Care and Client Care

Charlotte Higginson grew up in Chicago, but found jobs all over the world before moving to Arizona in 2020. She studied Natural Resources and Horticulture at Cornell University and conducted research on the medicinal plant trade in the Annapurna Mountain Range in Nepal. After college she moved to Asia to teach rock climbing and outdoor education to international schools across China and Hong Kong. She went on to pursue a Master’s of Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia, where she combined her knowledge of design and the environment. Many of her design projects include habitat restoration, wildlife conservation, and building aviaries for parrots (including her 18 year old Quaker parrot). In her spare time you can find her rock climbing, mountain biking, backpacking, or designing gardens.

Jose Tovar, Animal Care

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.

 

Chaille Driggers, Animal Care

Chaille Driggers is the daughter of DVM Todd Driggers. As an animal care technician, she cares for boarders and helps upkeep the clinic. She has grown up around a variety of animals and loves them deeply. Her favorite animals are farm animals and small mammals. She cares for three horses and shows “Tia” (pictured) with the Pony of the Americas Club. She was part of the 2020 Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic Australia veterinary team who volunteered during the wildfires. Traveling and helping her animal counterparts are her greatest passions. She is currently a senior at Gilbert High School and is planning on majoring in Wildlife Biology & Pre-veterinary studies.

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Sandi Orenstein, BA, Practice 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 Tang Soo Do 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 4/3 with their three ball pythons. In 2021 they welcomed the newest addition to the family, Simba, a 2 year-old Rottweiler adopted from a local rescue.

Experienced Veterinary Technician Needed!

Our growing Exotic Animal Practice is in search of an Experienced Veterinary Technician. We are a strong and growing three-doctor practice. We are the first and oldest exotic pet exclusive practice in Arizona! We are looking for a Veterinary Technician who has exotics medicine and surgery experience. This is not an entry level position. The 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 officemanager@aeacarizona.com  Seeking a full-time employee however, part-time applicants will be considered as well.