Meet Our Staff

Our Veterinarians

Lisa Harrenstien, DVM, Dipl. ACZM

Lisa Harrenstien

Dr. Lisa Harrenstien is the owner of Avian and Exotic Veterinary Care, which she founded in April 2016. Dr. Harrenstien has 28 years of experience as a veterinarian, including employment in private small animal/exotics practice, university exotics practice, postdoctoral training in zoological pathology, consultant work related to avian and exotic species, and zoo practice. She was an associate veterinarian at the Oregon Zoo for 13 years, and is board-certified by the American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM). The ACZM is a specialty organization related to the care of avian/exotic companion animals, as well as free-ranging wildlife and animals in zoological facilities. Dr. Harrenstien is the only veterinarian in Oregon to have achieved this specialist ranking.

Dr. Harrenstien also belongs to numerous veterinary organizations, including the Portland Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association. She is on the executive committee of the American College of Zoological Medicine, serving as the organization’s treasurer. Dr. Harrenstien also teaches the veterinary curriculum of the Biology and Management of Zoo Animals associate degree program at Portland Community College, and is a courtesy faculty member of Oregon State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Harrenstien’s favorite patients over the years have usually been the ones that heal well from serious illnesses and still appreciate her veterinary visits, including a California sea otter named “Thelma” who needed a lung removed, a young double yellow headed Amazon parrot named “Miss Lilly” who had her upper beak bitten off by a macaw, and a Houston toad named “Ratatouille” whose face and toes healed well after a predatory attack by a rat.

Paul Gibbons, DVM, MS, Dipl. ABVP (Reptile/Amphibian)

Paul Gibbons

Dr. Paul Gibbons joined AEVC in January 2018 as our associate veterinarian, bringing 23 years of veterinary experience to our team. Dr. Gibbons obtained his DVM degree at the University of Illinois, completed a clinical residency in avian, herpetological, and non-domestic mammal medicine at University of California–Davis, and obtained his Master of Science degree from UC-Davis emphasizing diagnostic assay validation and wildlife disease ecology. Early in his career he worked in mixed animal practice in the Midwest, then founded an exotics private practice in Wisconsin, then became Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Turtle Conservancy, a global conservation NGO.

Dr. Gibbons is a board-certified specialist in Reptile and Amphibian practice through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP), being a founding Diplomate, and from 2002 to 2012 was ABVP board certified in avian medicine. Dr. Gibbons is very active in professional veterinary organizations, including being Past-President of the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians. His work is published in numerous scientific journals, conference proceedings, and lay periodicals, and he has been an invited educator at conferences and conservation facilities throughout the world. In 2009, Dr. Gibbons was selected by his peers for the “Exotic DVM of the Year Award.” He serves the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as program leader of the Ploughshare Tortoise Species Survival Plan, on the Radiated Tortoise SSP Advisory Committee, and on the Steering Committee of the Chelonian Advisory Group. He is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group and the Conservation Planning Specialist Group.

Dr. Gibbons is passionate about helping people to sort through myriad sources of information to solve health problems and ensure the best possible care for exotic animals.

Veterinary Technicians

Lyndsey Jett, CVT

Lyndsey Jett

A native to Oregon, Lyndsey grew up in the rural outskirts of Portland where she cared for rabbits, chickens, and a box turtle. With a passion for a variety of animals, Lyndsey went to Denver to study veterinary technology and become a Certified Veterinary Technician. Lyndsey always wanted to work with exotics, so while studying to become a CVT she dedicated much of her time to volunteering with exotics at the local animal shelter and at a sanctuary with large carnivores rescued from the illegal pet trade. After graduation in 2014, Lyndsey immediately returned to the Pacific Northwest for an internship at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, followed by work at a small animal clinic with dogs and cats, then an internship at an endangered species conservation center in Florida, then a CVT position at a small animal/exotics practice. Lyndsey joined AEVC in September and is excited about all the new learning opportunities that a 100% exotics specialty practice has to offer. 

Christine Weld, CVT

Christine Weld

Christine's passion for wildlife and exotic animals started as a teenager after an amazing tour of Africa with her grandmother. She has pursued working with exotics ever since, with a biology degree from the University of Florida, and by volunteering and working with bats, primates, birds, reptiles, and kangaroos at several zoos and sanctuaries. Christine started her vet tech program at St. Petersburg College while working at several veterinary clinics with dogs and cats. Christine moved to Portland in 2015 to escape the Florida heat, and completed her degree and certification as a veterinary technician. She jumped on the opportunity to work with exotics at AEVC and is committed to mastering the skills and knowledge needed to provide the highest quality nursing care to all her patients.

Receptionists & Veterinary Assistants

Kali Ackerman

Kali Ackerman

Kali is a New York native with nearly 15 years of professional animal care experience with reptiles, fish, birds, small animals, exotic pets, and dogs and cats. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from SUNY- College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Her passion for nature, local community, and less snow led her to the PNW, where she helped run Portland’s largest independent pet store for 11 years. Kali has opened her home to many pets over the years including cats, dogs, dumbo rats, several aquariums, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and finches. Kali runs her own pet sitting business and is excited to be part of the AEVC team! She is dedicated to animal health and pet parent education.

Kathleen Studdert

Kathleen Studdert

Kathleen has had a lifelong love for animals. Her first pets were a guinea pig and silkworms when she was four years old, and she started fostering orphaned kittens when she was twelve. Kathleen's passion for wildlife and conservation guided her to earn a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies. With a desire to get hands on experience with a wide range of animal species, Kathleen completed the 2 year Biology and Management of Zoo Animals program at PCC. Through the program Kathleen completed a student internship at the Oregon Zoo, and she has been involved in wildlife rehabilitation at the Audubon Society of Portland for almost five years.  Throughout Kathleen’s life, she has had a variety of pets from box turtles and rats to parakeets. Currently, Kathleen has a dog, two cats, five goldfish, and a 20-year-old corn snake. 

Tari Rowe

Tari Rowe

Tari is a bird nerd from New England, where she had the pleasure of working in a small zoo, in wildlife sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers. She came to Portland to become a Certified Veterinary Technician, and to specialize in wildlife and exotic medicine. Her passion is wildlife conservation and she loves to be involved with ecological field work devoted to protecting and restoring wild species. Other than Tari’s commitments to exotic animal medicine and perpetual learning, she is a devoted birder and naturalist who enjoys fun and play with friends and family.