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 30 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 a Board Certified Specialist in Zoological Medicine(TM), an ACZM Diplomate. The ACZM is the American College of Zoological Medicine, which is the veterinary specialty organization related to the care of avian/exotic companion animals, as well as free-ranging wildlife and animals in zoological facilities. Dr. Harrenstien was the first veterinarian in Oregon to have achieved this specialist ranking, and remains the only private practice veterinarian in the Pacific Northwest with this status.

Dr. Harrenstien 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’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.

Josie Rose, DVM

Josie Rose

Dr. Rose joined AEVC in August 2018 as an intern/associate veterinarian. She is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and her interest in exotic and zoological medicine has taken her across the country. Her interest in zoological medicine started in high school when she worked as an extern with the Veterinary Department at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and continued through her undergraduate training at Ohio State University. She is a 2013 graduate of UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and it was at UC Davis where she met her husband, a fellow veterinarian. Following graduation from veterinary school, she completed a small animal rotating internship at VCA Loomis Basin near Sacramento, California and then proceeded to work the following year and a half in small animal medicine in Bakersfield, California. During this time, she provided contract services for the local zoo. Following this experience, she completed two internships in zoological medicine at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Indianapolis Zoo. She enjoys research, and was recognized by Morris Animal Foundation for her research with black rhinos during her veterinary training. She has published two articles, and also presented two topics at the 2018 American Association of Zoo Veterinarian's conference in Prague, Czech Republic. Dr. Rose enjoys veterinary problems that require "thinking outside the box" for solutions. She especially loves cases that integrate many different disciplines to achieve the best outcome for exotic patients. Dr. Rose runs half marathons and enjoys trivia competitions, historical documentaries, and visiting her many family members across the country. She is very excited to be a part of the AEVC team!

Veterinary Technicians

Alexa Franklin, CVT

Alexa Franklin, CVT

Alexa is an Oregon native, having grown up in Salem. She has always had a passion for exotic and zoo animals, and has cultivated that passion with volunteering at a local wildlife rehabilitation center
and attending Portland Community College's Veterinary Technician
program, which she graduated from in 2016. Alexa knew early on in her veterinary career that exotic animal medicine was the specialty for her, and working at AEVC makes that dream a reality. Alexa lives with a variety of animals including two cats, one dog, a hedgehog, a leopard gecko, a crested gecko and a betta fish. In her spare time she enjoys reading, playing video games and drawing.

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 has been part of the AEVC team since the clinic was just 5 months old, and she is excited about being in a 100% exotics specialty practice. 

Jennie Parker, CVT

Jennie Parker, CVT

Jennie is a native of Oklahoma and has had a passion for exotic animals since she was a little girl. She graduated from Oklahoma State University - Oklahoma City Campus in 2014 with a degree in Veterinary Technology. In Oklahoma, she worked at a 24 hour emergency veterinary clinic for 4 years. Jennie moved to Oregon at the beginning of 2019 with the goal of becoming a Veterinary Technician Specialist in Exotic Companion Animals; there are currently only 10 of these technicians in the country! Jennie has owned a wide variety of animals such as sugar gliders, rabbits, snakes, lizards, birds, small mammals, tarantulas, cats and dogs. In her spare time, Jennie likes to stretch her creative wings with drawing and other media.

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.

Mandy Dickson

Mandy Dickson

Mandy is a born and raised native of Portland, Oregon. She first worked with exotic animals when she was a ZooTeen at the Oregon Zoo in high school, and she was able to follow her passion by attending PCC's Biology and Management of Zoo Animals program, obtaining an Associate of Applied Sciences degree. Mandy completed a year long co-op internship at the Oregon Zoo and a 3 month internship at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, WA working with a wide variety of species in their Asian Forest Sanctuary exhibit. Mandy previously worked in emergency veterinary medicine but has now been given the amazing chance to extend her insight and her abilities at AEVC. In her spare time, Mandy enjoys reading manga, watching anime and doing puzzles.

Lauran Hunter

Lauran Hunter

Lauran is a Midwest native who has had a love and passion for animals her entire life.  Growing up, she had a menagerie of pets and her nose constantly in Zoobooks Magazine. Lauran earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, but knew she really wanted to do something with animals. When she moved to Portland, Lauran completed the Biology and Management of Zoo Animals associate’s degree program at PCC. After a yearlong internship with the Oregon Zoo, she was eager for more experience and completed a 4 month externship in China working with giant pandas, then came back to Portland to work at the Oregon Zoo as a relief zookeeper.  Now she has been given the opportunity to expand her knowledge and skill set as part of the AEVC team and she couldn’t be more excited! 

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. 

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.