Alumni Story: Danene Birtell

Responding to wildlife emergencies, and improving the care protocols for dealing with injured animals – this is part of Manor alumna Danene Birtell’s everyday routine. Danene now works at the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at UC Davis Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center. “I was always interested in working with wildlife,” Danene explains. When Danene decided to enroll at Manor, she already had a B.S in Biology and Marine Sciences and was working in California. But she realized that she didn’t always understand the reasoning behind what she was doing. “I wanted to know why we were using certain techniques, and expand my medical knowledge,” she says. Danene worked in the field while studying at Manor, an experience she recommends to current students – especially those who are visual learners, like her. “It is so helpful to work part time [with animals], or volunteer while you’re in school. It puts things in perspective, opens doors, builds relationships, and allows you to apply what you’re learning.” After graduating, she went on to work as a Vet Tech in a clinic for several years, and notes that her education at Manor gave her the hands-on experience she needed in order to feel comfortable suggesting new ways to improve the clinic’s day-to-day operations. “Manor did an excellent job of preparing us for our careers.” Danene is now a Readiness Coordinator who works with a team of veterinarians, coordinators, and care specialists. An average day consists of teaching students, educating member organizations, examining and improving protocol, and conducting research. Over the past several years she has contributed to multiple spill response exercises, training workshops, and response plans. People might be surprised that wildlife emergency rehabilitation isn’t always what one might expect after seeing commercials or documentaries that condense the experience. “Although we do a lot of admin, there is urgency when emergencies happen,” explains Danene. “And it’s important to stabilize them first.” In fact, after an oil spill, animals are typically not cleaned off for the first 48 hours – during this period they receive a full health exam and initial care to ensure they are strong enough to survive the stressful cleaning process. Danene was part of the team that responded to the infamous Deepwater Horizon/BP spill, the largest marine oil spill in history. “Careers in wildlife and exotic care are obtainable, and they are available.” Vet Tech students today may wonder whether these types of opportunities are available to them, and Danene assures them that the answer is yes. “Careers in wildlife and exotic care are obtainable, and they are available. Zoos and rehabilitation centers are more medically-focused than ever, allowing for numerous opportunities for veterinary technicians to get involved.” Have an alumni story to submit? Contact!

Manor College’s Joanna Bassert, VMD wins McGuffy Longevity Award

On February 22, 2017,  Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA) announced the winners of the  William Holmes McGuffey Longevity Award.  Included in the list of six winners was McCurnin’s Clinical Textbook for Veterinary Technicians, 8th edition by Dr. Joanna M. Bassert and John A. Thomas.  Dr. Bassert is Director and Professor for the Program of Veterinary Technology at Manor College.   The textbook is a core text for most of the Veterinary Technology programs in the U.S. and Canada.  Additionally, it has been translated into many languages throughout the world. Dr. Bassert’s work on the book began nearly 20 years ago when she started on the Clinical Textbook for Veterinary Technicians when it was in its 5th edition.  Bassert stated that this award “acknowledges the sustained effort of Dr. Dennis McCurnin (who worked on the first 7 editions) and me (who worked on editions 5-9).  It also represents a passion for the profession and a vision for its role in veterinary medicine. Amy Daskilewicz, a Vet Tech major at Manor College said, “Dr. Bassert is an invaluable asset, not only to the Vet Tech program at Manor, but to the whole school. I’m very proud when I tell prospective vet tech students that the head of the department is also the author of the textbook.” Joanna Bassert has been working at Manor College since 1992.  She has taught Introduction to Veterinary Technology, Clinical Pathology, Small Animal Procedures, Animal Anatomy and Physiology, and Sophomore Clinical Externships.  Her academic specialties and interests include Comparative Mammalian Anatomy and Physiology.  Dr. Bassert will be accepting the William Holmes McGuffey Longevity Award early this Summer. Congratulations Dr. Bassert!