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New York State Association of Veterinary Technicians - Leadership
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Garnetta Santiago, MA, LVT - PRESIDENT
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Garnetta Santiago, MA, LVT, is the Manager of Academic and Professional Affairs for Zoetis, Inc. where she is responsible for corporate engagement with the 34 colleges of veterinary medicine in the United States and Caribbean.  She is also responsible for outreach to the veterinary profession through digital platforms.  Prior to joining Zoetis, Garnetta was the Veterinary Technician Strategy Lead for Hill's Pet Nutrition for nine years, and before that, an adjunct faculty member in the veterinary technology program at SUNY Ulster.  A 2003 graduate of the veterinary technology program at SUNY Delhi, Garnetta has worked as an LVT in small and mixed-animal practice and shelter medicine.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science (Syracuse University); a Master of Arts degree in International Relations (Rutgers University); and the professional Certificate in Online Education Instructional Design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

She is currently completing the Certificate Program for Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine through Purdue University. She has special interests in feline medicine, forensic medicine, veterinary wellness and diversity, and women's leadership in veterinary medicine. 

She was elected President of the New York State Association of Veterinary Technicians in June 2017.

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"Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet."
~ Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

I remember thinking I wanted to work with animals and maybe I could go to school to become a Veterinarian.  All that changed one day when I shadowed in a clinic and followed a Veterinary Technician around.  It only took a short time to realize this is what I want to do.  There are so many opportunities for Veterinary Technicians that I never realized.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to work another year on the NYSAVT board. One of my personal goals is to make technicians aware of their opportunities and act as a voice within our state organization.

Thomas Heckel, LVT - TREASURER

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Thomas Heckel is a Licensed Veterinary Technician from College Point, New York. He had worked as a Surgery Team Leader at The Animal Medical Center in Manhattan.  He has since moved to the Capital Region of NY and works as the Surgery Team Lead at Upstate Veterinary Technology, and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Saint Francis College in 2009.

In addition to his daily work, Tom takes great pride in being an active member in community organizations. With a strong interest in education he works closely with students, and lectures on a variety of topics, including his personal experience in the field of Veterinary Medicine, in hopes of providing guidance and mentorship to current LVT students.  Tom has a growing interest in anesthesia, analgesia, and pain management, and is currently working towards a VTS in anesthesia, and plans to pursue a Master's Degree in Veterinary Biomedical Science.  In recognition of his enthusiasm, leadership, and contributions to his profession and NYSAVT, Tom was awarded the Aspiring Leader Award in April of 2016.

Outside of work Tom is an avid hockey fan. He currently lives in the Capital Region with the love of his life, their three hairless cats as well as one with fur, Macaroni - a greyhound, Shelby - a golden retriever, and Boss - a border collie.

Alyse Retallick, BS, LVT - SECRETARY
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Alyse is a Licensed Veterinary Technologist from Port Jervis, New York. She graduated from Mercy College with a BS in Veterinary Technology and is currently working towards her Master's in Public Health.

She worked in small animal private practice for several years before relocating to upstate New York. Alyse is currently an Instructional Support Technician in the Veterinary Science Technology Department at SUNY Delhi. She is the animal coordinator, shelter liaison, a laboratory instructional assistant, and the advisor of the NYSAVT Student Chapter.  Her passions in the veterinary field include clinical laboratory techniques, shelter medicine, equine medicine and education.

Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, and hanging out with her two Labradoodles, Jaxson and Duke, as well as visiting her family and horse, Roger, downstate.

A couple of fun facts for you about our student club here at Delhi!

  • I took over as Advisory from Erica McKee a couple of years ago
  • We have over 100 students involved and registered as members of NYSAVT - and growing!
  • We usually do a community dog wash fundraiser twice per semester, and I believe our record for one of them was 104 dogs on one Saturday! Visit our Facebook page - SUNY Delhi Vet Sci Dog Wash - if you want to see some pictures of it in action!
  • We host CE events, a Student Summit last year, de-stress events, and fun activities. Every year the students come up with more and more amazing ideas for their peers, community, and local shelters.

My goal is to be a role model and lead by example for my students. I hope they remain actively involved and participate in their communities, education, and state chapter after they graduate...Pay it forward!


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I knew that I wanted a career in Veterinary Medicine from the time I was about 7 years old. Although I wanted to be a Veterinarian, my life took me on a different path. Still in veterinary medicine...but not as a Veterinarian.


Click here to read more about Donna Meier, LVT




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Ann Wagner, LVT, has been working in small animal medicine since 2013. She received her Associates of Science in Veterinary Technology and Bachelors of Science in Biology from Medaille College. She has lived in the Buffalo area until 2019.  Ann's constant companion is her standard poodle, Jarvis. When Ann has extra time, she loves to go horseback riding.



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Denise is an Internal Medicine and Oncology technician, as well as the LVT Supervisor, for a large mixed general/specialty practice in the Hudson Valley. She is also an adjunct professor at SNUY Ulster currently on leave to serve her constituency at NYSAVT and to prepare her portfolio to announce her candidacy for the LVT SAIM credential.

While currently enjoying the world of CT and Ultrasound scans, chemotherapy, and people management, her past interests in the veterinary community include behavioral and exotic medicine.  

In her former life she spent copious amounts of time caring for high-level equine competitors in the 3-Day and Hunter/Jumper worlds. When she does have spare time, she hikes with her extremely energetic young GSD, knits, and keeps up with a busy family.

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