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Transitioning to Teaching - February 23, 2023
Thursday, February 23, 2023, 7:00 AM - 8:00 PM EST
Category: Annual Events

Transitioning to Teaching (Virtual)

Thursday, February 23, 2023 | 7:00 PM ET | Register Here | Add to Calendar

This will be a panel discussion with 6 educators both seasoned and new, discussing their transition to the educational world. We will have them share their stories and also answer questions regarding favorite teaching tools, difficulties in the profession, and advice for newcomers.

Moderators: Jen Serling, CVT RVT BVSc AAS VTES, Appalation State Vet Tech, President AVTE
& Heather Laurie, RVT, BA, Red River College

Heather Shannon, RVT, Thompson Rivers University
Shannon T. Thompson, RVT, Vet Tech Plus
Leanne Paetkau, DVM, Red River College
Sam Gelling, RVT, Windward Community College
Elizabeth Stark, CVT, Heartland Veterinary Partners
Briana Fraley, CVT, Pima Community College


Submitted Bios:

Heather Shannon, RVT:
Heather Shannon, RVT has been a Registered Veterinary Technologist for over 30 years. During this time, she has worked for mixed animal practices in BC and Alberta, on a cattle ranch in BC as a herd health specialist and in academia. Heather was hired by the TRU Animal Health department in 2007; she is a full-time tenured faculty member with the achievement of Associate Teaching Professor. Heather has taught and created onsite, distance and open learning courses. She is currently the Chair of both the onsite and open learning Veterinary Technology Programs, as well as the Animal Welfare Certificate Program at Thompson Rivers University. Heather has been the President of the British Columbia Veterinary Technology Association and the President of the Registered Veterinary Technician and Technologists of Canada. Heather received the Registered Veterinary Technologist of Canada Making a Difference Award in 2019, the 2020 BCVTA Award of Appreciation and was nominated for the TRU Faculty Excellence Award in 2022.

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Leanne Paetkau:
I have always had a passion for animals, animal behaviour and science, so veterinary medicine was a natural career choice. At 16, I started working as a vet assistant and graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine 6 years later. The early part of my career was spent in clinical practice - first practicing emergency medicine in Lethbridge, AB, and then transitioning to a general practice/urgent care facility in Winnipeg, MB. After eight years as a clinical veterinarian (17 years total working in private practice), I craved a new challenge. Clinical practice was still fun, but I wanted to explore other career opportunities. A coworker suggested I look into applying for an instructor position at our local polytechnic college, and the rest is history. 

When I am not teaching at Red River Polytechnic, I still take the odd locum shift to keep up with my clinical skills. Outside work, I love spending time with my four kids, husband and three dogs. 

Shannon T. Thompson, RVT:

RVT Champion and Vet Team Guardian are just a couple of designations that demonstrate the passion Shannon Thompson has for our veterinary industry. Shannon is a Registered Veterinary Technician, and Founder & Chief Visionary of her business Vet Tech Plus.

Over the past 32 years, Shannon’s career as an RVT has included general veterinary practice of small animal, bovine and equine care, emergency & critical care medicine, plus referral specialties in ophthalmology and dentistry. Recently, Shannon retired as the Executive Director for the Registered Veterinary Technologists & Technicians of Canada.

Education has also been a significant career direction for Shannon as an educator, curriculum developer and program coordinator in both the Veterinary Technician and Veterinary Assistant programs at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ontario. In 2007 Shannon’s career in education began jumping in with both feet as a sessional professor. Engaging in resources and networking within the college community, led to expanding the Vet Assistant Program from part time to full time, developing interprofessional courses with the Vet Tech and Vet Assistant programs and at one point, coordinating 6 part time programs all while delivering a full teaching schedule.

“I am fortunate to have an amazing career, it has ebbed and flowed following the babbling stream of my life. Networking and meeting amazing people along the way has always been my rejuvenation. From my very first day as a new graduate, the same day the only other tech left the country for a month, it has provided both challenges and rewards at every step. Doesn’t every new grad open a new hospital in their first year?” Yes, I am face palming, I get it!

As a lifelong learner who loves to network, meeting fellow veterinary colleagues, and promoting this fantastic profession, Shannon is eager to participate and engage with the global veterinary community.


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