Time to Meet Your 2022 AZAALAS Board

We want to thank everyone who joined the fun at our Holiday Installation in Mesa on December 4th.  We had a good time catching up with one another, finding out who won what in our Louise Brooks Charity Raffle, hearing who our new board members and award nominees were, and congratulating our new Member and Technician of the Year!  We look forward to seeing you all in Tucson this year when we congregate at the 2023 incoming president Cheryl Johnson’s house for our Holiday Installation on December 3rd, so mark your calendars now!

We would like to announce and congratulate our nominees for this years’ Member and Technician of the Year awards:

Technician of the Year Nominees: Carissa Allen, and Ashley Penrod, Preclinical Techs at WL Gore & Associates.

Member of the Year Nominee: Trish Bridges, Animal Care Manager I, UA - Phoenix, University Animal Care

Congratulations to this years’ Technician of the Year: Nicole Johnson, Animal Technologist at Arizona State University!

Nicole has completed her LAT certification and is pursuing her LATG.  She has grown tremendously in her 3 years at ASU. She is someone you can trust to complete tasks and projects asked of her and maintain a high level of care for the animals.  She recently took on a position as a leader helps oversee all of ASU’s primates. She has done a great job training new staff in primates, rodents and cagewash areas.  Nicole is a person everyone would want to have on their team.  She gets along great with everyone and is always in a good mood.  She is self-driven and actively looks for ways to improve on her knowledge of animals, especially primates.  Always willing to learn new things and take on new projects.  Nicole is one of our most valued DACT employees.  She aids her supervisor in managing our NHP rooms with particular focus on marmosets.  In addition to her assisting with oversight of multiple rodent rooms. She regularly trains our new staff and student workers both for cross training between facilities and onboarding hew hires.  Everyone on staff adores her.  She always has a positive attitude and regularly utilizes our internal kudos program to recognize her coworkers.  She absolutely puts animal welfare in the forefront of her work ethic and presents new ideas and enrichment ideas to the management team.

Congratulations to this years’ Member of the Year: Grace Aranda, Admin Associate, UA Animal Care-Tucson!

Grace is the life blood of AZAALAS. Her contributions to the board and committees are limitless. She keeps up the website, reminds us to nominate member of the year, tech of the year, and board members, sends out board meeting agenda reminders, and is the institutional memory for the branch. As one of the founding members of our branch, she has served on the board in every capacity and is everyone's go-to for questions and information. When our Secretary was unable to continue his position this year she stepped in to cover his duties. She always has a smile and positive attitude, and is always willing to help with the branch in any way she can. She in not only active within our local branch but also with District 8 and National AALAS, too. Her networking and resources make her invaluable to our branch. She also volunteers to judge Southern Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Fair each year. She is always encouraging others to become a member of AALAS and get involved.  She is well known to many in the national organization, and this has helped our branch and individual members if they have a question or need guidance.  She has been involved with other organizations like SwAEBR to benefit the branch by helping us incorporate science fairs judging into our own programs and get other members involved. She has helped the branch to do fund raising for Homes for Heroes research animal retirees and got us a great speaker on their cause.

Don’t forget to renew your membershipOur membership listserv will be purged at the end of the month – you don’t want to miss out on all the new stuff we will be doing!

Individual Membership form: http://azaalas.org/sites/default/files/membership_form_fillable.pdf or

Commercial member form: http://www.azaalas.org/sites/default/files/newsletters/Buyers_Guide-application.pdf

Your 2022 AZAALAS Officers:

President- Timothy Martin, Director of Animal Program, St Joseph's Hospital, Phoenix

I've been a member of National AALAS and the Arizona Branch since 1991and I've been active in both organizations. Nationally I’ve served as District 8 Alternate Trustee, Trustee, chaired the Awards Selection Committee, and the Policies & Procedures Coordinating Committee. Closer to home I have been your District 8 Councilman, D8 Council Chair, and Parliamentarian. I've worked with the regional science fair promoting science and research to teachers and children in Arizona and internationally as well as with the now retired Southwest Association for Education in Biomedical Research. My goal for our branch is to encourage state-wide participation through the use of technology so all members can interact for the benefit of us all. I've been honored to be your AZAALAS President in the past and look forward to serving you again this year. 

President-elect - Cheryl Johnson: Animal Care Manager Senior, University of Arizona, University Animal Care - Tucson, AZ

I have worked for University Animal Care since 1983 and have been a member of Arizona AALAS and National AALAS since 1986.  I have been lucky enough to have held various offices in AZAALAS including Secretary, Treasurer, President, Board member, TBR and continue to be an active member in the organization.  I have also become involved with other organizations like LAMA (Laboratory Animal Management Association), SARSEF (Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Fair),  and UA Employee Recognition Committee here at the University of Arizona.  I have enjoyed being a part of how AZAALAS has grown and changed over the years both as a member and as a part of the board and I hope to continue to be a part of this ongoing process.

Secretary - Chelsea Mahnk: Veterinary Technician II, University of Arizona, University Animal Care - Tucson, AZ

I joined University Animal Care as a Veterinary Technician in 2019 and have been a member of AALAS since 2020. I have been a vet tech for 20 years and a CVT since 2007, working in specialty, emergency, and general practice. Working with research animals has been a big change for me, but I’m very proud to be an advocate for the animals and the research discoveries being made each day. I recently passed my ALAT exam, and my next two goals are to become certified as an LAT and as a Surgical Research Anesthetist from the Academy of Surgical Research. I have volunteered with Sky Islands Alliance, American Red Cross and I hope to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity soon. I love being outdoors! You can usually find me hiking a trail. I also enjoy camping and backpacking. I hope to bring a positive and fun aspect to the AZ AALAS chapter as Secretary.


Treasurer - Emma Duchac: Animal Technologist I, University of Arizona, University Animal Care - Tucson, AZ

I have worked for UAC since 2017. I started as a Cage Wash Technician and was recently promoted to Animal Technologist I. I 've been an Arizona AALAS member since 2017 and feel comfortable to offer my time and talents to the organization and my own department as Treasurer. I am trying to become more involved and learn more about different organizations that relate to the biomedical field. I'm currently attending Northern Arizona University, but my goal is to attend the UA’s Veterinary School within the next few years. I absolutely love working with all animals, specifically large animals, such as the pigs and sheep at work, or my own horses that I have at home. Providing animal care is my biggest passion, so working in this field has been an honor while I attend school and I'm excited to become more involved on the Arizona AALAS board.

Southern Board Member - Paula Johnson: Associate Veterinary Specialist, University Animal Care - Tucson AZ

I have been a member of the University Animal Care Team since 1997, prior to that I was involved in research here at the UA. I have also been a member of Arizona AALAS since 1997 and a member of National AALAS.  I have remained an active supporter and member of AZAALAS. I am also involved in: the Regional and International Science & Engineering Fair as a member of the Scientific Review Committee which assures the appropriate use of animals in pre-college science, the Great Dane Club of America Board of Directors, as well as serving as the President of the local breed club, and a member of an all-breed club in Tucson. I served on the AALAS National Program Committee first as the Vice Chair, then for the 2015 AALAS meeting as the Facilitator Chair. This gave me a new look into the volunteering opportunities at AALAS.  I have enjoyed working as your Southern Board Representative in the past and I look forward to furthering my involvement with AZAALAS members.  I am happy to serve as the Southern Board Representative.

Your Continuing Board members are:

Past-President - Stephanie Bybee-Gonzalez, Animal Care Manager I, University of Arizona, University Animal Care-Tucson

Northern Board Member - Thania Haviland, Animal Technician, W.L. Gores  & Associates

Central Board Member - Randy Dalbey, Vivarium Supervisor, Arizona State University, Department of Animal Care and Technologies, Tempe

Technician Branch Representative - Trish Bridges, Animal Care Manager I, UA - Phoenix, University Animal Care

News/Social Media/Web Communications and D8 Councilor - Grace Aranda, Admin Asst, UA Animal Care - Tucson

Vendor Liaison Frank McFadden, Sales Representative, Getinge

Special thanks to our ad hoc members: Juliane Daggett Vondras, Kathleen Freel, and Jim Murphy

AALAS members, whatever their interest in lab animal science have the opportunity for professional growth through involvement in national and local meetings, participation in certification training programs and access to AALAS publications and educational materials. Each branch has its own educational agenda, scientific and technical presentations, workshops, tours of facilities, local training programs and regular social activities

Why Be an AZAALAS Member?   Quarterly newsletters * Credits for continuing education * Reduced symposium registration fees * Recognition awards * Educational programs * Voting privileges * AALAS Certification information and guidance * Networking through Buyers Guide membership directory * Commercial vendor contacts who provide the latest & greatest ideas, methods & material in biomedical science * Symposium with scientific and technical platform and poster sessions, workshops, field trips, vendor exhibits, general membership meeting, awards banquet and evening socials * Local video conference meetings geared towards technicians on a variety of topics * Professional social contacts to advance your career * Being a Member of the Best Branch in AALAS

Arizona Branch membership is open to anyone interested in the field of Biomedical Science.  Annual  membership is still just $10  All memberships expire December 31st.

Don’t forget to renew your membershipOur membership listserv will be purged at the end of the month – you don’t want to miss out on all the new stuff we will be doing!

Membership form: http://azaalas.org/sites/default/files/membership_form_fillable.pdf or
Commercial member form: http://www.azaalas.org/sites/default/files/newsletters/Buyers_Guide-application.pdf - a new complete form needs to be submitted for all commercial members this year!

Any questions, contact azaalas@gmail.com