Time to Meet Your 2023 AZAALAS Board

We want to thank everyone who joined the fun at our Virtual Holiday Installation via Zoom on December 9th.  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: Ashley Parsons, St Joes Hospital & Med Center.

Member of the Year Nominee: Cheryl Johnson, Animal Care Manager Senior, UA -Tucson, University Animal Care; and Stephanie Bybee-Gonzalez, Animal Care Manager I, UA -Tucson, University Animal Care

Congratulations to this years’ Technician of the Year: Andra Doherty, Animal Technologist at University Animal Care - Tucson, University of Arizona!

Andra is a strong promoter of continuing education, and this year shared the BRAD program with her coworkers in the department. Andra took the lead in bringing the Biomedical Research Awareness Day to our staff and getting SWAG for them. She also shared fun learning games such as Animal Scientific name bingo to the event. Bringing the importance of what we do as animal caretakers to her coworkers and celebrating what we do is always needed. She is also a member of the UAC enrichment team and shares her ideas for new and novel enrichment for the various species housed at UAC. In her position at UAC she is a trainer for both UAC and research staff. She stresses the importance of following SOP's and UAC procedures to ensure animal welfare.

Andra has been with University Animal Care for a few years starting as an Animal Technician III, now as an Animal Technologist II. She is always upbeat and positive with a smile on her face. She performs the facility orientation for researchers at the Bio5 facility in Tucson and recently has become quite proficient within the Gnotobiotic Program. Andra plays in important part in keeping staff morale up and tries to recruit other staff members to the cause, being inclusive of everyone. She using resources, such as BRAD, to have educational games and has utilized UAC's monthly seminar schedule to get everyone involved. Andra is always a beaming light in everyone's day.

Congratulations to this years’ Member of the Year: Thania Haviland, WL Gore & Associates - Flagstaff!

Thania is our AALAS Branch Northern Board member. Thania has been our Northern Board member since she stepped in to take over for another WL Gore member who was unable to complete her position.  She is a responsible board member bringing concerns from our Flagstaff area to board meetings and being a resource for members in her area.

This year Thania, offered to donate some of her original artwork for the AALAS Foundation Silent Auction at the National Meeting in Kentucky. The artwork that she created was so beautiful and we’re sure many people bid on these items to raise money for such a good cause. Her willingness to participate in the branch is so appreciated.

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 2023 AZAALAS Officers

President - 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.

President-elect - Pamela Bortz: Senior Research Assistant, St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, Animal Care Program

 I have been a veterinary technician for over 35 years.  I was trained in a non-traditional manner, through the US Army, serving as an Animal Care Specialist for the US Army Military Work Dog Program and the Naval Marine Mammal Program.  I have received my CVT, LATG, CMAR and MBA, since entering the lab animal field in 1991; and I am a graduate from ILAM.  Currently and proudly, I am working in the Animal Care Program at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center,   I have been involved with AzAALAS and AALAS over the years, and was the Central Board Member from 2016-2018.  When the national AALAS meeting came to Phoenix, I served on the local arrangement committee and assisted the instructors for several wet labs. I have had the honor of Technician of the Year Award fro AZAAALS.  I enjoy training and mentoring a new generation of technicians to this field by giving lectures at various schools, such as Pima Medical Institute (PMI) and Coolidge Technical.   I've been the point person for student externs from various veterinary technician and assistance programs at St. Joseph's.

Secretary - Corrina Moreno, Animal Technician III, University of Arizona, University Animal Care - Tucson, AZ

I am a recent graduate from the University of Arizona with a major in Natural Resources- Wildlife Conservation and Management. I have volunteered at numerous facilities with a wide variety of animals such as the Sonoran Desert Museum as an aquatic interpreter educating families about the diverse species that live in the Sonoran Desert, at the Tucson Wildlife Center in there bird and bunny care adobe and in multiple research projects within the University of Arizona. I have worked with UAC as an Animal Technician III for a short period of time, however have gained tremendous knowledge about their facilities and goals to ensure the best animal welfare. I am currently studying for the ALAT exam that I am prepared to take in February. I would love the opportunity to work more with AALAS to broaden my experience in this field.


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.

Central Board Member - Amanda Knight: Veterinary Services Manager, University of Washington, Washington National Primate Research Center - Mesa, AZ

I've worked in the animal care field for 20 years, and been a member of the research community since 2014, when I started as an animal technician with Arizona State University. Since then, I've been fortunate enough to work in both animal care and research capacities. National and AZ AALAS membership has provided me countless opportunities for community, growth, and development. Giving back is important to me, so those same opportunities are available to others. I previously served as an adhoc board member, and I'd welcome the chance to take a more active role in our local branch activities!.

Technician Branch Representative - Andra Doherty: Animal Technologist II, University of Arizona, University Animal Care - Tucson, AZ

Most of my life has been dedicated to working with animals and promoting animal welfare. Outreach and education were important components of my former roles whether as a zookeeper, an environmental researcher, or an Animal Control Officer/Cruelty Investigator. Training is a big part of my current role of Laboratory Animal Technologist and I strive to foster an environment in which researchers, technicians, and the animals they work with are treated with respect. As the Technician Branch Representative for AAALAS, I would encourage colleagues to earn certifications as well as pursue special projects that improve quality of life for human and non-human animals alike. I would also like to expand efforts to improve public perception of our field.

Your Continuing Board members are:

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


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

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

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

Special Committee Mentor - Stephanie Bybee-Gonzalez, Animal Care Manager I, University of Arizona, University 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