Dr.Elizabeth J. OlsonDVM, CCRT
Dr. Olson earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. She received several honors during her education there including the Toby Fastiggi Award for Excellence in Patient Care and the Kaytee Avian and Special Species Excellence Award for accomplishments in avian research, medicine and surgery. Dr Olson is an active UF CVM alum, representing the Class of 2002 on the Alumni Council and serving on the Admissions Committee.
She is a graduate of Rollins College in Winter Park and received her Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in Environmental Studies in 1985. Dr Olson spent 11 years working in Central Florida as an Aquatic Biologist for various government agencies prior to beginning her journey into veterinary medicine.
Dr. Olson has worked as a veterinarian in the Central Florida area since graduating in 2002. Her career path has taken her from full-time positions at two local clinics to a variety of clinics seen as a traveling veterinarian. All these experiences have culminated in the opening of Varsity Veterinary Center. While the bulk of her experience is with typical companion animals like cats and dogs, Dr. Olson has seen many unusual patients as well. She has worked extensively with a variety of exotic species including many varieties of birds; a large variety of reptiles like iguanas, turtles and snakes; small mammals such as rabbits, ferrets and guinea pigs and amphibian and aquatic pets as well. As a carryover from her days as a biologist, Dr Olson takes a special interests in the wildlife that share our Central Florida habitat. She has worked with a variety of these creatures including birds of prey such as Bald Eagles and various hawks, migrating birds such as Sand Hill Cranes and Florida Gopher Tortoises.
Additionally, Dr. Olson is a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist (CCRT). Her course work, exams, and case studies were done through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute. This special training enables Dr. Olson to better diagnose and treat a variety of issues that range from post-surgical complications to arthritis and neurological diseases. Many aspects of her training allow her to give owners the ability to help their pets at home thus improving overall treatments, outcomes, and quality of life!
Dr. Olson's non-human companions include: Maybelline, a little terrier cross; Tater, a lab cross; Amelia the Great Explorer (a really inquisitive cat!!); I'Lean to the left, a three legged cat; Eli, a Blue and Gold McCaw; Emily, a physically challenged Quaker Parrot, Flapjack, a slightly irregular Sulcata Tortoise and two Florida box turtles, Geronimo and The Other One.
When Dr. Olson is not working or caring for her menagerie, she enjoys being outside, hopefully involved in some water activity, reading a huge variety of novels, cooking, gardening, photography, family outings, and anything involving the Gator Nation!
Lauren has been working in the veterinary field for 7 years. She began working with animals while getting her Bachelor's in Biology from East Carolina University in North Carolina. She maintains a great passion for working with wildlife, and has had the privilege to work with many types of animals in many different settings and environments, including as far away as Australia. Her love for wildlife is actually what made her decide to move to Florida (with the help of a fast-growing affinity for Florida Gopher Tortoises). She loves to travel as far and as often as she can, but in the meantime she enjoys hanging out with her dog; Sipsy Blue, her two cats; Darby Tolouse and Turkey Ma'am, and her chinchilla; Shimmy. She is currently contemplating starting a Master's program, and her ultimate goal is veterinary school.
Laura,BS, CVTLead Veterinary Nurse
Laura has been working in the veterinary field since 2010. Growing up in Iowa, she attended Iowa State University where she earned her Bachelors of Science Degree in Animal Ecology with a focus in Wildlife Care and Pre-Veterinary medicine. Laura is a recent graduate of the Veterinary Technician program through St. Petersburg College, and has a special interest in internal medicine and wildlife medicine. She enjoys spending time with her husband Danny, any outdoor adventure (paddle boarding, hiking, rock climbing, scuba diving, camping, and biking) days spent at the beach, crafts, playing the piano, and baking . Laura and her husband share their home with two sugar gliders (Kiah, Bindi), two dogs (Zippy and Finnley), a cat (Pippin), two turtles, and a freshwater cichlid tank.
Heather,B.S., CVTSenior Veterinary Nurse
Originally from the Detroit area, Heather received a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology from the University of Michigan. After college she worked as a field biologist and zookeeper at a bat conservation organization. In August of 2018 she received her CVT from St. Petersburg College. Since 1998, she has worked in many different areas as a veterinary technician from zoo medicine to critical care. Heather has a special interest in emergency & critical care and wildlife medicine. In 2005, she founded City Bats Conservancy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the rehabilitation and conservation of Florida's bats and Gopher tortoises. As a licensed Florida Wildlife rehabilitator there is little free time ! She enjoys snuggling with her cats : Squee, Snarf and Grim and hiking with her chiweenie, Cricket.
Leah joined our team in July 2015. She is originally from Cleveland, Ohio and has been working in the veterinary field since 1997. Starting as a kennel technician in Manassas, Virginia she was quickly promoted to Veterinary Technician Assistant and learned how to care for pets. Given the option to continue as a technician or transfer to the reception area, Leah moved to the receptionist position. She discovered that for her, working closely with the clients was the most rewarding way of helping pets. After attending Seminole State College to obtain certification in human medical billing and coding, Leah couldn't imagine working without animals so she stayed in veterinary medicine. Leah loves spending time with her teenage son They frequent Walt Disney World and the Orlando Science Center together. When there is any spare time, Leah enjoys writing and spending quality time her her dog 'Lily' and her cat 'Gogo'.
Jenni,LVT, CVT, AA, BAS (VT)Senior Veterinary Nurse
Jenni has been a Licensed Veterinary Technician since 1988 and received her license from Michigan State University. In 2012, she received a Bachelor's of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology from St. Petersburg College, where Dr. Olson was her mentor for her senior project. Jenni has worked for Sedgwick County Zoo, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, and Disney's Animal Kingdom. She has also worked in private practice and in internal medicine in a specialty practice here in central Florida. Her special veterinary interests include avian and reptilian hematology and reptile medicine. In her spare time, Jenni likes spending time with her family camping. Her non-human family includes two dogs, Chloe and Olaf, a cat named Princess Kitty, a yellow-naped Amazon named Uma, and a blue-tongued Skink named Moey.
Tori has been in the veterinary field since August of 2014. She started out as a kennel technician and worked her way up to veterinary technician a year and a half later. Currently, Tori has an AA in General Studies, and is progressing toward a certification as a veterinary technician. Her special veterinary interests include reptile and large animal medicine. In her spare time, Tori loves to go to the Disney theme parks and take advantage of the beautiful beaches of Florida. Tori has a lab mix named Shadow.
Kayla has been in the veterinary field since September of 2010. She was trained by two doctors in a clinic in New Jersey. Kayla graduated in May of 2018 with a double major: one in psychology and the other in biology. In her spare time, Kayla enjoys anything that is outdoors, traveling, SCUBA diving, reading, and watching Netflix or Hulu. Kayla's has a special interest in general surgery and she has had the opportunity to assist in a tiger dental cleaning. Kayla's non-human family includes two cats named Nibbles and Loki, a Catahoula Leopard Dog mix named Monti, a bumblebee ball python, and a leopard gecko.
Faith has been working with animals since 2011 and entered the veterinary profession in 2012. She joined the Varsity team in September 2018 and has a special interest in surgery and dentistry. Faith enjoys hiking, kayaking, music concerts, painting, bike riding, and playing the ukulele. Faith shares her home with Mosby, a parti-colored Pomeranian and is in the process of adopting another furry family member.