Our Team

Alison Charney Hussey

Executive Director

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Alison Charney Hussey

“As Executive Director, Alison Charney Hussey works with the Board of Directors, the Hospital and Visitor Education Staff, the wonderful volunteers, and the community in an effort to further CROW’s mission. Overseeing the day-to-day operations of the CROW campus as well as involving herself in community outreach, she works to create a sense of collaboration and attitude of teamwork throughout the organization, the donors, and community partners.

A lifelong resident of Lee County, Alison brings her professional and legal background with her to CROW. Prior to her career at CROW, Alison was a partner at Pavese Law Firm serving in the LaBelle and Cape Coral offices. She is also a Supreme Court Certified Circuit and Family Mediator and has helped resolve disputes for more than a decade. She earned her law degree from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University and her undergraduate degree from Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. Alison brings enthusiasm to her role as a teambuilder, manager, fundraiser, and animal lover. She is proud to both lead and serve with the professionals at CROW to promote and educate the local and global communities in order to protect, heal, and conserve wildlife.”

Michelle Menendez

Director of Operations and Human Resources

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Michelle Menendez

Michelle Menendez joined the CROW team in May of 2021. As the Director of Operations and Human Resources, Michelle is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the daily administrative and HR functions of the CROW organization. Michelle earned her undergraduate  degree in Business Administration from the University of North Florida and is an active member of SHRM, the Society of Human Resource Management. Michelle’s diverse experience and global sourcing background as a former product designer in the home textiles industry brings a creative and unique perspective to her role here at CROW.

Michelle is a native Floridian and is also a Sanibel Island resident. Her childhood was spent locally on the beaches of Ft Myers, Sanibel, and Captiva. Michelle is an avid tourist and local attractions advocate. Her love for our barrier island embraces our tropical environment as well as our native wildlife. Her passion for our local community is undeniably her first and foremost priority.

Grace Murphy

Development Director

Alison Reece

Public Relations & Marketing Manager

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Alison Reece

Ali Reece joined the CROW team in June of 2023. Ali earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing with a minor in sustainability from Indiana State University in 2022. Ali returned to the team after previously completing the conservation education and marketing internship with CROW in 2020. After graduating, Ali interned with “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society as a Communications & Development Internship prior to accepting her current position.

Ali had been visiting Sanibel for years with her family. She fell in love with Florida’s diverse ecosystems and wildlife conservation through Sanibel’s unique environment. Her passion for environmental and wildlife education reflects in her position through social media and education outreach.

Brittnay Laster

Education & Outreach Coordinator

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Brittnay Laster

Brittnay Laster joined the CROW team in September of 2023. As the Education and Outreach Coordinator, Brittnay is responsible for program development, the Education Center, and the planning of offsite/onsite programming. Brittnay also works closely with the Hospital staff to train the ambassador animals for programs, so they are comfortable in front of groups of people. Brittnay earned her undergraduate degree from Mississippi State University in Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture where she was on track for Veterinary School. However, after an internship in the field of wildlife education, Brittnay changed tracks and became a Wildlife Educator. In 2020, Brittnay started her Master at the University of Bristol with a focus in Global Wildlife Health and Conservation.

Upon returning to the US, Brittnay started her career with Alaska Geographic in Denali National Park and continued to work seasonally in several states before deciding to find a more permanent position here at CROW. Brittnay is from Florence, Alabama and has visited Florida, but never visited Sanibel Island or the Fort Myers area. However, with a self-confessed love of marine life, she is very excited to join the team!

Pam Stoike

Volunteer Coordinator and Gift Shop Associate

Alexandra Cavanaugh

Administrative Assistant

Robin Bast, DVM

Staff Veterinarian

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Robin Bast, DVM

Dr. Robin Bast joined the CROW team as Staff Veterinarian in July 2018, but she has been involved with CROW since her first student externship in January 2010. She returned for a six-month fellowship in 2011 and stayed on staff as the Senior Wildlife Rehabilitator for a year prior to getting into veterinary school. She earned her DVM from University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville in 2016, then went on to complete two internships – the first was a year-long Small Animal Rotating Internship in emergency medicine and surgery at Florida Veterinary Referral Center in Estero, and the second was a year-long Wildlife and Conservation Medicine Internship here at CROW. After completing her internship here, she stayed on as Staff Veterinarian overseeing daily operations at the hospital and the student program.

Dr. Bast loves teaching students, and particularly enjoys working with River Otters, Owls, and Sea Turtle patients. She lives in Cape Coral with her calico cat, Amber.

Jessica Comolli, DVM, MS

Research & Medical Director

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Jessica Comolli, DVM, MS

Dr. Comolli was born and raised in South Carolina, where she completed a Bachelor of Science with a major in Animal and Veterinary Sciences from Clemson University, as well as an Associate of Applied Science with a major in Veterinary Technology from Tri-County Technical College when she became a Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT).  She then moved to Georgia to continue her education at veterinary school, where she obtained her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, with an emphasis in Zoological Medicine. Following veterinary school, which included multiple out rotations at various zoological / wildlife facilities, she completed a one-year Zoological /Wildlife Medicine Specialty Internship at Iowa State University. She then returned to Georgia to pursue a 4-year Zoological Medicine Residency training program at the University of Georgia, Zoo Atlanta, and the Georgia Aquarium, where she also obtained a Master’s Degree in Comparative Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Comolli has lectured and presented at numerous conferences both locally and internationally and has authored or co-authored over 25 publications and book chapters. She has successfully credentialed to take the American College of Zoological Medicine Specialty Boards and is currently preparing to sit for them. Her current professional interests include minimally invasive laparoscopic/endoscopic procedures as well as any projects that involve improving conservation and welfare. Outside of wildlife medicine, Dr. Comolli adores cats, and shares a home with three lovely rescued felines.

Madeleine Chilcote, DVM

Veterinary Medicine Intern

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Madeleine Chilcote, DVM

Dr. Chilcote joined the CROW team for her year long internship on July 1. Dr. Chilcote received her Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in German from Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan and earned her doctorate at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Before coming to CROW, Dr. Chilcote completed a Rotating Small Animal Medicine and Surgery Internship at VCA Weymouth Animal Hospital and an Animal Care Internship at the Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick, Maine. She also completed several externships during her time in veterinary college at the following organizations: California Wildlife Center in Calabasas, California; The Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro, Virginia; Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia; and the Department of Fish & Wildlife in Corvallis, Oregon.

Kasey Mitchell, DVM

Veterinary Medicine Intern

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Kasey Mitchell, DVM

Dr. Mitchell returned to the CROW team for her year long internship on July 1.

Dr. Mitchell received her Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Marshall University in West Virginia. She earned her doctorate from University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine. After graduating, Dr. Mitchell completed an ER and Small Animal Rotation in San Diego at VCA Emergency Animal Hospital and Referral Center. Dr. Mitchell previously studied at CROW, completing a Veterinary Medicine Externship in 2018 and most recently volunteering in the hospital.

Becca Wehmeier

Hospital Practice Manager

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Becca Wehmeier

Becca joined CROW in April 2019 as the Hospital Training Coordinator before being promoted to her current management role of the Hospital Practice Manager in 2023. Prior to her work at CROW, Becca graduated in 2018 from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Ecology-Wildlife Care. She will be graduating with her Veterinary Practice Management Certification in early 2024 and will further be pursuing her CVPM. Prior to CROW, she volunteered and worked as a vet assistant at multiple animal hospitals in the Kansas City area and worked at the Iowa State Veterinary College in their Wildlife Care Clinic department working with native Iowa wildlife where she found her passion for wildlife rehabilitation. Becca oversees the hospital staff, student training, daily hospital operations, hospital volunteer program, clinic inventory, and more! Becca’s favorite species to work with at CROW include Virginia Opossums, Turkey Vultures, and Pelicans. In her spare time she enjoys visiting family, kayaking, traveling, and cooking. A fun fact is she owns 7 animals with 2 of them being Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs that were admitted to CROW in 2020 and 2021 that needed to be re-homed!

Amber Strassler, CVT

Certified Veterinary Technician/Floor Manager

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Amber Strassler, CVT

Amber graduated in 2011 from Stautzenberger College with her Associates of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology and has been a veterinary technician for over 10 years now. She started off planning to work with domestic animals, but in 2015 she shifted her career focus to wildlife medicine. This shift began when she started the six-month vet tech internship at CROW. It was during her time here that her love for wildlife took root. In the student program, Amber learned how to apply her veterinary technician skillset to working with native Florida wildlife. After this, she completed a second internship working at the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge in Fort Walton Beach, FL where she participated in all aspects of wildlife rehab and marine mammal stranding. Her next career move was working a seasonal position at the Texas State Aquarium’s wildlife rehab center. There, she was able to expand her skillset to working with native Texas wildlife. Afterwards, she made the move to zoo medicine working at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PA. Although she loved the opportunity to work with a zoo collection of birds, she found herself missing wildlife. When the opportunity presented itself, she jumped at the chance to return to CROW Clinic!

Since returning to CROW in 2018, Amber has held a variety of roles within the clinic. Most recently, she took on the role of Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) Floor Manager where she works closely with CROW veterinarians to oversee the treatment and care of the most critical patients. Because CROW is a teaching hospital, Amber also teaches over 50 rotating students each year how to care for wildlife and also useful skills like placing an IV, how to read blood samples, and how to draw blood from a variety of species, along many more tech responsibilities. On her time off, Amber enjoys spending time with her sister Megan and her two cats, May and Isla. She also loves birdwatching, hiking, shelling, and crafting.

Morgan Hester, CWR

Assistant Wildlife Rehabilitation Manager/Admissions Specialist

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Morgan Hester, CWR

Originally from Wendell, North Carolina, Morgan joined the CROW team as an intern in May 2016 before accepting a full-time position in the rehab department in 2017, and thus becoming CROW’s in-house “bird nerd”. Morgan is an IWRC Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator and earned her Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology with a concentration in Wildlife Rehabilitation and her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Lees McRae College in Banner Elk, NC. While attending school, she worked at the college’s very own May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center where she learned the tips of the wildlife rehab trade from some of the very best! She also developed a deeper love and understanding of birds along with the conservation measures to help protect them.

At CROW, Morgan works closely with CROW’s animal ambassadors to help train them to educate others about their species. Morgan also assists with the training of students/volunteers, first response calls/animal intakes, and triaging patients alongside veterinarians. She also takes great care to expand CROW’s wildlife artifact collection with her taxidermy skills and species knowledge. Aside from CROW, Morgan spends her free time exploring some of Florida’s wonderful nature trails and birdwatching every step of the way! She also volunteers her time assisting SCCF on Sanibel with their shorebird surveys and a multitude of other bird count surveys throughout migration. While Morgan may be obsessed with all birds, her favorite is the Belted Kingfisher which she says always likes to evade her camera.

Katie Mueller, CWR

Assistant Wildlife Rehabilitation Manager

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Katie Mueller, CWR

Katie has been an IWRC Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator (CWR) at CROW since December of 2017. She grew up on a farm in Iowa, and was first introduced to animal care through her flock of chickens. Katie graduated from Iowa State University in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Ecology with an emphasis on wildlife rehabilitation. While at Iowa State, she interned at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines. Katie also worked three years at the Wildlife Care Clinic at the Iowa State Veterinary College. After graduation, she spent a summer doing bird, vegetation, and insect surveys then completed a six-month fellowship at CROW before being hired on as staff.

As a CWR, Katie helps oversee the rehabilitation of injured reptiles, birds, and mammals. Another large part of her job is caring for all the baby animals admitted to the hospital. She also assists with training students and volunteers in various areas of the clinic, and helps with treatments and animal care in the ICU portion of the hospital. Her favorite animals to work with include vultures, ducks, pelicans, and owls.

Lilli Pedersen, CWR

Wildlife Rehabber

Taylor Lukasik

Wildlife Rehabber

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Taylor Lukasik

Taylor started at CROW in March of 2022 as a 6-month fellowship student with the goal of eventually attending veterinary school. After falling in love with wildlife medicine, she was hired on as staff upon completion of the student program. Taylor graduated from Boston University in 2021 with a degree in Biology, and recently earned her master’s degree in Microbiology from the University of Florida. Taylor has previously worked as a both a veterinary assistant and technician in domestic animal clinics and just submitted her applications for admission into veterinary school. She hopes to return to CROW as a veterinary intern upon completion of her DVM.
Taylor’s favorite patients to work with include barred owls and roseate spoonbills.

Jaya Thohan

Wildlife Rehabber

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Jaya Thohan

Jaya joined the CROW team as a Wildlife Rehabilitator in August of 2023. Jaya first began her career in wildlife rehabilitation in high school as an orphan bird caregiver volunteer at the Wisconsin Humane Society Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, tending to infant songbirds and waterfowl husbandry. Jaya’s collegiate years were spent studying environmental science at the University of Alabama. During her summer breaks, Jaya returned home to Wisconsin where she worked for two consecutive summers as wildlife intern, and a third year as a staff member where she assisted with wildlife rehabbers. As her passion for wildlife tremendously grew, she ultimately knew she wanted to become a wildlife rehabilitator. Jaya knew she could capitalize on her dream by becoming a member of the CROW team! She is excited to diversify her experience working with various native and migratory Florida species while being educationally immersed in a teaching hospital.

Elizabeth Baker

Hospital Training Coordinator

Tamara Wentworth

Wildlife First Responder

Randy Rainbolt

Facilities and Grounds Manager