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Paulina grew up in Franklin Park with her parents and little brother. Shortly after high school, she enrolled in the Vet Tech Institute at Fox College in Tinley Park, graduating in May of 2012 and passing the Veterinary Technician National Exam later that year to become a Certified Veterinary Technician.
Paulina then transitioned from her job at a nearby animal hospital to a clinic in Lombard, where she first met Dr. Knoll. When Dr. Knoll decided to open her very own hospital, Paulina jumped at the chance to join forces! She’s been a member of the Knoll Animal Hospital team since the summer of 2015.
Away from work, Paulina enjoys gardening, swimming, and redecorating the house every weekend- her soon-to-be-husband, Bill, really loves that she always has a new project for him on his weekends off. They share their home with Bill’s daughter, Haley as well as several pets. They have three dogs- Daisy, Meaty, and Macaroni– as well as a pair of cats who go by Micah and Ophelia.
Megan grew up in the Lombard area, where she loved being around animals of all sorts ever since she was a little girl. For her, working in the world of veterinary medicine allows her to give something back to the pets who have given her so much! Megan proudly serves as a part of the Management team with Knoll Animal Hospital.
Megan first joined the clinic family as a receptionist in November of 2016. It wasn’t long before she decided that she would like to take on a more hands-on role dealing one-on-one with patients, and began working closely with Dr. Knoll as a Veterinary Technician! Taking things one step further, Megan’s passion for Veterinary Medicine and Knoll Animal Hospital lead her into a Management position where she is able to help make Knoll Animal Hospital the warm and family-friendly practice that is today! Megan loves learning new techniques on a regular basis, and her favorite part of the job is forming relationships with her patients and their loving owners.
At home, Megan has a kitty of her own, Wonton. Wonton loves to cuddle, play with his toys, use his scratching post, and beg for food! Much of Megan’s free time away from work is spent running her own small business. She creates and sells custom dog-collar bows—her handiwork is available for purchase here at the hospital!—as well as baby headbands, hair bows, and paintings. In her spare time, Megan also enjoys fishing, spending time outdoors, playing video games, and she even golfs!
Growing up, Becca loved caring for her many pets and giving them endless love and affection (sometimes a little too much). You could almost always find her outdoors, going on trails with her parents and always trying to go to the Shedd Aquarium, Brookfield and Lincoln Park Zoo. Even back then, Becca knew she would one day grow up to become a voice for animals who can’t speak for themselves.
Becca’s journey began as a technician assistant at a VCA hospital. She immediately fell in love with the field, which prompted her to enroll in the Veterinary Technician program at Fox College in Tinley Park. During her internship, she discovered a passion for dentistry, ophthalmology, and dermatology. After working in dermatology for a little over a year, Becca decided she wanted to go back to seeing all types of cases again. She joined the Knoll Animal Hospital team in August of 2022.
Clinically, Becca still has a particular affinity for dermatology cases, because she sees them as a puzzle. Putting the pieces together of various symptoms and trying to determine the overall picture of what’s going on is both challenging and rewarding. She also appreciates any opportunity she has to educate our clients and sharing her knowledge to help our patients live happier, healthier lives.
At home, Becca lives with her parents and their two pets. Mia, an American Eskimo/Husky mix, is a bundle of energy who loves hitting the trails with the family. Miley is a sweet, lovable kitty who will curl up with you whenever and wherever – including the top of Becca’s head from time to time.
In her spare time, Becca enjoys being outdoors and finding new trails to explore. The best trail she’s been on so far was a trail in the Porcupine Mountains. She and Mia went all the way up to lake in the clouds, which overlooks the mountain range and lake. When she’s not out exploring, Becca enjoys spending time with her loved ones.
Kamila had all sorts of pets while she was growing up, including dogs and cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, ferrets, hedgehogs, and rats. She’s been obsessed with the earth’s creatures ever since she can remember, and she’s always known that a career spent working hands-on with animals would suit her well. That’s why Kamila set her sights on the veterinary profession and never looked back!
Kamila was born in Chicago and raised in River Grove, and she was only 17 years old when she first signed on at another local animal hospital. She would remain there for three years, becoming a Veterinary Assistant and then getting cross-trained as a Veterinary Technician, before hearing about an open position here at Knoll Animal Hospital from a former coworker of hers (the clinic’s very own Kristina!). Kamila joined the hospital family in August of 2020, and the rest is history.
Medically, Kamila is fond of helping with surgical procedures and the attention to detail it requires. She’s also fond of monitoring patients under anesthesia. Above all, she loves to use her skill set to make a difference in the lives of others every day.
Outside of work, Kamila enjoys drawing, painting, and decorating. She was even in charge of decorating Knoll Animal Hospital during the holidays last year! At home, she likes to dote on her own animal companions. Her family shares their lives with three dogs—Coco the Yorkie; a Yorkiepoo named Miska; and a Shih Tzu who goes by Kropka—as well as a tortoiseshell cat, Agnes, and a tabby cat named Tobias. The animal portion of the family is rounded out by a snake, a tarantula, and a chameleon.
Growing up in an old farmhouse in Batavia, IL, Olivia was feeding and caring for stray cats at the early age of 7. In her view, there’s simply nothing quite as powerful or as beautiful as the bond between humans and animals. It came as no surprise, then, that Olivia eventually grew up to pursue a career in the animal health care field.
Olivia’s journey into veterinary medicine began as a kennel assistant when she was 18 years old. She eventually worked her way up to become a Veterinary Technician, a role that she has proudly fulfilled for nearly 20 years. Professionally, Olivia has a particular interest in surgery and dentistry, which she feels are both challenging and rewarding. She also has a special interest in cat behavior.
Outside of the clinic, Olivia is mom to two kitties: Sabastian Leon, a “forever 7 year old” grey tabby, and Maya, a black and white vampire cat who is easily going on 200 years old. She’s also been a life-long rat owner.
Olivia’s hobbies include aerial performance work, which she’s been doing for nearly a decade. In 2018, she won the Novice Lyra (aerial hoop) Division Championship in her very first performance on Lyra. When she’s not performing, you’ll usually find her crafting, cracking jokes, doing impressions or stretching. She is also a big advocate for mental health awareness, particularly as it relates to the veterinary industry.
Evelyn’s fascination with animals started at a young age when her family adopted a Chihuahua named Cosita. After spending some time with her beloved dog, Evelyn knew that she wanted to work in an animal-related field one day. That passion just never let up. Now, she’s able to help pets on a daily basis as a Veterinary Assistant!
Evelyn grew up in Melrose Park, Illinois but moved to Addison at a young age. Her veterinary journey started when she signed on to work at a few travel vaccination clinics, which introduced her to the world of vaccines and pet medicine. Evelyn knew she wanted to dive even deeper into the world of animal care—she decided to look for a job in a veterinary clinic. She joined the Knoll Animal Hospital family in May of 2021 and hasn’t looked back since!
Outside of work, Evelyn enjoys traveling, collecting knick-knacks, and doting on her own pets at home. She has two domestic shorthair cats: Bamboo, a laid-back feline adopted by Evelyn’s family when he was a kitten; and Acorn, who was rescued off the street and now enjoys a luxurious life with his human family.
Growing up, Lola Mancera was always fascinated by animals. During her many trips to the zoo with family, Lola took notice of the people that would take care of the animals, imagining what a cool job that would be. As she got older, she started volunteering at animal shelters before moving on to volunteer at the Brookfield Zoo. Keeping animals happy and healthy is Lola’s main passion!
Lola joined the Knoll Animal Hospital team as a Veterinary Assistant in June of 2021. She plans on continuing her education with the goal of one day becoming a Veterinarian. In the meantime, she is thoroughly enjoying her work at the clinic and loves being able to interact with everyone, including clients and their pets, as well as her colleagues.
When she’s not working and going to school, Lola enjoys spending time with her family and pets. She currently shares her life with 3 dogs: Roxy, Lulu, and Lizzie. Roxy is the oldest and just loves to be held. Lulu is 3 years old and loves to sleep in the sun, and Lizzie is the youngest. She loves to run outside and play catch.
Rachel grew up in the Chicago suburbs alongside plenty of family dogs, and she felt an intrinsic connection with them ever since she can remember. Her fascination with animals never wavered—she would visit the Brookfield Zoo with her family every year for her birthday, and she even dreamed of becoming a marine biologist or a wildlife researcher. For Rachel, one thing was clear: a career in veterinary care would suit her perfectly!
Rachel holds a Bachelor’s degree in biology, and worked in the retail industry for a time after her collegiate career. After having children, she decided to return to her true passion and jump headfirst into the veterinary world. Rachel had the opportunity to shadow Dr. Knoll on two separate occasions, and it wasn’t long before an employment opportunity became available. Rachel didn’t hesitate! She’s now a proud member of the clinic’s Veterinary Assistant team.
Away from work, most of Rachel’s free time is spent with her family. She and her husband have two wonderful boys—both are extremely interested in dinosaurs and fossils—and the family shares their home with one dog: Baxter, whose favorite activities include relaxing and eating.
As a kid, Chad grew up watching The Crocodile Hunter on Animal Planet. Every Saturday, he’d sit starry-eyed, staring at the TV and dreaming of one day growing up to be just like Steve Irwin. This desire was strengthened each summer, when Chad would visit various zoos around the area. Seeing wildlife up close and in person solidified his desire to work with animals as a profession. As a Vet Assistant, Chad is thrilled to have finally made his lifelong dream a reality!
Chad initially started out in human health care. After graduating from Western Illinois University, he worked in a cardiac rehabilitation facility. In early 2022, he decided to leave his job and finally pursue what he’d always wanted: a career in veterinary medicine. He joined the Knoll Animal Hospital team in April of 2022. Professionally, he appreciates the fact that, because we are a fear-free facility, patients feel more like they’re at a second home than at a hospital.
Outside of work, Chad resides with his parents, younger brother and a variety of animal family members. Their pets include a Siberian husky named Parker; two cats: Bella and Cheeto; and two turtles, named Squirt and Twig.
In his spare time, Chad can usually be found working out at the gym. He also enjoys fishing, camping, cooking, woodworking and watching the Cubs play. An obstacle race aficionado, Chad has been competing in Spartan Races with his dad for more than a decade. He hopes to run an Ultra Spartan Race one day soon.
Melissa has had a fascination with animals her entire life. At the age of 10, she rescued an abandoned litter of baby bunnies and, with the help of her mother, was able to raise them until they could be released back into the wild. The experience of helping these helpless creatures, and seeing them develop and grow, inspired Melissa to pursue a career in the veterinary field. As a certified veterinary assistant, she is able to fulfill her life’s ambition and continue her passion of caring for animals.
Melissa’s career journey began at the College of DuPage, where she completed the certified assistant program. While attending school, she had the opportunity to extern at a local animal hospital, through which she was able to gain valuable hands-on experience. After spending several years at a couple different clinics, Melissa decided to join the Knoll Animal Hospital team in the winter of 2022. Professionally, Melissa enjoys preventative care and client education.
Outside of work, Melissa resides with her father, brother, and sister. Their fur-family consists of a bunny named Benito, and a smart and loving Chiweenie named Chanel. While Chanel has (luckily) not yet found her indoor voice, she definitely makes her presence known when outdoors, and will do anything for an Oravet chew.
In her spare time, Melissa loves to attend concerts and music festivals – especially if there’s a chance for a meet and greet.
Vanessa became a groomer for two simple reasons: one, because she loves dogs; and two, because they offer the perfect canvas on which to express her creativity. For her, nothing feels better than the challenge of taking a dog in dire need of grooming and making them look and feel their absolute best! Vanessa is the proud owner and operator of The Purple Poodle grooming salon inside Knoll Animal Hospital.
Vanessa graduated from grooming school in 2012, and worked as a dog groomer at a number of facilities before deciding to strike out on her own. She met Dr. Knoll shortly after the practice opened, and Vanessa learned that the hospital was in need of grooming services as a convenience to clients. It couldn’t have been a more perfect fit––Vanessa opened The Purple Poodle inside of Knoll Animal Hospital in December of 2015, and she feels it’s one of the best decisions she’s ever made!
Vanessa has a particular passion for grooming nervous or anxious dogs, and she loves to help teach proper coat-care techniques to the area’s pet owners for a lifetime of good skin and fur health. Visitors to the clinic will often hear classical or jazz music emanating from the salon––a lifelong fan of ballets and operas, Vanessa loves to play music while working and finds that it helps calm both her and the dog that she’s grooming! She also loves attending continuing education classes to further her skill and knowledge in the world of professional pet grooming.
Vanessa lives in Lombard with her husband, Jerral, her son, Gus, and two dogs: Ammo the Great Dane and a Greyhound who goes by Ava. In her spare time, she loves to go swimming, boating, and fishing; cheer on her son at his baseball, football, and basketball games; and spend time relaxing at the family lake house.
When she was young, Drew’s grandmother used to take her on tours of the veterinary department in the university where she worked. Those trips made a lasting impression on her. Drew was inspired by the staff there and their obvious passion for animals. She knew that she would like to make a difference in the lives of pets and animal owners herself! That’s why Drew decided to work in the veterinary field.
A native of Elgin, Drew joined the Knoll Animal Hospital team in February of 2021 as a Client Service Representative. She makes it her mission every day to give all visitors to the clinic a top-notch experience, whether they have four legs or just two. Drew’s favorite part of the job is meeting brand-new pet owners, and she loves being a part of a team that is so dedicated to the health and happiness of others.
Outside of work, Drew enjoys practicing yoga, finding something to organize, reading good books, and staying active with her dogs. She has two canine companions. Mali, who has a huge voice and personality, and the nearly 100-pound Blu as well as a cat, Onyx, who likes to think he’s a dog.
Meghan has had a love of animals since she was born. At the age of 9 months, her dog Chauncey inspired her to learn how to climb gates so they could be closer together. At a year and a half, she was trying to convince the dog to color with crayons. Meghan’s lifelong passion for animals turned into a genuine interest in veterinary medicine when her sister-in-law brought home a special needs rescue dog who had been previously abused. She worked closely with the dog to get her acclimated to normal life, and the experience made a lasting impression. She knew that she wanted to help all the animals she possibly could! That’s why she decided to join the veterinary profession.
Meghan’s animal-care journey began when she started volunteering with the Almost Home Foundation. It wasn’t long before she started helping animals hands-on at a local grooming salon. Next, Meghan decided to dive headfirst into the world of veterinary care. She started here at Knoll Animal Hospital in March of 2021, and the rest is history. Meghan loves meeting pet parents and their adorable companions every day, and she particularly likes to help get new pet owners started off on the right foot.
Outside of work, Meghan’s interests include gardening, completing home projects, classic cars, collecting Snoopy plushies, spending time with friends, and doting on her own pets. She shares her life with Lucy, a mischievous Black Labrador, as well as four fish: Marco, Ernie, and Dot. She has also adopted Yacko the lizard and Rupert the gecko, and shares a cat named Maple Rose with her cousin.
If cuddling a shark was possible, Ashley Malik would probably be first in line. In fact, she fully admits to liking animals even more than she likes people. Yet, she has always wanted to help people. Veterinary care is her loving way of bridging that gap!
Ash was raised in Carol Stream by her mom, who was also a huge animal lover. Growing up, she was obsessed with animals and nature. Unfortunately, as an asthmatic child, Ash was never allowed to own a pet. Her mother gladly fed her need for knowledge by buying Ash every possible book and encyclopedia she could get her hands on. For a brief moment, Ash even considered becoming an exotic vet and moving to Australia. That was before she saw the bugs!
As Knoll’s Rock Star Receptionist, Ash can often be found on the floor with the patients or trying to make friends with the fractious cat. She is currently working to become fear-free certified – something that’s very important to her as a person living with anxiety disorders. “If we can care for pets and their people in an emotional way, a way that eases everyone’s medical fears, there’s no greater goal.”
She loves problem solving and finds veterinary medicine to be a constant challenge. As she puts it: “There are few careers where you can be yourself completely, learn every day, and love what you do.”
Ash lives with her partner, their 4 cats – Cinder, Topaz, Coal, and Grim – and 1 ball python named Anya. Coal, A.K.A. Coalito, plays fetch! Grim, a Maine Coon mix, is a total baby, despite the fact that he is bigger than most small dogs. He loves to be cuddled and picked up.
When not snuggling her fur babies, Ash loves to cook – especially her signature dish: chicken and paneer tikka masala. She also enjoys coloring and cutting hair, reading suspense novels. Above all, Ash loves to live and love out loud. Life is a colorful adventure that she’s thrilled to be a part of!
Before Emma was an employee here at Knoll Animal Hospital, she was a client. She had brought her foster dog here to the clinic for top-notch care, and was immediately impressed by the hospital’s dynamic atmosphere and the friendly staff. When the opportunity arose for Emma to join the family herself, she didn’t hesitate!
Emma is a Wheaton native and began her animal-care journey by volunteering at the DuPage Animal Shelter. Next, she helped with several adoption events at PetSmart before deciding to jump headfirst into the veterinary profession. That’s when Emma joined the Knoll Animal Hospital team! In the future, she hopes to advance her education and become a veterinarian herself.
Around the clinic, Emma enjoys interacting with pet owners and their adorable companions at the front desk. She’s also fond of learning all she can about pet healthcare and soaking up all the knowledge she can from the hospital’s doctors and support staff.
When she’s not at work, Emma likes practicing the guitar, playing tennis—she played in the state qualifier round three years in a row!—and spending time with her own pets at home. She has a mischievous dog, Koby, who can understand both English and Romanian thanks to her parents’ fluency, as well as a Tetra fish named Silver.
Animals have always occupied a special place in Haley’s heart. Doing her part to give something back to the earth’s creatures is a dream come true! She’s a proud member of the Client Service Team here at Knoll Animal Hospital.
Haley grew up in Northlake and Franklin Park and first came to Knoll Animal Hospital when she was looking for a summer job. She’s been here ever since! Haley loves to learn new things from the hospital’s doctors and support staff, and her favorite part of the job is getting to meet pet owners and their adorable companions every day.
At home, Haley has three guinea pigs, two of whom are obsessed with food and another who loves people and attention.
From a young age, Lauren Allen was infatuated with animals – particularly dogs. At the age of 11, she began displaying symptoms of mental illnesses, and the only certain way to calm her down were her Siberian Huskies, Sheeba and Samson. Today, as beloved receptionist at Knoll Animal Hospital, Lauren is able to draw from her personal experience with anxiety to help alleviate stress and make fractious animals feel more comfortable.
While majoring in English at a large university, Lauren realized writing was not her true passion – animals were! She was devastated without regular animal interaction, so she finally got the chinchilla she’d always wanted (named Venus) and snuck her into her dorm room. Though she was technically breaking rules, Lauren’s RA was extremely understanding and allowed her to keep Venus, who ultimately became the entire floor’s secret pet!
Lauren’s journey in the animal care industry began as a dog groomer. From there, she transitioned into the medical realm as a Veterinary Receptionist. After cross-training as an assistant, Lauren decided she preferred the responsibilities of being a receptionist and creating relationships with clients. Professionally, she enjoys discussing medical conditions and concerns with staff in order to gain more knowledge that she can then share with others. She also enjoys discussing preventatives and helping clients save money on their pets’ medications.
Outside the clinic, Lauren resides in Carol Stream with her girlfriend, Vanessa, and their zoo, which includes a very vocal Siberian Husky named Apollo, and two cats: Milo, a special needs gray tabby who loves to play fetch, and Sosa, a female orange tabby who enjoys causing mischief by throwing treats off the counter and trying to run out the door to hunt birds. They also have a leopard gecko named Liz Khalifa, a crested gecko named Ivy Oddly, a grumpy blue crayfish, an aquatic frog, several snails, and a plethora of fish, including bettas, plecos, yoyos, guppies and more!
When not spending time with her human and animal family, Lauren enjoys reading, writing, cleaning, traveling, spending time outdoors, and binge watching Rupaul’s Drag Race and Law and Order: SVU.
Unlike many of her colleagues, Donea didn’t initially set out to work in the veterinary field. It was just something she sort of “fell” into. She’d recently left a job she wasn’t passionate about and decided she needed a break to recover and reset her mind. During this hiatus, she would frequently drive by the hospital and wonder what it would be like to work here. After coming across an ad for an opening, she applied and the rest is history!
While Donea’s primary role here at Knoll Animal Hospital is receptionist, she continues to hone her skills and often assists with patient care as well. Prior to joining the Knoll team, Donea has worked at a doggie day care, as well as another local veterinary clinic. She also had a brief stint in human medicine along the way, but quickly discovered that her heart belonged with patients of the four-legged variety. Her favorite part of the job is providing comfort and understanding to clients during difficult or stressful moments.
Outside of work, Donea is Mom to Seymour, a bossy 16-pound Terrier mix who is as sassy as he is sweet. He believes people are here to serve him, and demands lots of cuddles, pats and treats while in his presence. Donea’s personal interests include song writing, working out at the gym, and going dancing with her friends.
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