Our Staff

The staff at Capitola Veterinary Hospital are caring and competent. We are dedicated to ensure the health and comfort of your companions.  Shauna, Jana, Kellie, Elissa, and Vanessa are our client service representatives in charge of keeping things organized and making sure our clients’ and patients’ needs are met.   Neal, Anthony, and Christina are our veterinary nurse/technician staff members.  Shauna, Katharine, Jana, and Kellie also assist the technicians in patient care.  Dr. River May, Dr. Katie Volat, and Dr. Tiffany Mitchener are grateful to work with such a competent and compassionate team.


Neal is our operations manager and our most senior technician. His many years of carpentry experience help keep the hospitals many systems running in top form.  He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and has lived in Santa Cruz for over a decade.  His family members include a dachshund named Scooter and a cattle dog named Kona. Neal enjoys hiking with his dogs, daughter, and wife, playing guitar, camping, and fishing.  He is a graduate of Carrington College’s veterinary technician program!  



Anthony is our technician supervisor. He has been working with animals since 2007. He has an associate’s degree from Cabrillo College, and his many years of experience over the years have gained him a broad knowledge of veterinary medicine working with a wide range of animals. Anthony moved to Santa Cruz for school, but his main motivation was his love for the ocean and thrill of chasing down swells to surf along our beautiful coast. He spends his time off in the Sierras with his friends and family hiking, snowboarding, and fishing. His family consists of his wife, Sumer, two cats, Tuxy and Tawny, and his California King snake, Mitch.



Christina is a recent graduate from the veterinary technician program at Foothill College.  She feels very fortunate to have grown up in Santa Cruz, where natural wonders like the forest and beach and their inhabitants have nurtured her interest in animal sciences from an early age. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a B.S. in Zoology and has just received an A.S. in Veterinary Technology. Christina aspires to one day transition into zoo and wildlife medicine, where she hopes that her familiarity with small animal medicine will make her a well-equipped advocate for animal welfare and habitat preservation. She is absolutely thrilled to be a part of a veterinary team that values sustainable practices and is always striving toward progress. In the moments when she doesn’t have her nose in a textbook or hands on a cat or dog, Christina enjoys painting, playing the banjo, and exploring the outdoors with her German Shepherd, Roxy.



Katharine grew up in Davis, CA and developed a love for animals from an early age. She moved to Santa Cruz to attend Cabrillo College and enjoy the beautiful beaches and redwoods.She’s now attending UCSC as a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major. Katharine started at our practice volunteering as an intern, and now she is one of our most experienced client service representatives.  She has had years of experience working with horses and has cared for a variety of animals. Katharine finds working with animals and people who love animals very rewarding. In her free time she enjoys going disc golfing, running, hiking, knitting, playing video games, and going to the archery range. She lives with her boyfriend Ian and their cat, Wiggles, and rescue dog, Daisy.



Shauna graduated from UC Santa Cruz, where she began her interest in animal rescue. She volunteered for the Marine Mammal Center, CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, and the UCSC Long Marine Lab, where she had years of hands on experience with seals, sea lions, sea otters, and dolphins. After college, Shauna became an animal control officer for Santa Cruz County. After two years as an officer, she transferred positions to become an animal health technician for the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter. Shauna is excited to expand her career in the veterinary field. Shauna and her husband, Joe, have just welcomed baby boy, Orion and have two twin boys, Austin and Logan. Shauna and Joe also have two furry four-legged children, their two rescue dogs, Sierra and Sonoma. When Shauna is not working, she spends her time hiking with her dogs, attending her sons’ sporting events, and being surrounded by her amazing family and friends.




Jana was raised in Santa Cruz and developed a deep love of animals and the ocean at an early age. Participating in a youth dolphin trainer program helped her make the decision to pursue a career in the marine sciences and animal behavior fields.  Jana graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a B.S. in Marine Biology and now splits her time between our hospital and training CA sea lions at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.  She thoroughly enjoys animal training and the process of creating such positive, trusting relationships with these animals.  She hopes to one day be employed at an aquarium working with animals for research, conservation, and education purposes.  In her free time, she enjoys hiking, camping, going to the beach, and other outdoor activities with her golden retriever/mix, Annie, hanging out on the couch with her cat, Sam, (both rescue pets) and spending time with her friends and family.



Kellie and Riley Roo

Kellie and Riley Roo

Kellie’s love for animals has been a driving force in her life. Her animal advocacy began at an early age when she would bring home abandoned cats for what she claimed would only be “one night.” One night often turned into forever, and thus a passion was fueled. Kellie brings over six years of combined experience working in a veterinary hospital as a kennel and veterinary assistant. She pursued a B.A. in Humanities at San Jose State University with the intention of becoming better equipped to make a greater impact on the work she is passionate about. Her free time is usually spent walking her dog (Riley Roo), running, reading, cooking, snuggling with her two cats (Rafi and Remi), and spending time with her fiance, great friends, and family.


Vanessa and Zooey

Vanessa and Zooey

Vanessa grew up in San Diego, CA. where she first stepped into the animal industry as a kennel attendant at a local dog daycare. She would monitor the social interactions between dogs in groups upwards of 50! She fell in love with the behavior and psychology of the canine world and hasn’t been able to keep herself from animals since. She has moved up to Santa Cruz as a UCSC transfer student, where she is studying the language of humans now, instead of canines. She is also excited to continue learning the medical aspect of animal care with the Capitola Veterinary Hospital. In her free time Vanessa likes to hike and explore the beautiful landscape of Santa Cruz.



Elissa rounds out our team as one of our client service representatives.  Born and raised in Santa Cruz, she has a natural love of the ocean and redwoods alike! Having grown up with animals, they have become her passion and she enjoys learning more about the veterinary field every day.  Elissa enjoys cooking, working out, and anything outdoors. She lives here in town with her Fiancé, Nick and two fur babies,  Baya and Owen.






Jessica began her veterinary career in 2013 at the SPCA of Monterey County Wildlife Center where she helped rehabilitate and release sick and injured wildlife. She continues her work in rehabilitation as a volunteer veterinary assistant at the Monterey Bay Aquarium where she works with wild sea otters as well as exhibit animals. She currently works at a specialty and emergency veterinary hospital in Monterey, CA and spends some time at Capitola Veterinary Hospital to get her “puppy and kitten” fix. When Jessica is not at work, she can be found hiking outside, in the yoga studio, or curled up on the couch with a new book and her rescue pup, Perry.