Please note: We will be closed from Saturday, December 24th – Monday, December 26th, in observance of Christmas!

Our People

Get to know the amazing team at Mountain Star Veterinary Specialists and why we love what we do so much.

Get to know our veterinary team

Dr Matthew Chavkin

Board Certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist

For Dr Matt Chavkin, each day is an opportunity to ease the suffering of pets and the families who care about them.

He gets immense joy from dogs who can once again chase squirrels or hike their favorite trails. Or from cats who have returned to their favorite perch to watch cars pass along the street.

Pets and their people love Dr Chavkin’s calm demeanor. A key component of his stress-free style is minimizing the separation of animals and their humans.

He founded and managed the Ophthalmology Service at VRCC, where he practiced from 1994 to 2015. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, serves as affiliate faculty in CSU’s teaching hospital, and is a communication coach for 3rd-year veterinary students.

Dr Chavkin completed his BA at Pomona College (86), received his DVM at Cornell University (90), and internship and ophthalmology residency at Colorado State University (94). He lives in Denver with Theresa Peña, his wife of 30 years. They have two grown children, Maya and Ryan; and two dogs, Georgie and Katie. Dr Chavkin’s active weekends include sailing, hiking, and appreciating rock art/dwellings.

Dr Jackie Diamond

Board Certified Veterinary Dermatologist

Dr Jackie Diamond loves getting to know clients and their pets. She takes time to address clients’ concerns and answer their questions. She considers an honest dialogue an important part of establishing client expectations for care and building lasting relationships. Clients love her empathy, compassion, and how she prioritizes patient comfort.

Dr Diamond understands that her patients are often uncomfortable and could be suffering from their skin issues. Her goal is to provide immediate relief and ensure lasting support for pets. That’s why she enjoys dermatology, because she is able to make a difference in their quality of life.

During her undergrad, Dr Diamond volunteered with an Italian Greyhound rescue. She noticed the high number of dogs who were surrendered for preventable diseases. That experience led her to become a veterinarian.

She attended Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. After graduation, she completed a rotating internship at California Veterinary Specialists. She then completed a dermatology residency in Georgia. Dr Diamond is Fear Free certified and specializes in laser surgery.

When not working, she provides continuing education for veterinarians in her area. She loves all outdoor activities, especially paddle boarding, bike riding, and snowboarding. Dr Diamond shares her home (and bed) with Saul and Dottie, her two Italian Greyhounds.

Laurie Simmons

Laurie Simmons

Hospital Manager

Laurie’s passion is for providing amazing care for patients and clients. She enjoys working with a motivated team of animal lovers, teachers, and caretakers. Laurie believes in supporting the growth of her team members. She sees each person’s potential and then provides them the support, experience, and resources they need to get to where they want to be.

Clients appreciate Laurie’s patience, passion, and experience. She brings a wealth of knowledge to Mountain Star. She began her career in the veterinary field as a Client Service Representative, before working up to hospital manager. Once she learned about specialty medicine for pets, she wanted to expand her knowledge of patient and client care. This led her to go work for a large specialty and emergency hospital for over a decade. She specialized in the Surgery and Orthopedics Department before moving up to a leadership position.

Originally from Ohio and Virginia, Laurie grew up around all types of animals, including horses, dogs, cats, reptiles, birds, and rabbits. She helped raise and train Arabian horses during her childhood; as a teenager, she showed Arabian horses and gave riding lessons. She moved to Colorado to pursue her career in the veterinary field.

If she’s not spending time with her family, Laurie is usually outdoors hiking, biking, or doing yoga. She also enjoys attending concerts, trying out new restaurants, and watching television. Her family dogs are best friends Kyuss, a Mini American Shepherd, and Jilly, a Pug.

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Michelle Pena

Front Desk Manager

Michelle treasures the relationships she builds with clients and pets. Clients appreciate that she is empathetic and thorough. She listens to clients’ needs, answers their questions, and follows up with clients after the appointment.
Michelle makes patient comfort her top priority. She reads each pet’s body language and adjusts her approach to make them feel safe. She ensures that each pet’s unique needs are met. Michelle appreciates Mountain Star’s commitment to pets and people.

Michelle has experience as an Ophthalmology, Dermatology, and Surgery Client Care Coordinator. She has also completed courses on Client Care and Practice Administration to help her better serve clients.

She received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She also has a Certificate in Veterinary Administration from AAHA/Purdue. When not working, Michelle can be found outdoors, biking, snowboarding, and kickboxing.

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Ashton Garcia

Veterinary Technician

Ashton enjoys working with clients and doctors to help provide the best care for pets. She explains things to clients in an easy-to-understand way; she collaborates with clients so they can be involved in their pets’ care. Clients appreciate her knowledge, empathy, and individualized care.

Ashton brings experience in specialty medicine and ophthalmology to Mountain Star. She is proficient in assisting in surgery, anesthetic monitoring, and preparing animals for surgery. Her love of animals is apparent in everything she does and helps her form lasting bonds with clients and patients.

She shares her home with her pets: Reed, a mixed breed dog whom Ashton nursed back to health; and JoJo and Scotty Pippen (Pippen), her two loveable cats. She attended Bel-Rea Veterinary Institute of Animal Technology. Outside of work, Ashton loves to read true crime books, cook, and bake specialty cupcakes.

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Brittney Chamberlain

Veterinary Technician

Brittney is an advocate for all pets because she understands how stressful and scary a vet visit can be. She is patient and enjoys taking time at the beginning of the appointment to get to know the client and their pets. She wants clients to feel heard and understood, so she practices active listening. Brittney believes in collaboration, so she wants clients to feel involved with the entire process of their pet’s visit.

Brittney also enjoys educating clients about how to help their pets live longer, happier lives. She advises clients on how they can help prepare their pet for vet appointments, such as handling pets at home. She also teaches them about the importance of routine exams and lab work. Brittney attends Fear Free seminars and loves to continually learn about updates in the veterinary field.

Brittney attended Lassen Community College, where she received an Associate’s Degree in Natural Sciences. She also has a Veterinary Technology degree from Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology. Currently, she attends Metropolitan State University of Denver, where she is studying Biology and Environmental Science. She was raised in FFA, and that helped her gain experience in public speaking as well as animal care.

When not working, she loves to read. When the weather is nice, she spends time camping, paddle boarding, and biking. She loves to take her two dogs, Annie (Dalmatian mix) and Juniper (Goldendoodle) to the dog park as well. Her other pet is Petrie, a Leopard Gecko.

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Sarah Tooley

Veterinary Technician

Sarah enjoys meeting clients and their pets, and educating clients about their pets’ diagnoses and care. She specializes in ophthalmology. Clients appreciate that Sarah is knowledgeable, transparent, and that she listens to all their concerns. She collaborates with clients to help ensure their pets get the best care.

Sarah enjoys nurturing the human/animal bond. She uses Fear Free techniques when handling patients so that they feel comfortable during their treatment. Sarah attends continuing education courses for ophthalmology, anesthesia, and interpersonal relationships so that she can improve her skills.

Sarah attended community college in West Virginia, where she received her associate’s degree in Applied Science/Veterinary Technology. She loves to attend live music concerts, travel, and spend time with Pickles, her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

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Tori Davis

Veterinary Technician

Bio coming soon!

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Susan Kim

Veterinary Technician / Inventory Manager

Susan is a Fear Free certified technician who loves caring for patients who come into the hospital. Clients appreciate that Susan takes the time to answer their questions and educate them. Susan wants clients to feel empowered and involved in their pets’ care. Her calmness and patience help pets feel more comfortable as well.

Susan has a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She keeps her skills current by attending CE lectures and classes. She also loves learning on the job so she can provide the best possible care.

When not working, Susan loves snowboarding and painting. She shares her home with her Coonhound mix, Cooper; two cats: Henry, a tabby, and Diamond, a tuxedo cat; and Barney, a Betta fish.

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Jane Cady

Client Service Coordinator

Jane’s commitment to clients and patients begins from the very first phone call. She wants people and their pets to feel welcome, safe and understood when visiting Mountain Star. Jane loves getting to know each individual patient and creating lasting relationships with them. She believes this will allow her, and the team, to best address each pet’s needs and each client’s concerns.

Jane holds a BA from Bowdoin College and lived on the coast of Maine in the town of Belfast for over 20 years, raising her kids and working as a technician in the town of Northport. A native Denverite, she returned in 2018 and entered the specialty medicine field as a coordinator for a local Surgery and Orthopedics Department.

Jane falls in love with every dog she meets but has a special place in her heart for mixed breeds. She’s happy to be back in Colorado, where – if she isn’t playing with her crew of short, stumpy-legged dogs and her tripod cat – she is exploring the Front Range on her bike.

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Mandy Hess

Client Service Coordinator

Mandy strives to make sure that clients are well-informed so they can work with the doctor during their pet’s visit. She believes in collaboration and takes time to answer client questions. Mandy has over fourteen years of experience in the veterinary field, including experience in emergency, dentistry, and ophthalmology specialists.

Because veterinary clinics can be scary places for pets, Mandy works to help pets feel comfortable when they visit. She provides treats, a safe place for pets to acclimate, and support to nervous pets. Her goal is for pets to feel safe while at Mountain Star. She is working on becoming Fear Free certified.

Mandy has a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts. When not helping animals at Mountain Star, she can be found working at her wedding floral business, or spending time with her family: husband, son, two dogs, and cat. No matter the temperature, she will always have an iced coffee.