Emily Wilson, D.V.M. – Vet
Ever since Emily’s first viewing of The Lion King at the young age of five, her interests have been primarily focused on lions and other big cats, with the ultimate goal of one day becoming a veterinarian. She accomplished that goal by completing her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in 2015.
Emily spent many of her summers during her undergraduate years at Lee McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina, and throughout vet school, working as an animal keeper at Tiger Haven. This big cat sanctuary in Kingston, TN is home to 300 lions, tigers, and other big cats. She also completed internships at the Conservators’ Center in North Carolina, as well as the Nashville Zoo. Emily has traveled to South Africa for a wildlife conservation internship in Hoedspruit, and a summer with a veterinarian in Lephalale. On these trips, she participated in everything from collecting data on lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and various hoofstock, to assisting with immobilization of antelope and rhinos for relocation and veterinary care.
Emily enjoys all aspects of exotic cat medicine, and is especially interested in cancer and neurologic diseases affecting these felines. During her training UTCVM, she was privileged to contribute to research sponsored by the National Institute of Health, which she looks forward to continuing.
In her free time, Emily enjoys hanging out with her dog, Lulu, taking pictures, drawing, and collecting rocks/gemstones. She is very happy to be a part of the In-Sync family!
Andrea – Curator
Andrea first came to In-Sync as a volunteer in 2009. We knew in the first four months that Andrea was going to be a great asset to In-Sync. Andrea used to volunteer with the Kids wheelchair Basketball as a coaching assistant. She has always loved working with her own cats and wanted someday to work with and learn all she could about big cats. Andrea learned very quickly and showed that she could be very dependable. In 2012 we were able to hire Andrea as a keeper and we are very fortunate to have her on our staff. Andrea loves to read and feels it’s one of the best ways of learning about the cats she now cares for. She also likes to make jewelry and can play three instruments. Andrea wants to someday work with the big cats in Africa; we hope now, she is here to stay!
Brett Mappes – Lead Keeper
Brett is native to Colorado and graduated with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado. Brett started off his career with rehabilitating raptors in Colorado. After that he travelled to Alaska where he studied climatic effects on Canada Jays including researching and tagging eagles. Brett also participated in programs such as capturing and collaring ungulates through the Rocky Mountains. Brett’s work with exotic cats started with an internship at a sanctuary Minnesota. Some of his hobbies typically include outdoor activities like camping, hiking and sports. Brett states, “I am excited to be a part of the In-Sync team and to give these cats the best home we can give them!”
Jennifer Hatch – Lead Keeper
Jennifer has always been drawn to animals, especially cats, reptiles, and raptors. Jennifer started volunteering in January 2016, and knew that she wanted to work with big cats in the future. Jennifer attends Tarrant County Collage and is working towards a degree in zoology. She was hired as a staff member in October 2016, and is very thankful for her opportunity to work with these majestic animals. She really likes learning everything she can to help out the cats. Jennifer enjoys being with nature, going on hikes, and camping. She loves to see wild things in their natural state. She wants to learn more about big cat species in the wild and hopes to see less harm to them all, one day.
Allison Dorshort – Keeper
Allison has always had a love and a deep bond for animals and knew she wanted to pursue a career fulfilling it from a very young age. Allison graduated from West Texas A&M University with a degree in Wildlife Biology. There, she volunteered with Texas Parks and Wildlife collecting data on turtles, turkey’s, horned lizards, frogs, etc. She was a part of the Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society and participated in many wildlife events. She also completed internships at other sanctuaries where she learned the components of caring for big cats. Allison is one of our lead feeders on Friday nights and is one of the few that is knowledgeable in feeding almost any cat in the facility. When she’s not working, Allison enjoys to be outdoors – hiking and camping. She currently resides in Dallas with her crested gecko, Chester.
Chelsea Stark – Keeper
Chelsea grew up with animals her whole life and knew from a young age she wanted to work with animals. She graduated from the University of Oregon with degrees in biology and anthropology. Chelsea has completed internships at other rescue facilities with big cats and rehab facilities that house a variety of species. Chelsea has always loved cats and was thrilled when she was given the opportunity to work with big cats at In-Sync Exotics. She loves learning everything she can about the cats and hopes to give them the best home she can. Chelsea is also on our feeding team on Thursday nights. In her spare time, Chelsea loves to read, go hiking and spend time with her two kittens, Milo and Sebastian.
Fabiana Meadows – Keeper
Fabiana Meadows was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She attended the University of Alaska, Fairbanks where she received her B.S. in Wildlife Biology and Conservation with a minor in Marine Science. During her schooling, she had the pleasure to volunteer at Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage in Zimbabwe for three weeks. To this day, this is her most cherished experience and what led her to pursue a career in animal care. Fabiana completed an internship in Minnesota where she spent six months working with rescued exotic felines and hybrids. She continued as Lead Intern and eventually was hired as a Seasonal Caretaker. Next, she pursued a Keeper position at In-Sync Exotics, where she currently lives with her rescued Bengal, Jazzy, and her boyfriend, Brett Mapes, who also works at ISE. Fabiana loves hiking, participating in aerial silks, and loves coffee.
Helen Fortman – Keeper
When Helen was young, she fell in love with big cats and decided she was going to work with them and help raise awareness about the issues they face. She has always loved animals and wanted to do whatever she could to give a voice to those who don’t have one. She first came to In-Sync in June of 2017 as an intern and after completing her degree in biology with an emphasis in ecology, evolution, and organisms from Western Washington University, she returned in March of 2019 as a keeper. She has worked with a variety of animals, including helping to train young horses. When Helen isn’t working, she loves playing guitar, singing, watching movies, and spending time with her chinchilla, Molly Toast.
Kyra Martakis – Keeper
Kyra was born and raised in New York, and received a degree in Wildlife Conservation & Management from Delaware Valley University in May 2017. Kyra was raised to love and care for all animals from a very young age and knew that was where her career path would lead her. After doing internships at various facilities, Kyra knew she wanted to work with big cats. In February 2018 she was offered a keeper position at In-Sync Exotics and was only too happy to accept. From her first day she completely fell in love with the cats and has enjoyed every day since. Kyra also acts as the staff representative for our team building program keeping our volunteers connected with our staff members. Kyra is also on the feeding team for the cats and helps to feed out bones every Sunday. When she’s not working Kyra enjoys reading, swimming and horseback riding as well as spending time with her friends and family and her own kitties at home.