Monday, May 13, 2013

Randolph College adds new equine studies minor

When Chris Mitchell left Cornell University to become Randolph College’s director of riding, he called a talented rider he knew and encouraged her to attend Randolph. Meaghan Hynes ’16 listened to his invitation, toured campus and the Riding Center, and decided Randolph was the perfect fit. During the process, she told Mitchell about her desire to prepare for a career in the equine industry.

“I have found a home with horses. They are how I want to spend the rest of my life,” said Hynes, who has been riding for 15 years. “I plan on working with horses as a career.”

Meaghan Hynes '16 in competition
Hynes was excited to learn that a new program at Randolph College will help her meet that goal. The College will add a minor in equine studies in the fall of 2013. As soon as she learned, Hynes called Mitchell to find out how to add the minor, one of few equine studies programs in Virginia.

“It’s going to give me a step up,” said Hynes, who plans to double major in biology and sport and exercise studies. “This is going to give me a solid educational foundation.”

The new minor was created in response to an increase in requests by prospective students and current Randolph students and riders like Hynes. In 2011, several staff and faculty members began to design the program. Mitchell added his perspective when he joined the college in the fall of 2012. Randolph faculty members officially approved the program last week.

The program offers new classes on equine studies and veterinary care and also includes existing classes in biology, zoology, business, and economics. Students minoring in equine studies will be required to complete internships related to their particular interests. The equine studies minor will serve students interested in becoming veterinarians, horse trainers, barn managers, or other equine professionals—or even those who want to develop skills helpful in horse ownership and care.

This addition of the program will give new opportunities to students in the College’s strong pre-veterinary program, said Doug Shedd, the Catherine Ehrman Thoresen `23 and William E. Thoresen Professor of Biology. “Randolph College trains students for vet schools around the world, and many of those students also are riders,” he said. “The new equine studies minor will give these students the opportunity to greatly enhance their pre-vet experience and to develop skills that will be of use should they choose to go into equine-related areas of veterinary medicine, research, or business.”
It’s going to give me a step up. This is going to give me a solid educational foundation.
— Meaghan Hynes ’16

Amanda Rumore, biology professor will lead the new minor. In addition to recently earning a Ph.D. in biological sciences from Virginia Tech, Rumore is a lifelong equestrian who has competed in the hunter/jumper class.

“Horses are a passion not only for me, but also for many of my students,” Rumore said. “I am just delighted to be able to help them integrate this passion into their academic and career pursuits.”

The equine studies minor is one of several recent additions to the College’s academic program, which offers students more opportunities than ever before. “We see this as one of the profoundly positive outcomes of a strong strategic planning process that seeks to assure the continued success of the College,” said Carl Girelli, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College. “This new minor honors a long tradition of equestrian programming at Randolph College and provides students an interdisciplinary academic program that will enrich their lives.”

Randolph already has seen interest in the new program from prospective students. “There are lots of students who have a lifelong interest in horses, and who will welcome being able to add it to their studies,” said Michael Quinn, vice president of enrollment management. “The new equine studies minor will enable students to deepen their interest in the equine field.”

Hynes looks forward not only to minoring in equine studies, but meeting new students who will join the program. “The riders coming in are interested in furthering their education in any way about horses. This is going to help them with whatever they want to do,” Hynes said.