Equine undergraduates win USA internships

Two Reaseheath equine science undergraduates have won prestigious internships in the USA.

Michelle Hand and Zoe Greenwood have both been awarded the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) competitive internship to go to Virginia Tech’s Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension (MARE Center).

The MARE Center is a 420 acre equine research and education facility in Middleburg, Virginia – the heart of horse country in the USA.  The three month internship will allow our undergraduates to develop research and academic skills in a practical, hands-on, environment.

The programme, which focuses on optimising horse and environmental health, is designed to prepare students for careers in the equine industry, academia or veterinary science by applying classroom knowledge in a ‘real world’ context.

Looking forward to their internships: Michelle Hand and Zoe Greenwood

Looking forward to their internships: Michelle Hand and Zoe Greenwood

It is the first time in the history of the internship that it has been awarded to two candidates, with judges feeling that both were equally worthy.

Michelle and Zoe are following in the footsteps of first class equine science graduate Charlotte Woolley, who won the internship in 2014 during her final year with us. Charlotte is now studying for an MSc in Animal Biosciences, and will start a PhD in Clinical Veterinary Sciences in September, both at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh.

Michelle and Zoe, both 21, are due to complete their BSc (Hons) Degrees in Equine Science this summer and are confident that their internships will boost their career prospects as well as giving them a unique insight into an acclaimed international programme. As interns, they will be involved in the advancement of equine research in reproduction and breeding in the Sport Horse and Thoroughbred industries, and in nutritional management and health, exercise physiology and land stewardship.

To qualify for this valuable opportunity, both undergraduates wrote 3,000 word essays on subjects involving the health and welfare of equines. Michelle, who wants to become an equine journalist specialising in horse care and veterinary issues for the leisure owner, chose the indiscriminate breeding of horses as her subject.

Zoe, who is considering a future career in research, wrote her report on internal parasite burdens in young horses and how it affects their health in later life.

Both students, who came to Reaseheath after ‘A’ level studies, were shortlisted and interviewed by a judging panel consisting of Prof Graham Suggett OBE (former Director National Equine Database, former BEF Director of Equine Development and Principal Emeritus Warwickshire College), Dr Georgina Crossman (BEF Research Consultant) and Dr Bridgett McIntosh (MAREC) via Skype.

Dr Crossman commented: “Michelle and Zoe were both outstanding candidates with unique qualities who we felt would equally benefit from the internship. We hope they enjoy the summer with Dr McIntosh and the rest of the team at the MAREC, and look forward to reading about their experiences and the way the internship has influenced their future upon the submission of their reports when they return.”

Michelle said: “This will be an amazing opportunity for us to learn alongside acknowledged experts and to gain practical skills working with some fantastic horses. We’re both really excited about the trip!”

Keep updated with Michelle and Zoe during their internship experience via our HE blog site here.

Header picture caption: Celebrating winning their internships: Michelle Hand and Zoe Greenwood are joined by Professor Graham Suggett, Dr Georgina Crossman and Charlotte Woolley