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MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Jeff Skousen, professor of soil science in the West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, NaturalResources and Design and land reclamation specialist for WVU Extension Service, was recently selected as a recipient of the Soil Science Applied Research Award by the Soil Science Society of America.

Read More: Land reclamation specialist and researcher receives national soil science award

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Inspired by color, West Virginia University interior design alumna Kasey Helmick designed a center for individuals with cognitive disabilities which would help them lead more fulfilling lives.

Read More: WVU Interior design graduate selected as a finalist for national design competition

This summer, six West Virginia University students got an inside look at the Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing industries during an intensive, week-long travel course offered by the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design. Students participating in Racehorse Industry Tour course

Designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the horse racing industry, the Racehorse Industry Tour gave students the opportunity to visit breeding farms, sales facilities, race tracks, veterinary hospitals and connect with WVU alumni working in the industry.

“This course gives students a behind-the-scenes look at the industry, the job opportunities within it, and allows them to network with industry professionals,” said Crystal Smith, teaching associate professor of animal and nutritional sciences. “Meeting WVU equine studies alumni who work at some of the best farms in the country allows current students to ask candid questions, gain valuable advice on skills needed to be marketable, and helps them realize a career in the industry is attainable if they have the work ethic and passion.”

Beginning at a large-scale breeding and racing facility in Pennsylvania and ending at the prestigious Churchill Downs in Kentucky, the tour allowed students to learn more about internship and employment opportunities within the industry.

“On this trip, we met with internship program coordinators and were given the opportunity to ask questions and get a better idea of what it takes to get in and what they’re looking for in their interns,” said Samantha Osborne, a senior animal and nutritional sciences major from Walkersville. “If I hadn’t gone on this trip, I might not know about the variety of jobs available in the industry.”

Highlights of the trip included learning about stallion management from one of the first female stallion managers in the industry, a tour of Keeneland which is home to America’s largest sales company specializing in Thoroughbreds, and watching horse races at Churchill Downs.

“Watching the races added a whole new perspective to what the trainers, jockeys and farm staff do to get the horses to where they are,” said Jill Eberlein, a junior marketing major from Staten Island, New York.

Read More: Equine Studies students participate in multi-state tour of the horse racing industry

West Virginia University’s chapter of the Collegiate Horsemen’s Association recently raised $800 for equine disaster relief and captured first place in the American Collegiate Horsemen’s Association inaugural philanthropy challenge.

Read More: WVU Collegiate Horsemen's Association raises funds for equine disaster relief