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Davis College student wins national equine media award

A West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design student received national recognition for her work in equine photography. 

Reagan Smollen on a horse

Reagan Smollen, an animal and nutritional sciences major and equine studies minor, won the American Horse Publications 2022 Equine Media Student Award. 

“I picked up my first camera when I was eight because my dad was interested in photography. He really helped me realize that I loved it,” she said.  

Smollen started riding at age 10 and continued throughout high school while taking photography courses.  

Now, at WVU, she rides with the English Equestrian Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Team and the Western Equestrian Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Team

Smollen worked with the JW Ruby Research Farm in Reedsville to make a promotional video and did photography for various companies. She also became the director of communication for the WVU Collegiate Horsemen’s Association, managing the club’s Instagram and Facebook accounts. 

Photo by Reagan Smollen. Student caring for horse.

“I put a lot of time and passion into photography and being recognized at such a high level for the work I’ve been doing is just really rewarding,” Smollen said. 

As one of two contenders for the award, she received $1,000 toward attending the 2022 American Horse Publications Back to the Bluegrass Conference in Lexington, Kentucky, on May 12-14, where she spent three days learning from and networking with equine media professionals. After final interviews, Smollen was awarded the American Horse Publications Equine Media Student Award with a cash prize of $1,000. 

“I was exposed to career opportunities and different career paths within the industry,” she said. “I also got to attend seminars which helped me gain more knowledge about photography and media and other ways that I can improve my own work.” 

Reagan Smollen with her award.

What was most exciting for her were two fall internship opportunities she received from attending the conference. 

"Beyond college, I'm still looking to see what all is out there and possible career paths,” Smollen said. “I would love to be involved in social media and marketing in the equine industry, where I can show my passion for photography, design and animal science.” 

The American Horse Publications is a professional membership association of over 400 equine media, professionals, related associations and businesses. The Student Award Program is used to promote awareness of the career opportunities in the field available to students. 

CONTACT: Leah Smith 
Interim Director of Marketing and Communications  
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design