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Annual career fair unites college students, equine industry

The 2013 UK Equine Career and Opportunity Fair had more than 220 student participants.

PHOTO:
Lexington, Ky.

The University of Kentucky Ag Equine Programs will host its sixth annual UK Equine Career and Opportunity Fair from 4:30 to 7 p.m. EST March 4 at Spindletop Hall in Lexington.

The free event provides college students the chance to meet prospective equine industry employers and to learn about potential volunteer, internship and part-time and full-time employment opportunities. In addition to booths from area equine businesses, attendees can participate in sessions led by industry professionals, who will offer tips and one-on-one career advice. New this year, participants will also have the opportunity to meet local boarding facilities and trainers.

“This year’s fair will be the biggest and best one yet. In years past, this has been an excellent event for students to connect with industry organizations. We had more than 220 students attend last year alone,” said Elizabeth LaBonty, lecturer and internship coordinator in UK’s Equine Science and Management undergraduate degree program. LaBonty’s equine careers class is planning the event.

“This year we have expanded it to include associations students can join for networking purposes, barns that are student friendly and trainers who offer riding lessons,” she said. “What makes this event so special is that it is student-initiated, student-driven and student-planned. We have 13 students hard at work, and it’s exciting to watch them work, hear their ideas and see it all come together.”

Informational sessions will allow participants to explore opportunities related to pharmaceutical sales, graduate school and jobs within the Thoroughbred industry. Food and drinks will also be provided, as will a shuttle service to and from campus for UK students.

“Being a part of the 2014 Equine Career and Opportunity Fair is such an awesome experience. It's really fun to learn what actually goes into planning an event. I have attended the fair in the past and made a lot of new connections by doing so,” said Courtney Schneider, a junior equine major from Frankfort. “This year we hope to make it bigger and better than ever before.”

Another student in the class, Morgan Reece, a freshman equine major on a pre-vet path from North Vernon, Ind., echoed those sentiments.

“I am excited for the fair, because it has evolved into this event that offers students a variety of opportunities. The fair is so different than anything that I have had the chance to help plan. It is amazing to think that I can help bring all of these people together in one event to help us all out,” she said.

Confirmed participants include Central Kentucky Riding For Hope, Darley Flying Start Program, Gluck Equine Research Center, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Keeneland, Kentucky Equine Management Internship, Kentucky Equine Humane Center, Kentucky Horse Park, Kentucky Horseshoeing School, Kentucky Quarter Horse Association, Life Adventure Center of the Bluegrass, Makers Mark Secretariat Center, New Vocations, North American Racing Academy, Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, UK Ag Equine Programs, UK Animal and Food Science Graduate Association and the United States Equestrian Federation.

Students and potential employers who would like more information about the UK Equine Career and Opportunity Fair may contact Elizabeth LaBonty at 859-257-2226 or email equine@uky.edu. There is also an event Facebook page, University of Kentucky Equine Career Fair, which provides up-to-date information. For more information about UK Ag Equine Programs, visit http://www2.ca.uky.edu/equine/.

Contact: 

Elizabeth LaBonty or Holly Wiemers, 859-257-2226

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