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Jennifer Earing

Mentor Department



Michelle Kibler

Co-Mentor Department



According to the American Horse Council, the equine industry contributes approximately $50 billion annually to the United States economy and provides over 988,000 jobs across the country. In the Department of Agriculture at Illinois State University, the majority of students graduate with a full-time job in place. However, adding equine-related programming to the Department of Agriculture's curriculum would likely increase the percentage of students able to secure a full-time job prior to graduation. Student perspective is an important aspect when evaluating the possibility of adding another sequence to the university catalog. Potential classes within this sequence may include equine nutrition, equine business management or a beginner level riding course. The purpose of this study is to determine what current students with an equine interest at Illinois State University would like to see in an equine program. Data will be collected from equine enthused students via surveys. Areas of investigation may include previous equine experience, career goals, and desired coursework and facilities for an equine program. Expected outcomes from the data collection include the need for hands-on labs, basic equine management courses, and opportunities to job shadow industry professionals. Results from this study will greatly aid in the development and implementation of an equine program at Illinois State University. Furthermore, this study may also highlight the university's need for facilities to supplement coursework with hands-on lab experiences. Incorporating an equine program at Illinois State University would create a more diverse educational experience for students within the department. This diversity would facilitate the development of well-rounded students, as well as provide experiences students can utilize in careers post-graduation.

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