To mark Black History Month, The Woods Today is spotlighting our newest African-American faculty and staff, with each profile in their own words as told to Veronica Townsend.
As cheesy as it sounds, I landed my dream job of working at this prestigious school, William Woods University with a third of the population riding as the oldest equestrian school in the United States. I am an assistant professor of Equestrian Studies, specializing in Hunter/Jumpers. I believe the atmosphere at WWU is fun to be a part of as a professor.
Developing a passion for riding
I have always loved horses. I started riding at five and continued to ride at the only HBCU (Historically Black College/University) in the United States offering NCAA Equestrian, which is Delaware State University. Following my college career, I coached in South Dakota, Virginia and Delaware from a intercollegiate athletics aspect. When I was in Virginia, I started to teach in the classroom, and I enjoyed it. Once an opening occurred at WWU, I applied with excitement and have enjoyed every moment.
My presence boosts diversity in the field of equestrian on multiple levels. One, my physical presence brings hope and inspiration to children of color, especially young women of color; second, my personality; third, my story; fourth, my market ability, and lastly, my riding. The fact that I was a student athlete, coach, and now a professor gives me a unique ability and insight to be motivational. Diversity has been rarely advertised until now in the sport of equestrian. There were a lot of great horseman and women before me that made an impact in the industry. I hope my presence gives encouragement and hope for the next generations to follow.
Building a toolbox
My philosophy is to find new ways for equestrians to learn how to become better horsewomen and horsemen with an animal we both love so much. I was attracted to that and I feel there is so much to learn aside from sitting in the saddle for an hour and sitting in the classroom for an hour. WWU provides the hands-on experience and expands on that, providing students with the ability to do both. Students come out learning so much more. When they enter my classroom, I want them to walk in and take it as if I am someone else that they can learn from in the industry. I will add tools to their toolbox with the understanding that there is not just one way to do something. There are many ways. You have to have the tools to get the answers you are looking for. Horses are not machines or robots they have a mind of their own. Just because one way works with one horse, that does not mean it is going to work with all horses. When students leave my class, I want them to have another perspective they can later apply when needed. I love educating and making a difference in the lives of future equestrians. I hope that all will see my passion of teaching students how to be exceptional horsewomen and horsemen in the industry.