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Centenary University senior presents independent research, leading to acceptance by prestigious veterinary school

Working closely with the University’s equine faculty, Bushkill native Brianna Soule designed and conducted research on water intake in horses.

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County) — Growing up, Brianna Soule always loved horses. But she never had the opportunity to ride or work directly with them.

That changed when she enrolled at Centenary University four years ago. Today, the Bushkill, Pa., native who now resides in Budd Lake, is poised to graduate from Centenary in May with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Health: Equine Pre-Vet and plans to attend Midwestern University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in September.

“I’ve been interested in horses for my whole life, but never had the opportunity to do much with them before college,” said Soule, a member of the Centenary University Honors Program. “Once at Centenary, I just dove head first into equine studies.”

The University’s small class sizes allowed Soule to get to know her professors and other equine professionals at Centenary’s Equestrian Center in Washington Township, N.J., paving the way early on for her to conduct independent research on possible ways to prevent colic, which can be deadly in horses.

Working closely with faculty and the University’s resident veterinarian, Jesslyn Bryk-Lucy, DVM, Soule studied the effects of flavored water on fluid intake of hydrated, non-hospitalized horses. After designing the study, Soule spent more than 100 hours collecting and analyzing data to measure water consumption and horses’ preferences for two flavorings, sweet feed or banana.

While her research confirmed a trend showing that some individual horses may drink more flavored waters—especially sweet feed—the practice did not show a statistically significant difference in the water intake. Soule had the opportunity to present her findings to several professional societies, as well as at last year’s Centenary University Academic Symposium.

The research proved to be a springboard into veterinary school for Soule. “I think this research definitely set my application apart,” explained Soule, who is also minoring in biology.

“A lot of students at larger universities don’t have the opportunity to do undergraduate research. At Centenary, you get to form close, one-on-one relationships with your professors. When you’re applying to vet school, everyone has good academics and participates in extracurricular activities. Not a lot of students get to design and carry out their own research study,” Soule said.

Soule also made the most of her time at Centenary as a member of the University’s IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association) team, placing fifth last year in the team introductory equitation on the flat event at IHSA nationals. As a sophomore, she also volunteered with Centenary University TRAC (Therapeutic Riding at Centenary), an accredited adaptive riding program for special needs children and adults, as well as veterans.

“Through TRAC, I got to share my awesome love for horses with my mom and dad,” said Soule, adding that her father is a veteran and her mother is disabled due to a hemorrhagic stroke that occurred during childbirth.

Looking forward to vet school, and eventually, a career as an equine/large animal vet, Soule said, “The equine program at Centenary is fantastic. I’ve learned so much from my professors, my riding instructors, and Dr. Bryk-Lucy. I’ve had a great experience at Centenary.”

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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