HACKETTSTOWN, NJ, (Warren County) — For Hailey Armstrong, presenting her undergraduate research project at the annual Equine Science Society Symposium sponsored by Texas A&M University in June was an important stepping stone to veterinary school.
Over two academic years, the animal health major at Centenary University worked closely with faculty to plan, conduct research, and analyze data for the project, which measured the effects of diet on fecal pH in horses.
A resident of Muncy, Pa., Armstrong chose Centenary University for its highly-respected equine academic programs and riding teams. Once on campus, she was excited to learn that the University’s graduates have an impressive track record for acceptance into competitive veterinary schools. She has thrived on Centenary’s small campus, where she interacts frequently with Centenary faculty in classrooms and at the Centenary University Equestrian Center.
“When applying to colleges, I was looking for a smaller, more personalized environment,” said Armstrong, who is also minoring in biology.
“Here, I’m not a number in the classroom. The faculty really get to know every student and help us to reach our goals,” Armstrong said.
Working closely with Centenary faculty, Armstrong began gathering background information on her research project during the fall of her sophomore year. Since she was interested in studying the intestinal tract of horses, she collaborated with Professor of Equine Science Lynn Taylor, Ph.D., an expert in equine nutrition, and Jesslyn Bryk-Lucy, DVM, assistant professor of equine studies and the University’s resident veterinarian.
After nearly a year of planning and preliminary research, Armstrong conducted her study at the Centenary Equestrian Center over four days in summer 2022. During the fall semester, she analyzed her data with Assistant Professor of Mathematics Linda Ritchie and began to compile her final presentation.
A member of the Centenary University Honors Program, Armstrong first had the opportunity to present her research—which satisfied requirements for her Honors Program capstone project—at this year’s Undergraduate Research Symposium on campus.
Then, she traveled to Texas to present her findings to industry professionals, including representatives of veterinary schools and the equine nutrition industry.
As she begins senior year, Armstrong is putting the finishing touches on her veterinary school applications. In addition to her research experience, she’s strengthened her applications through involvement with lots of campus organizations, including riding on the University’s IHSA team, as well as working at two veterinary clinics.
Reflecting on her trip to Texas, Armstrong said, “It was a great opportunity to present at the conference and connect with professors from veterinary schools and equine food representatives. I met professors from several veterinary schools, including Ohio State—one of my top choices.”