Story and Photo by Erin Myers, NewsNetNebraska
Finding a major that combines your hobbies and talents may seem too good to be true… but for Stephanie Smolek, she found her home with a double major in agricultural journalism and animal science.
“Horses have been a passion of mine since I was a little girl,” said Stephanie.
When she was nine, she moved to Battle Creek, Neb. so they could keep horses on their own land.
“I’m a daddy’s girl and I loved doing anything with him. Riding and training horses is very relaxing for me. Whenever I am stressed at school or mad for some reason, I will ride my horse, Blaze, to relax and think about things.”
Stephanie knows the benefits of riding horses first hand through therapeutic horseback riding. For the past eight years, she has worked with mentally disabled children and taught them how to interact with horses as well as ride them. “The biggest thing they gain is confidence. Riding is something they can excel in. It’s an experience where they don’t have to compete with their peers.”
Growing up in a country setting, Stephanie knew she wanted to continue the same themes at UNL. A summer internship landed her outside of Oklahoma City where she worked with the Pinto Horse Association of America Inc. and helped with their World Championship horse show.
After graduation, Stephanie hopes to work at an Equine magazine or in the communications department of an Equestrian Association, but adds, “I’m still open to new options and ideas as well.”