Students Stories: Agribusiness major not just horsing around

Studying at the University of Reading in England, working on a horse farm in Maryland and even attending an international championship for young horses in Germany is nothing extraordinary for Penn State's Lisa Rankin. With her major in Agribusiness Management and minor in Equine Science, she's giving new meaning to the phrase "horsing around."

"I've been working with horses my entire life, so when I applied to Penn State, I wanted to find a way to combine my education and my love of riding," said Rankin, who grew up in Lancaster, Pa. "The College of Agricultural Sciences offered me exactly what I was looking for -- the freedom to pursue my equine interests, while also establishing strong opportunities for myself by studying agribusiness.

"It's a great feeling knowing that whether I take my education internationally, attend law school or even establish my own horse farm, I have the tools to succeed."

Jockeying for a fresh perspective on organic agriculture, Rankin, who graduated from Penn State this spring, enrolled at the University of Reading. "Unlike America, England doesn't mass-produce organics," she said. "Instead, you find a lot of homegrown roadside stands there. The Brits are more willing to eat a mix of organic and nonorganic foods."

While there, Rankin visited Stonehenge, Oxford and Cambridge and even met up with members of the Penn State Dairy Science Club while they were touring Ireland. At Reading, she attended finance, marketing, food science and business-entrepreneurship classes.

"It really helped to round out my education," she said. "I even joined the rowing team and raced on the Thames River."

Rankin feels ready to take on a career.

"It's very rewarding to see how well my education has prepared me for training, marketing and even transporting horses," she said. "Experiences such as traveling to Germany, studying in England and working at the horse farm have left me with a much bigger picture of agriculture."

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Last Updated November 18, 2010