Giddy up: Newly formed equine alumni group looks forward to continued growth

The Equine Alumni Affiliate Program Group is one of the newest official affiliates of the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society. Credit: Penn State / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Equine Alumni Affiliate Program Group is one of the newest official affiliates of the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society. The group said it is looking forward to continued growth as more and more alumni of the University's equine science program join its network.

A conversation between Justene Testa, a 2014 animal science graduate, and Cayce Miller, a 2010 animal science graduate, sparked the initial discussion about an alumni group for the equine science program.

"We wanted to come up with a way to give back to the part of Penn State that means the most to us — the equine program," Testa said. "Many of the other programs in the animal science department have support from similar groups, so why not us?

"We wanted to create a place where alumni can network with other alumni in the industry as well as with current students in the college and have a platform to stay updated on various equine events," Miller added. "More importantly, we wanted to have a way to give back and support the equine research team, judging teams and the horse farm's Studebaker Endowment."

Fittingly, Miller and Testa are the society's newly elected president and vice president, respectively. According to Miller, more than 250 people connected on Facebook to show interest before the Ag Alumni Society board of directors officially approved the equine affiliate group.

The Penn State Equine Alumni Affiliate Program Group is looking forward to continued growth. Credit: Penn State / Penn StateCreative Commons

Brian Egan, assistant teaching professor and horse farm coordinator, noted that the group's goal is to be as inclusive as possible.

"We all want to do what's best for the program and gain as much support as we can," he said.

Membership in the group can be attained in several ways. Anyone who has been a part of the equine science minor — or even just took equine classes — is eligible to join the society, but that is not a limiting factor. Alumni who were part of any of the University's equestrian teams or clubs or who worked at the horse barn also are entitled to be members of the equine alumni group.

Past and present faculty and staff in the college are invited to join as well. Finally, there will be a small number of elected associate members, consisting of people who have done a lot for the equine science program but may not be Penn State graduates.

Starting in 2019, members will pay $20 annual dues to the society. This money will be used to help get the group off the ground, including purchasing supplies for coming fundraisers and events. Eventually, Miller and Testa would like to create a scholarship supported by the society.

"We want to be a place for students and alumni alike to gain valuable industry contacts, but also to give alumni a reason to come back and bring their real-life experiences back to Penn State," Miller said.

The society's next big event and next general membership meeting will be held Nov. 24, in conjunction with the Ag Live Alumni and Friends Tailgate before the Penn State vs. Maryland football game. Two hours prior to kickoff, a brief meeting will be held on the Snider Agricultural Arena mezzanine. Anyone interested in attending the meeting must email Miller and be placed on a list. Otherwise, there will be a cost to attend as there is a preregistration fee for the Ag Live tailgate.

For more information about the society, or to become a member, connect to the group's Facebook page and click the "sign up" button to join the email list. Questions can also be directed to Miller at or Testa at   

Last Updated December 05, 2018