March 10, 2016

Animal sciences faculty member, student honored by American Society of Animal Sciences

ASAS Awards

Ellen Rankins, left, and Carolyn Huntington, were recently honored by the Southern Section of the American Society of Animal Scientists. They are pictured with Wayne Greene, animal sciences department head.

Carolyn Huntington, undergraduate program officer for the Department of Animal Sciences, and Ellen Rankins, a senior in equine science, were recognized by the American Society of Animal Sciences’ Southern Section during the group’s annual meeting in San Antonio in February.

Huntington, who oversees faculty advising, curriculum and teaching efforts for the department, received the Outstanding Young Animal Scientist – Education Award. Huntington joined Auburn’s animal sciences faculty in 2015 after eight years in a similar position with Mississippi State University. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri at Columbia and M.S. and B.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Wayne Greene, head of the animal sciences department, nominated Huntington for the award, citing the leadership she has shown since joining the department’s faculty.

“Out of all the young animal scientists that I have known focused on undergraduate education, Dr. Huntington stands out in her enthusiasm for undergraduate education, leadership in the classroom, mentoring/advising in the office and her overall genuine concern that students succeed,” Greene said.

Rankins was awarded third place in the association’s undergraduate research competition for her research project titled “The influence of a rider with a disability on the equine walk.” Working with Betsy Wagner, an associate professor in animal sciences, and Wendi Weimar, professor in the School of Kinesiology, Rankins examined kinematic variables including whether a horse carrying a rider with a disability had a wider stance width—the distance between the horse’s front feet when viewed from the front—and longer stance duration—the time the hoof is in contact with the ground. Her findings indicate that the presence of a rider with a disability does influence a horse’s movement pattern at a walk.

Rankins is certified as a therapeutic riding instructor by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International and has worked as such in multiple locations throughout the United States and Southeast Asia. The Cusseta, Alabama, native has maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout her undergraduate work in an academically rigorous major.

“Ellen is a scholar and leader with very strong character that will represent production agriculture well into the future,” Greene said.

“Our department is proud to be home to outstanding individuals like Dr. Huntington and Ellen,” Greene said. “They are certainly worthy of the honors they have received.”

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