Because she grew up in Rochester, New York, Lisa Streff knows about dealing with snow. She also cares about horses. In a combination of those traits, she found the fortitude to move to UConn in the middle of the winter in order to be the new animal science horse unit supervisor and academic assistant. Here is what she said in an interview.
Where did you get your degrees? I received a BS from Delaware Valley University (Doylestown, Pennsylvania) in equine science. My MS in animal science came from Colorado State University.
What did you do before you came to UConn? I took a year off after getting my undergraduate degree and worked in a commercial standardbred breeding facility.
After graduate school, I worked at Virginia Tech for four years as the manager of their undergraduate equine program. However, I was very interested in moving to a position in which I would be able to teach more while still managing horses. When the horse unit supervisor position opened at UConn it seemed like the perfect fit for me. I started at UConn on January 15, 2019.
What will your work here at UConn focus on? I am responsible for managing the health and well-being of the horses that are used in the undergraduate teaching program. I have also been able to jump right into teaching.
This past semester, I taught a light horse training class where the students are assigned young horses that they work with in everything from the basics of halter training through getting the horses to be ridden under a saddle. In addition, I taught the skills and equine management class as well as some independent study students. I am happy to have more of a teaching responsibility than I had in my past job.
In the future, I hope to support the development of the equine teaching, research and extension programs as a whole.
Name some aspects of your work that you really like. I love being able to work with students in a hands-on setting. It is vital to their knowledge and skill set, and I am glad we have the facilities to do that. In the light horse training class, for example, the students came in with a variety of experience with horses. Some of them learned for the first time that horses are forgiving, and they eventually give the right response to the trainer. I saw students develop many skills while they were in my class.
In addition, I like the style of leadership here and that other faculty members are willing to work as a team. One stormy day, I was impressed with the dedication of the staff who braved the snow and showed up at the barn to care for the horses.
Because of my background in the field of reproduction, I love the breeding work here on campus and having the students observe the process. Horses are bred here, born here and put into our riding program. It is amazing!
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? I have a 22-year-old thoroughbred that has traveled all over the country with me as I moved from place-to-place. I also have a pony in New York. I will always be riding, and I hope to be back in the show ring someday.
My husband and I like weekend trips. Also, we are looking to buy a house in the area where we can build a small farm. I am lucky that he supports me in my crazy career with horses.
By Patsy Evans