A traditional internship experience usually consists of part-time work with an accumulation of three or four credit hours. Equine major Rachel Draper didn’t want the traditional experience, she wanted more.
Draper recently concluded a full-time, 12-credit independent study semester interning at Camp Jewell YMCA Outdoor Center in Colebrook, CT. During the extensive internship the senior worked in the horseback riding program, conducted research for her Capstone Project and evaluated certain aspects of the camp’s management structure.
“Being able to combine what I’ve learned at Post with the real world experience at Camp Jewell was incredible,” she said. “I’m excited to take everything I learned back into the classroom, because so much was relevant to what we’re doing in the Equine Program.”
During her independent study semester, Draper also took the time to prepare for and take the American Riding Instructor Certification Program (ARICP) testing. Draper passed the exam and is now an ARICP Certified Instructor for beginner level dressage and stable management.
“I knew acquiring this certification would be a huge plus for my resume and a big step forward in my equine career,” she said.
Draper’s experience and her certificate is already paying dividends, helping her secure a position at The Glenholme School, a special needs therapeutic boarding school in Washington, CT.
“It’s been my dream, and my career path thus far, to be a horseback riding instructor,” she said. “Working at the school and being able to teach private horseback lessons is what I’ve always wanted to do.”
Her work study experience is helping in the classroom as well, as she’s noticed many correlations between the textbook and the workplace and been able to apply the real-world application to her academic program.
“I’m taking a lot of business-related courses this semester and, as I’ve started to study for these courses, it’s been so much easier to understand the concepts involved,” she said.
It was hard work, and above and beyond the normal requirements, but Draper said her internship was an experience she’ll savor for a lifetime and an opportunity that gave her the tools to pursue her career dreams.
“This internship experience really rounded off my previous years of college experience,” she said. “I felt like I had something to apply my knowledge to when I was at work, and it cemented my desire to be a riding instructor. I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world.”