AFS’s Christine Rudd receives series of national teaching, research awards
By: Norman Martin
Texas Tech Department of Animal & Food Sciences' Christine Rudd is having a good year. The talented doctoral candidate from New Jersey received a national North American College Teachers of Agriculture Graduate Student Teaching Award, Texas Tech's Graduate School Student Research Support Award, and a national Animal Behavior Society Student Research Grant in early 2023.
“I'm so excited to receive confirmation that the subset of welfare I'm interested in, horse affect and how it can impact the horse's ability to perform and remain in their job, is considered important enough to fund,” Rudd said. “So much of the focus of equine welfare research has been exclusively on the physiological wellbeing of the horse. It's encouraging that studies focused on factors that impact the horse's psychological wellbeing, like mine, are receiving a slice of that funding now, too.”
The annual NACTA Graduate Student Teaching Awards recognize and reward NACTA graduate student members who are involved in classroom instruction who excel as teachers in the agricultural disciplines. The Animal Behavior Society is a professional organization dedicated to promoting and advancing the scientific study of animal behavior.
“Chrissy Rudd is excelling in both teaching and research in an exciting and emerging field of human-animal interaction,” said Nathaniel Hall, Rudd's advisor and an associate professor of companion animal science and director of Tech's Canine Olfaction Research & Education Laboratory. “Her work will serve an important foundation in assessing animal welfare in animal assisted interventions and teaching the next generation of students in this field.”
In addition to her academic research, Rudd served as manager of Texas Tech's Horse-Human Interaction Lab, which explored on horse-human interactions, equine-assisted interventions, and the wellbeing of both the horses and humans involved in equine-assisted services before the lab leader departed from Texas Tech. The laboratory was located at the Texas Tech Therapeutic Riding & Therapy Center.
Rudd has been involved in equine-assisted services for nearly two decades and has extensive experience training and competing event horses and managing equestrian tourism operations. She is the chair of the PATH, Intl. Equine Welfare Committee and serves on the Board of Directors for Equine International, an equine behavior and education research institute. Throughout her PhD she has maintained an active presence as an equine industry educator, translating research into practical applications for industry stakeholders. Her research broadly centers on identifying positive and negative welfare indicators in horses working in equine-assisted services and developing practical solutions to mitigate or eliminate the negative.
She completed her undergraduate work at Averett University in Danville, Virginia, where she double majored in equestrian studies and journalism before moving to the United Kingdom to pursue a master's degree in Equine Science at Aberystwyth University. There, her research focused on quantifying the decrease in stress experienced by humans during simple interactions with horses.
CONTACT: Nathaniel Hall, Associate Professor of Companion Animal Science and Director of the Canine Olfaction Research and Education Laboratory, Department of Animal & Food Sciences at Texas Tech University at (806) 834-8924 or email@example.com
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Editor: Norman Martin
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