New Partnership with Virginia Tech MARE Center Provides Real-World Experience for Foxcroft Students

This semester, six students are involved in unique internship experiences in conjunction with a newly formed partnership between Foxcroft School and the Virginia Tech Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension (MARE) Center. Seniors Melanie F. and Saylor H., along with junior Kayla L., are working with graduate students conducting research in equine science. Juniors Carsyn B., Grace C., and Alex V. are interns supporting the Virginia 4-H Chapter’s youth outreach and education program through such activities as video and photographic storytelling, conducting equine knowledge contests, and assisting with education clinics.
Situated in the heart of Virginia horse country, just a few miles from the Foxcroft School campus, the MARE Center is one of Virginia Tech’s 11 agricultural research and extension centers. The 420-acre farm was donated to Virginia Tech by philanthropist Paul Mellon in 1949 to foster research that improved pasture and animal productivity, while enhancing the land. Through collaboration with academic and industry partners around the world, the Center advances the health and wellbeing of the horse through its innovative research efforts and exceptional educational programming in equine science.

This innovative partnership, which will engage Foxcroft students in college- and graduate-level research projects, complements several of Foxcroft’s signature programs — an outstanding STEM program that provides girls with real-world experience and a renowned equestrian program that attracts girls from across the country and the world.

“Providing our students with experiential learning and advanced research opportunities related to horse care is an important part of our strategic initiative to provide unique learning experiences in and out of the classroom,” says Head of School Cathy McGehee.

This fall, the research studies are focused on nutrition practices that optimize equine health and performance. The outcomes of the research initiatives will be presented on scientific and academic platforms and ultimately impact the way horses are fed and cared for. For the Foxcroft students who are actively involved in the projects, learning about the impact of their work and how the results will translate into action is very exciting. For now, the girls are spending time at the Center each week and are given specific responsibilities and assignments.

“Foxcroft’s commitment to educating girls, along with its century-old tradition of horsemanship and caring for horses, aligns very well with our program and research initiatives. We are proud to welcome these students to our facility for what is sure to be an incredible learning experience,” said MARE Center Equine Extension Specialist and faculty member Bridgett McIntosh, PhD.
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An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.