Some of the most valuable educational experiences occur outside the traditional campus classrooms for University of Kentucky equine science and management undergraduate students. They happen in the barns and businesses that make up the equine industry and are taught by industry stalwarts like Matt Koch, co-owner of Shawhan Place in Paris.
Koch is an alumnus of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, advisory committee member for the college’s equine programs and longtime supporter of the program’s educational mission. UK Ag Equine Programs named him as the 2016 Friend of UK Ag Equine Programs Sept. 6 at Spindletop Hall in Lexington, honoring him for his years of multifaceted support of UK Ag Equine Programs, even before its debut in 2005, with a special emphasis on the impact he has had in multiple students’ lives and careers. Many recognize him as a catalyst for and a part of many important milestones of the program.
When former student interns describe the impact he has had in their lives, the same themes surface. Mentorship. Guidance. Generosity in sharing his time and knowledge. Koch was recognized as Intern Supervisor of the Year at the same reception in 2015, nominated by alumna Courtney Schneider, who, after two internships and years of being mentored as an undergraduate student, is now a full-time employee with Shawhan Place.
“Matt took me under his wing the summer after my freshman year. At the time, I knew I had a passion for horses and the Thoroughbred industry, but I had never had the opportunity to act on that passion,” Schneider said. “Throughout my college career, Matt continued to be a great role model for me. I stayed in touch with him and worked for him on and off and throughout all of the sales. He always made a genuine, conscious effort to make sure his interns had every opportunity to learn and do things they’ve never done before.”
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