Staci McGill
Name: Staci McGill
From: Chesapeake, Virginia
Degrees and institute where received: BS in Agricultural Biotechnology and Biology and a minor in English, University of Kentucky (UK)

Staci McGill had three top choices for her undergraduate studies, but when she came to UK for a College of Agriculture, Food and Environment pre-veterinary information day, she felt like she had come home.

“I always thought people were crazy when they said you wouldn’t know where you were supposed to be until that moment,” she said.

McGill is currently pursuing her master’s in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering under the direction of Morgan Hayes, PhD, PE, assistant extension professor. She has several research projects in progress, but they all center around ventilation, air quality, and air movement.

In her first study, she examined how different fans and different fan orientations affect the stall environment, specifically temperature, relative humidity, and ammonia levels.

In the second project, she sought to determine if adding air movement across horses during cool-out increases the cooling rate after intense exercise.

Finally, McGill has been working on a two-part study (including an online survey and site visits) on indoor arenas. She hopes to gather information regarding common indoor arena characteristics to make better recommendations for future designs to improve horse and human health.

When asked what her most valuable take-away from her program was, McGill said, “Research can be completed outside of the lab in ways that directly impact the community in valuable and unique ways.

“I have been in the horse industry for 20 years in a variety of different capacities, from horse owner to breeder, to trainer and groom, and now I get to conduct exciting research to help improve the lives of horses and the people who love them,” she said. “(Studying) biosystems and agricultural engineering allows me to give back in a new and innovative way.”

McGill will finish her master’s this spring and plans to pursue a PhD in biosystems and agricultural engineering.

Alexandra Harper, MBA, is the operations and communications coordinator for the UK Ag Equine Programs.

Want more articles like this? Sign up for the Bluegrass Equine Digest e-Newsletter.

More information on Gluck Equine Research Center and UK Ag Equine Programs.