HUNT VALLEY, Md. — American Horse Publications has been on the hunt to find students with a passion for both horses and publishing since 1993. The success of the search is a long list of talented young people who have become an asset to the equine publishing media industry.

This year, the hunt discovered three young women who rose to the top of the judge’s list to become the 2018 AHP Student Award finalists. They have earned an opportunity to meet leading equine industry professionals and discuss career possibilities during the AHP Equine Media Conference. Each Travel Award Winner will receive a $750 travel award to attend The Hunt for Excellence in Hunt Valley, Md. on June 14-16 for three days of educational sessions and related activities.

The three finalists are Alyssa Murphree, who is attending Delaware Valley University; Sarah Ryan, State University of New York at Cobleskill and Emily Holowczak, a student at Mount Holyoke College.

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Murphree majors in Equine Management, Specialization in Media and Communications pursuing a career in visual media. Her most memorable experiences out of the saddle include the internships she's had in which horses were the focal point of her camera lens and the subject of her press releases and social media posts.

“Because of my various experiences through school and internships, there are many positions I can envision myself happily working in,” wrote Murphree. “However, I have a profound interest in visual media and would like to pursue my career in that direction.”

Judge Hsu said, “I really enjoyed this candidate’s presentation. She provided a compelling biography with strong prose. She has laid a foundation toward her career through internships and the provided work samples were impressive. In particular, I appreciated a sharp photograph with an interesting composition in challenging lighting. This demonstrates good technical ability, as well as artistic vision.”

Murphree is the daughter of Rose Strehle, of Palmyra, Pa.

Ryan is pursuing a degree in therapeutic horsemanship. After working for many years as news research director, her passion for horses was reignited when she volunteered for an organization that re-homes off track Thoroughbreds and SUNY Cobleskill announced its new Therapeutic Horsemanship B.T.

During her first semester, Ryan went through an unexpected hip replacement and therapeutic riding became not just a professional pursuit, but also a crucial part of her own life and recovery. “My goal after graduating,” wrote Ryan, “is to weave together my previous and current careers by working in therapeutic horsemanship and writing freelance about horses and my donkey, Captain Jack.”

Judge Hsu said, “This candidate presents extremely high quality work, with an impressive portfolio and clean, strong language used throughout.”

Ryan lives in Albany, New York with her husband.

The three finalists will be interviewed by the Student Award Committee on June 14 at the AHP Equine Media Conference in Hunt Valley. One student will be announced as the 2018 AHP Student Award Winner at the Student Award reception co-sponsored by SmartPak on Friday, June 15.. The Student Award winner receives a cash award of $1,000. The two runner-ups will also receive a cash award. All cash awards are sponsored by AIM Equine Network.

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