Meet Our Symposium Speakers

Emily Alger with a horse

Emily Alger

Emily has been working with UConn Extension since late 1991, coordinating the Middlesex County 4-H Program and the State 4-H Horse Program.  She grew up in the 4-H Program in Middlesex county where she showed home arts and small animals.  After college, she got her first horse and has been active in the equine community ever since.  She is a past Youth Coordinator for CTQHA and rode in AQHA events for 2 decades. She now is very involved in the AMHR as an exhibitor and an amateur mentor.  She and her husband Joe and daughter Mikayla live on a horse farm in East Haddam Connecticut where they own and show  AMHR miniatures on the local, area and national levels.

Digital Escape Rooms: Helping Youth Learn In a Fun and Innovative Way

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Susie Baumgartner

Susie Baumgartner has been a riding instructor for over 40 years, and is certified with the American Riding Instructors Association and serves as a Test Center Administrator for ARIA.  She is certified in Hunt Seat, Dressage, Stock Seat, Saddleseat and Recreational Riding.  Susie's experience includes Director of Innisfree Equestrian Center for GSMD and US Army JROTC Cavalry Program.  She is a graduate of ATI-OSU in Horse Management and Production.  

Horse Smarts - A Quick Look Inside


Sarah E. Coleman

An avid equestrian, Coleman grew up in northeastern Ohio and graduated from the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. Coleman moved to the Bluegrass to work with multiple equine and agriculture-related publications. She shifted to equine-oriented roles at Lexington Catholic High School and Georgetown College before transitioning to her most recent role as Community and Public Relations Director for New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program. Coleman oversaw the construction of New Vocations at Mereworth Farm and established the New Vocations All-Thoroughbred Charity Horse Show. Coleman holds roles on multiple equine boards and committees, including the Kentucky Hunter Jumper Association, University of Kentucky's Saddle Up Safely program and the Kentucky Horse Breeders Incentive Fund Non-Race Committee.

Creating a Cohesive Emergency Response for Horses in Hazardous Situations 

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Marc Cournoyer

Marc has served as a 4-H Education Program Coordinator with the University of Connecticut since 2007.  He has over 30 years of experience in the field of positive youth development.  He is the lead designer of the 4-H Escape digital breakout project which launched in the spring of 2020 and continues to explore and design innovative ways to reach youth audiences with interactive and educational content.  He also serves as the 4-H educator for Windham County, CT and multiple state and national youth development opportunities.

Digital Escape Rooms: Helping Youth Learn In a Fun and Innovative Way

Nadeau, Jenifer on a horse

Dr. Jenifer Nadeau

Dr. Jenifer Nadeau is an Associate Professor and the Equine Extension Specialist for the University of Connecticut.  She has been with the university for 20 years and grew up riding and working with horses.   Jenifer enjoys trail riding with her students in the UCONN Forest.  She also loves hiking and traveling with her boyfriend Dave and their dogs Sheena and Fox.

Digital Escape Rooms: Helping Youth Learn In a Fun and Innovative Way

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Joe Stanco

Joe Stanco is a Penn State Equine Extension Associate. Joe works with county, regional, and state 4-H horse activities to promote proper horsemanship and good animal husbandry. Joe is also an Equine Industry Professional and enthusiast. He is an AQHA L1 Judge and Professional Horseman, clinician, and an active riding instructor and trainer. He is also the Team HorsePower Adviser.

On The Road Again

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Robin Wedlake

Robin Wedlake has been a 4-H advisor in Jefferson County, Ohio for 37 years.  She has coached several state Horse Bowl, Hippology, and Horse Judging teams for the last 12 years.  Robin also currently serves as a member and treasurer of the State 4-H Horse Advisory Committee.

Hardware Store = Teaching Aids Galore