Christine Grahl, ’11

Christine Grahl, ’11

Major: Economics and Management, German

Current Location: Califon, New Jersey

Job Title: Equine Import Export Coordinator

In a nutshell, what do you do, and did Albion prepare you for the job?

I coordinate the import of horses into the United States from Europe, specifically Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and eastern European countries. I also assist in the export of horses from the United States to the Middle East and Europe. Albion played a big roll in preparing me for this job. Albion helped to facilitate my position at Horseflight.com through the study abroad program in Dresden, Germany where I was able to intern at the Sachsen Thueringen Horse Association. Through my internship at the association I was introduced to the manager at Horseflight.com and was later offered a job. Albion also helped me attain the skills and confidence to succeed.

What did it mean for you to be involved in equestrian activities at Albion?

My involvement at the equestrian center meant a great deal to me. My time at the Held Center was always a highlight to my day. I made many friends, was able to improve my riding skills, and it was a good break from class. I was part of the Albion hunt seat team and also took dressage lessons with Danielle Menteer. Both the equestrian team and the riding lessons helped me become a more confident rider and person overall.

What's your favorite equestrian memory?

My very first hunt seat team show was hosted by Western Michigan University, I won the first class I competed in. I remember reflecting back on my life at that moment and thinking that my dad would have been very proud of me. And as I was looking up into the sky, I knew he was smiling down at me from heaven.

Are you still active in equestrian life? 

I am the luckiest person in the world! I get to work with horses almost everyday.  One of my jobs at Horseflight is to greet the horses arriving to the U.S from Europe at John F. Kennedy airport; I also care for and exercise horses before they are flown to their various destinations. After work and on the weekends, I have the pleasure of riding and showing my horse. Horses are my passion. I couldn’t imagine life without them!

How did your Albion experience help you in your career?

I am glad to be an Albion graduate because it helped me become who I am today. The support and knowledge of my mentors, professors, riding instructors, and friends have helped me become a confident and forward-thinking individual. I can’t thank Albion enough for its dedication to me.

Brittney Stanton, '14

Brittany Stanton, '14

Major: Biology, with a chemistry minor

Current Location: Urbana, Illinois

Job Title: Veterinary Student at University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine

In a nutshell, what do you do, and did Albion prepare you for the job?

I am a first year veterinarian student at University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.  My undergraduate studies at Albion prepared me for veterinary school by fulfilling all of my pre-requisite course requirements and also offered research opportunities, leadership roles and extracurricular involvement.

What did it mean for you to be involved in equestrian activities at Albion?

I was on the Albion equestrian team for the four years I was at Albion. Being on the team offered me an opportunity to continue riding and competing which I have always loved to do. Albion has a beautiful equestrian facility where students can board their horse as well. That meant a lot to me to have that option. I was able to bring my horse, Troy.

Being involved with the Albion equestrian team allowed me to immediately meet a group of students who had similar interests as me, and I have become lifelong friends with a number of them. Riding on the team enabled me to improve my time management skills. I needed to be able to do well with my academics and also fit in my riding lessons for the team and make time for the meets on the weekends.

I also got involved with the equestrian club which was a lot of fun because we organized and participated in a lot of community programs such as parades, Pumpkin Chunkin’, and fundraisers.

What's your favorite equestrian memory?

Being on the equestrian team was always fun! My favorite memory is that as a senior I won Zones in the Open Jumping Division which qualified me to show at IHSA Nationals in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I am the first hunt seat rider in the history of the College to qualify and compete at IHSA Nationals. This has always been a goal I have wanted to achieve and a memory I will never forget.

Are you still active in equestrian life? 

I am still active with horses.  I found a new barn to ride at while in veterinary school. I am only able to ride once or twice a week now because of my rigorous studies.  It is very important to me because it is a stress relief for me to be able to go ride. It is a nice break from my studying.  IHSA also has an alumni division that I am participating in as my studies allow.

How did your Albion experience help you in your career?

My equestrian and Albion experiences helped me achieve my goal of getting into veterinary school. Albion offered me the academic classes and the research opportunities I needed to apply to veterinarian school.

The equestrian program provided me with the extracurricular activity which proved I could excel athletically as well as academically, and it proved that I had good time management abilities. I also engaged in leadership roles and community service while in the equestrian program at Albion which was beneficial on my resume for veterinary school.

Mark Lampen, '10

Mark Lampen, '10

Major: Anthropology and Gender Studies

Current Location: Birmingham, Michigan

Job Title: International Legal Risk Analyst

In a nutshell, what do you do, and did Albion prepare you for the job?

I review contracts, leases, marketing agreements, etc., to determine the potential risk the company is subjecting itself to, and negotiate with third parties and insurers to appropriately limit exposed liability. Albion certainly prepared me for my job by teaching me objective analytical skills that allow me to digest complicated and high-risk negotiations.

What did it mean for you to be involved in equestrian activities at Albion?

Being involved with Albion equestrian activities meant having extraordinary people I could count on. While at Albion I was on the intercollegiate dressage team which took a substantial amount of dedication, patience, and partnership between teammates to train and compete.

What's your favorite equestrian memory?

Our coach was from the United Kingdom and had a very distinct accent. When we first started training, he would tell us to ride to the “Hache” marker. We were all so confused because none of us had ever heard of this new and mysterious spot in a dressage ring. So we just kept riding along because we didn’t know where “Hache” was and he’d get so frustrated thinking we weren’t listening. He was actually saying “H” – I think I went a month of not really knowing where I was supposed to be going.

Are you still active in equestrian life? 

I am still very active riding and training as much as possible – there’s always something you can learn. Most of my closest friends and business colleagues are all connected somehow to the equestrian world. Staying connected with these relationships while staying with my passion of riding symbiotically works to be a win-win.

How did your Albion experience help you in your career?

Exponentially! My Albion equestrian background continually proves itself to be invaluable in my career. While still an undergrad, an Albion colleague told me about an opportunity to groom one of the best Grand Prix dressage competitors in the country. I jumped at the opportunity, and continued grooming part-time after graduating and through law school. I’ve been fortunate to use the experience to make connections across North America and Europe.

Because the equestrian world is tightly connected, yet global in its reach, I have a solid foundation that jump-started my career with an exceptional networking base that keeps growing.

Katie Petchell, '13

Katie Petchell, '13

Major: Economics and Management, Gerstacker Institute

Current Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Job Title: Tax Staff at Plante Moran

In a nutshell, what do you do, and did Albion prepare you for the job?

After Albion, I spent a year at the University of Michigan where I earned a Masters of Accountancy. While completing my grad program, I accepted a position at a regional accounting firm, Plante Moran, as a tax staff member. I have been at the firm for just over a year now, and my roles include preparing individual, business, trust, and not-for-profit tax returns, along with tax planning for our higher wealth clients. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to assist with firm recruitment and staff training events.

I can honestly say that I would not have gotten to where I am now without all of the wonderful support Albion has provided me. Albion's Gerstacker Institute prepared me for grad school/my career through career planning, resume reviews, mock interviews, and numerous networking events, and I have my taxation professor to thank for pushing me to apply to U of M and for sparking my interest in tax. Additionally, Albion gave me an advantage when it came to studying for and passing the CPA exam. While most of my grad school peers were not eligible to sit for the exam until the spring semester of our program, Albion's curriculum allowed me to start testing right after graduation, giving me a head start that helped me to complete all four parts before I started at Plante Moran.

What did it mean for you to be involved in equestrian activities at Albion?

I grew up loving horses, so it only made sense for me to continue riding through college. I joined the western team my freshman year and had a very successful career as an open/reining rider. Riding provided me a break from classes, while also allowing me to advance as an equestrian. The western team coach, Denise Webber, really took me under her wing and went out of her way to develop my skills. Together, we started many young horses, and she also gave me the chance to ride numerous talented reining horses. I was even able to develop my own custom internship through the Gerstacker Institute where I interned with Denise for a semester. During that I time I helped her to manage her boarding facility, improve her accounting and business systems, and even train an unruly Arabian Gelding who went on to be an endurance horse.

What's your favorite equestrian memory?

I have many fond memories of the western team, including riding in a limo to have dinner at the Big Texan in Amarillo, Texas, while competing at Semi-Finals, driving through the mountains of West Virginia on our way to an invitational meet and almost bouncing Denise off the seat when we hit a dip in the road, riding Peppy, an amazing reining stallion at Nationals in 2012, and many inside jokes that developed between my teammates and I over the four years I spent on the team.

Are you still active in equestrian life? 

I still own my horse, Image, and make time to spend with her as much as I can. Together we show on an open circuit during the summer, and we also do some cow work and trail riding when we can. Additionally, I have coached the Pinckney High School and Junior Equestrian teams for the past few years. I also have returned to the college equestrian team world by competing as an alumni rider at the western equestrian meets for the 2015-2016 season. I can't imagine not being involved with horses in one capacity or another. It's important to me because riding is something I'm very passionate about and I enjoy sharing my passion with others. Furthermore, riding helps to keep me balanced when work/life gets hectic or stressful.

How did your Albion experience help you in your career?

Riding for Albion allowed me to practice balancing work and riding, and it also helped me to work on my networking, time management, and organizational skills. The relationships I built with my professors have been invaluable to me as I started my job search and went through my grad program - the individual attention I received at Albion really helped me to figure out where I wanted my career to go and how to get there. Now that I'm at Plante Moran, I'm encouraged to maintain relationships with my professors and fellow Albion grads, so participating in any equestrian events is fun for me and looks good for my career as well.

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