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U.S. Pony Clubs National Youth Congress Academy of Achievement 2008 Alumni Honorees

U.S.P.C. National Youth Congress Academy of Achievement 2008 Alumni Honorees

Erika de Papp

Russell Gilfus

Liz Halliday

Kevin Price

Sharon Turner

Carey A. Williams

Erika de Papp, DVM, DACVIM

Erika de Papp is chief of internal medicine at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston. Angell is a large hospital that provides the most current and advanced therapies to sick animals using state of the art equipment and instrumentation. Erika’s daily activities include treating both cats and dogs that have a variety of medical problems using advanced diagnostics and care.

Erika attended Dartmouth College where she received a BA in Biology. She then took a year off between college and vet school to compete her horse in events all along the East coast. She attended vet school at Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine, where she received her DVM. After graduating from Cornell, Erika did an internship in small animal medicine and surgery, followed by a residency in small animal medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1999 she achieved specialty board certification in small animal internal medicine.

Erika graduated as a B pony clubber from the Mendon Pony Club in New York. Set to take her H-A test the summer after graduating from high school, she instead got the chicken pox! Soon after that, her life quickly filled up with college and eventing. She competed through Intermediate level at a full 3-Day event and successfully completed an Advanced horse trial. Erika was lucky enough to own 6 different horses during her eventing career but she does not have a particular favorite. All were special for unique reasons. She does not currently own a horse, but has 2 dogs; a Husky mix and an Australian Cattle Dog. The first dog was saved from euthanasia. Ill with pneumonia as a puppy, Erika nursed her back to health and she is now one of her greatest friends. The newest member of the family has been with Erika and her husband for just 2 months.

Although she is not currently riding a horse, Erika does ride both mountain and road bikes. She has participated in the Pan-Mass Challenge for the last two years, which is the largest athletic fundraising event for cancer in the nation. It consists of a 200-mile bike ride across much of the state of Massachusetts. In addition she ran one marathon for charity but now sticks to short distances. She is also a big skier and has an extensive ski racing background. As a child, when she was not on a horse, she was skiing. She loves to go hiking with the dogs and really enjoy the mountains of VT and NH. She also tries to travel as much as possible and has visited 5 of the 7 continents so far (excluding Antarctica and Asia). She was married in October of 2007 and is currently trying to convince her husband that horses are fun, not something to be afraid of!

Russell Gilfus, Esquire

Russ Gilfus is the assistant general counsel for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Human Resources Division Workers’ Compensation Litigation Unit. With a staff of four attorneys, Russ defends the Commonwealth through the litigation process at the Department of Industrial Accidents. Prior to his 15 years of state service, Russ was employed at a small Boston law firm representing injured claimants in personal injury, social security, and workers’ compensation matters.

Russ received his BS degree in Business Administration at North Adams State College. He then received an MBA from New Hampshire College and a Juris Doctorate from Ohio Northern University, School of Law. Before entering law school, Russ worked in the accounting department at State Street Bank.

A “B” from the Rockingham Pony Club in Haverhill, Massachusetts, Russ recalls competing with his favorite horse Count Dracula. Dracula was a tall piebald that liked to jump (except for ditches) and always performed well in dressage. Russ also has fond memories of Dracula’s stall mates, including La Marquis, Napoleon and Pies Par Tou. Though his time in pony club ended nearly 30 years ago, Russ remains best friends with pony club alumna Karen Whittaker-Marcotte who is still very active with Pony Club and occasionally requests his help with local events.

Although Russ doesn’t ride much anymore, he continues with athletic pursuits such as earning his black belt in Shim Gum Do karate, and he can often be found running in area road races with friends. Russ also spends his time volunteering for organizations such as Big Brother and was appointed a Guardian Ad Litem through the Juvenile Court System. As a Guardian Ad Litem, Russ acted as a disadvantaged child’s advocate through the court process.

Liz Halliday

Liz Halliday is a professional racing driver, TV/ media broadcaster, and 3-day eventer. She has driven race cars since 1997, but broke onto the International scene in 2004 racing in the US in the Rolex Grand Am Series and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), and in Europe in the Le Mans Series and FIA GT Championship. She has had six class wins and seven other podiums in the ALMS making her the most successful female driver in the championship’s history. She has also raced at the Le Mans 24 Hours for the past three years and was the only female driver out of a field of 165 drivers in ’06 and ’07. In 2007 she started pursuing TV broadcasting at a serious level and worked for CBS sports as a pit reporter in the ALMS, and also as a commentator for Motors TV in Europe. Liz attended Fallbrook High School in California and college at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) for three years where she studied Marine Biology.

Riding horses since she was 8 years old, Liz attained her C3 rating from the Fallbrook Pony Club in Southern California. As a Pony Clubber she competed in the National Championships on the Southern California Know-Down team, as well as for the So Cal Show Jumping team where they came 3rd in 1993. She was also selected to be on the eventing team in 1995 but her horse became ill shortly before the trip. Since her years in Pony Club, Liz has remained highly competitive in the eventing world, notably, competing through the 3* level. Following her move to England, she passed stages 1-4 of the British Horse Society (BHS) examinations and now holds a BHS Preliminary Teaching Degree. With a focus on some day competing on the US Equestrian Team, Liz currently has 4 horses, 2 of which she hopes to compete at 3* level this year, and at 4* level in the next couple of years.

Liz’s favorite horse ever was called “Cheese” (competition name Bally Supreme) who she rode from 2000 until Oct of 2005 when he sadly had to be put down. Liz remembers him as a wonderful horse who took her from Preliminary level to 3* in a short 2˝ years. He had a heart of gold and although he had only competed up to Intermediate level when she got him, and no one believed he had the ability for 3*, they were double clear around the Boekelo 3* in Holland in 2003, their first attempt at that level. Although neither of Liz’s parents, Don and Debby Halliday, rode, Liz recognizes them for doing their best to be a part of it for Liz’s benefit. Notably, her mother was treasurer for the Fallbrook Pony Club for many years. Aside from horse and motor sports, Liz also enjoys skiing, martial arts, scuba diving and travelling. She currently lives in East Grinstead, England, with her partner Allan Sharp.

Kevin Price

Kevin and his wife Betsey, their three cats, and four horses reside in Otego, NY, close to Cooperstown, NY, the birthplace of baseball and the Baseball Hall of Fame. Kevin is currently the Executive Director to the Chenango-Delaware-Otsego Workforce Investment Board, a position that he has held since 2001. Workforce Investment Boards are federally authorized entities that plan, facilitate, and administer a wide-range of employment and training services for both individuals and businesses. In his present position, he is responsible for the programs and services administered by the Board, and the overall management of personal, finance, fundraising, marketing and public relations activities. One of his larger responsibilities is representing the organization at public engagements and interacting with elected officials, public agencies, and business and community leaders.

He started as a teacher, then worked in the medical supply industry, and was an administrator in a multi-county mental health and alcohol and substance abuse organization. Kevin holds a B.S. in Secondary Education with a dual major in History and Political Science from State University f New York College at Oneonta, and a Master of Public Administration degree in Public Finance from Rockefeller College, University at Albany, State University of New York. Despite his formal education and training, he attributes much of his success and many of the skills he has developed and applied in his various positions to those learned and honed in Pony Club and the horse world.

His passion for horses started early and has been a constant in his life. The same passion is shared by his wife Betsey who has made horses her profession. He started Pony Club at age 10 with the Fox and Hounds Pony Club and attained his B Rating at 15. Kevin has never really left Pony Club, he continues to volunteer many hours to the organization something that started prior to his aging out. His volunteer list includes co-founding the former Leather Stocking PC in Western NY Region, HM judging, coaching and teaching, and X-C and SJ course designing. He is also a former Western NY RIC and Vice RS, and a current USPC SJ Committee Member.

Although a number of wonderful horses have been put in his path, Kevin rode two (Remarque, 16H TB, M and Nonpareil 16.2H TB, M) to the Preliminary and Intermediate Levels. In his early twenties he shifted focus to dressage and successfully competed (Darius 15.3H Dan.WB, G) through PSG, and his early thirties again shifted focus to concentrate on open jumpers. He presently owns one jumper (Assumed Fame a.k.a Tori 16H Anglo, M) and one dressage horse (Fabrege a.k.a Bugg 17.1H Trak. M) and divides the competition calendar to cover both disciplines. His goal this year is confirm and strengthen Bugg so she’s fully ready for 4th Level in 2009. Kevin’s other pursuits include downhill skiing (many years), white water rafting, bungie jumping and skydiving while in college, and an occasional round of golf.

Sharon Turner, Ph.D.

Sharon is a Primary Examiner in the United States Patent and Trademark Office where she examines biotechnology-related applications for patent, especially within the fields of neuroscience, cell receptors and cytokine molecules. As a Primary Examiner, Sharon researches technologies to determine the state of the art related to a patent application and considers these findings under the relevant statutes of law governing the award of a U.S. Patent. She communicates her findings and determinations to the applicant (inventor or their counsel) in the form of written office actions towards either the grant or denial of the patent application. She also assists in the training and review of work by other Examiners and prepares cases for review by the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences.

Sharon holds a B.S. degree in Biochemistry with a Minor in Chemistry from Virginia Tech and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh in 1998. Her graduate work utilized molecular biology to study neuronal and immune cell responses to herpes simplex virus infection and the ability of the virus to establish different growth states within neurons. Portions of this work have been published in various medical journals.

Sharon is a Lifetime USPC Member and graduate A pony clubber from the Difficult Run Pony Club in the Virginia Region. She competed at almost every PC level in both dressage and combined training rallies (local and regional levels), and was active on the Jr. Board, serving as President for 2 years. Sharon was also active in the Virginia Dressage Association, and in the Maryland Combined Training Association (MCTA). She has evented through Preliminary level, winning year-end awards, and participated in both team competitions and championships. Over the years Sharon has trained with numerous instructors but notably credits her foundation years with Phyllis Dawson, Stephen Bradley, Karen and David O'Conner, Major Jeremy Beale, and Cathy Frederickson. Sharon was a Visiting Instructor for the USPC making trips to help conduct pony club camps, lessons and ratings.

While Sharon's competition career took a break during college, she remained active by riding on the intercollegiate team at Virginia Tech and later with her own horse "Devo" during graduate school. During these years Sharon and her Father, Emmett Turner, began breeding at Emmett's Ryland Knoll Farm and much of Sharon's time has been spent starting several young horses there. Emmett's breeding efforts were rewarded with a handsome colt named Le Cavalier who has since been awarded his full breeding approvals and achieved great success in both jumping and dressage competitions. In 2003, Sharon competed with Le Cavalier in the FEI 5 Y.O. Young Horse National Championships. Since graduating from Pony Club, Sharon has helped with horse management judging, knowdowns, clinics, dressage judging and other activities for PC and the larger equestrian community. She currently teaches lessons for Redland Hunt PC in Sandy Spring, MD.

Carey A. Williams, Ph.D.

Dr. Carey Williams is the Equine Extension Specialist and an Assistant Professor at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey and the Equine Science Center, a position she has held since July 2003. As the Extension Specialist, she facilitates and coordinates programs for the equine industry including multi-state and multidisciplinary equine education and research programs. She also advises graduate and undergraduate students in their honor’s, master’s or doctoral research programs.

A Wisconsin native, Carey earned her doctorate degree in animal and poultry sciences (with an emphasis on equine nutrition and exercise physiology) in June 2003 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She holds a master’s degree in equine nutrition, also from Virginia Tech, and a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University. At Virginia Tech she conducted various research projects dealing with equine nutrition and exercise physiology, and assisted in the breeding, care, and management of approximately 100 horses.

Now at Rutgers, Carey maintains a herd of Standardbred horses for exercise physiology research. More specifically, she investigates how to decrease the stress of intense exercise, with a focus on antioxidants and oxidative stress responses, joint inflammation and nutritional supplements, and pasture management. She has published extensively in these areas. Doing research that is vital to the horse industry, she has been invited to present her studies at national and international scientific conferences in various countries including Norway, France and Turkey. Notably, she has been awarded numerous grants to support her research and outreach activities. Recognized at a young age as a leader in research and teaching at the local, state, and international levels, she was recently awarded the American Society of Animal Science Northeast Region’s Outstanding Young Professional in Education. She is a member of many other associations, including the American Association of Veterinary Nutritionists, the Equine Science Society and is a Certified Animal Behavior Consultant for the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

Carey graduated as a C2 from Ride with Pride Pony Club in Northern Wisconsin. As the only C member in this small club, she competed in eventing rallies on mixed club teams from Upper Michigan and Minnesota.Carey now competes her 10-yr old TB mare “Mickie” who she purchased from her research herd at Virginia Tech as a yearling. After years of squeezing training and competing into her busy schedule, Carey and Mickie currently compete at Training Level, and hope to run Preliminary this season. Carey recently enjoyed the company of her mother as groom and photographer after a 15-year hiatus, at her first Three-Day Event (a ˝ Star). Carey’s other hobbies (when she is not riding Mickie) include skiing, hiking, biking, rollerblading, and other nice weather outdoor sports.


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