One of the most popular and well-recognized programs that Lake Erie College offers is the equine studies program, and the faculty who are a part of that program are among the best in their fields. One of these faculty members is Dr. Elizabeth Giedt.
Originally born in San Diego, Calif., Dr. Giedt spend her childhood in many different places, moving with her family about every two years as her father, who was a career Navy pilot, received different assignments. She got her first horse when she was fifteen, and that experience was what has fueled her passion for the equine field since then.
"That first love matured into a career in veterinary medicine,” she said. After receiving her Bachelor of Science degree with a major in agriculture, Dr. Giedt continued her education in veterinary studies, eventually landing a job with the Lake Erie equine studies program. "Someone from LEC contacted me about teaching one class,” she said. "It just blossomed from there.”
Since then Dr. Giedt has been a part of the equine program at Lake Erie, and even served as Dean of the School of Equine Studies for a few years. Soon, however, she went back to her original passion, teaching.
"Veterinary medicine is all about teaching and learning from our patients and our clients,” she said. She enjoys the hands-on experience of working with the students and the horses directly. "Horses are fun animals to watch, ride and stand next to, " she said. Currently she is teaching classes in equine anatomy and physiology, equine breeding, equine nutrition, equine health and equine lameness.
Experiential learning is the main focus of the equine program, and Dr. Giedt is among the instructors who believe that there is no substitute for the hands-on approach in education.
"Students have the opportunity to apply what we learn in class in our barn every day,” she said. "We use our horses to teach about all our subjects, and our horses are very patient teachers—they do not talk back and do not give tests, [but] they are great listeners.”
It was under the supervision of Dr. Giedt that some of LEC’s equine students had the rare experience of reconstructing the skeleton of a stillborn foal in 2012. The experience was not only a lesson in horse anatomy, but also provided valuable experience in team work and problem solving, since the students were working with small and fragile bones, many of which were in pieces and had to be glued together.
"We have all of these wonderful ideas,” Dr. Giedt said. "We could really make [the equine program] more dynamic and interesting. We also had a lot of fun dissecting a chicken leg recently, and the students in breeding classes can tell you all kinds of stories.”
Dr. Giedt is also currently working on a part two of the bone project. "The students inspire me,” she said.This is probably why when asked about her favorite thing about LEC, Dr. Giedt answered that it is the students. "And Morley Music Building concerts,” she added. "And all the great staff who make working here fun.”