Gator Grad to Equine Educator

To students in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), graduation means more than earning a degree. For Sarah White-Springer, graduating meant earning a degree, but also having a network of relationships and years of incredible mentoring that propelled her into the educator she is today.

Sarah White-Springer, associate professor at Texas A&M University.

White-Springer, now an associate professor in equine physiology at Texas A&M University, is a triple Gator from the UF/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences and one of the 40 Gators Under 40 honorees this year. She earned her bachelor’s degree in animal sciences with an equine emphasis in 2007. White-Springer continued her education through graduate work in animal sciences, focusing on equine nutrition and applied physiology and kinesiology, receiving her master’s degree in 2010 and her doctorate in 2014.

As an eager undergraduate student, White-Springer took an equine nutrition class with Lori Warren, an associate professor of animal sciences at UF. While she enjoyed the course topics, White-Springer was drawn to Warren’s teaching style. White-Springer ended up pursuing an undergraduate honors thesis under the supervision and mentoring of Warren, an experience that led White-Springer to focus on a career in equine research.

White-Springer flourished under Warren’s supervision. Warren became her graduate committee chair, continuing to push White-Springer academically and professionally, including having White-Springer give presentations at several conferences.

White-Springer and Warren collecting research samples.

“It’s every mentor’s dream to watch their protégé follow in their footsteps, but even more satisfying when the student shows promise of surpassing them,” Warren said.

Now, White-Springer mentors students in the animal science and kinesiology and sport management departments at Texas A&M through teaching and research. She currently teaches one graduate and two undergraduate courses in the animal science department. White-Springer said she sees some of Warren’s mentorship style reflected in her own.

“The feedback I often get from students is that I’m tough, but everything I ask them to do is achievable. I want push them, but in a fair way, which is something I think Dr. Warren does extremely well,” said White-Springer.

White-Springer strives to push her students to achieve excellence both in and out of the classroom. She takes a more hands-off approach with her graduate students to encourage self-responsibility and mimic industry positions. Ultimately, her goal is to challenge her students and prepare them for their future careers.

“My favorite thing about my job is I get to help my students succeed,” White-Springer said. “If my students do not have a job lined up when they leave, I have not done my job properly.”

White-Springer with her graduate students at department award ceremony.

One of those students, Christine Latham, was White-Springer’s first Ph.D. mentee. Latham is now the Lead Equine Nutritionist for Mad Barn, an equine nutritional supplement company. She stated White-Springer’s passion for her students is unlike any other faculty member she has encountered.

“In addition to inspiring free thinking and creativity, she has a unique talent for helping her students turn their ideas into solid research ventures. I can wholeheartedly say that Dr. White-Springer is among the most influential people in my life and has helped form me into the successful professional that I am today,” said Latham.

White-Springer credits the trajectory of her career to her experiences in animal sciences and CALS. As a student, she was a member of Alpha Zeta, a professional agricultural fraternity, as well as the UF Equestrian Club. White-Springer was also a teaching assistant for several equine courses and a student worker at the UF/IFAS Horse Teaching Unit.

“Without the faculty mentorship and the opportunities I had as a student [in the equine program], I truly would not be in the position I’m in today,” she said.


Avatar photo
Posted: March 26, 2024

Category: Livestock, UF/IFAS Research, UF/IFAS Teaching
Tags: 40 Under 40, Animal Sciences, CALS Alumni, Mentors, Undergraduate Research

Subscribe For More Great Content

IFAS Blogs Categories