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2016 Election

2016 Election Results


  1. Communications – Stacy Palen

  2. Vice President – Sydni Nusink

  3. Education – Donnette Hicks

  4. Membership – Beth Siron


UDS Members,

 It is time again to vote for the members of the UDS Board.  Unfortunately, no one stepped forward to run for two of the positions, the Treasurer and the Competitions Director, and the other positions are running un-opposed.  Be that as it may, cast your votes in support of the people who are going to work hard to keep your society going strong.  I have included their Bios below.

You will receive a separate email inviting you to vote from the website  Please look in your Spam if you do not get it in your inbox tonight.


Vice President:  Sydni Nusink

Sydni Nusink has been riding since she was 6 years old.  As a child she started with vaulting, while this helped with her balance and coordination while on a moving horse, she wanted to do something that enabled her to spend more personal time with the horse.  Sydni found Trisha Kerwin and started to learn how to jump and competed in Eventing through Novice level and enjoyed it but found that her passion clearly was dressage. Once solely dedicated to dressage, success followed, she was able to work one on one with Trisha Kerwin and Sarah and Clayton Martin, all of whom are FEI dressage trainers.  At the young age of 15, Sydni became a National Champion at the US Sporthorse National Championship at Training Level Dressage and has since been Reserve National Champion twice at 2nd and 3rd Levels. Her success simply motivated her to learn more and as she transitioned from Young Rider to a Professional, she has never stopped attending clinics, symposiums and taking lessons.

Sydni is a USDF Bronze and Silver Medalist. She has participated in USDF Certified Instructor Workshops and is currently enrolled in the “L” Judges Training Program.

Education Director:  Donnette Hicks

Donnette’s passion is in the art of the equine human relationship. She enjoys capturing the journey through many expressions — photography, poetry, film, coaching champions and most of all being a full time student of the horse.

The Impact Of The Horse was born out of her desire to merge a private enterprise, Sage Creek Equestrian, with the BLM Wild Horse and Burro program bringing a new possibility of human partnership for America’s wild mustang herds. Donnette started working with starting colts and working with problem horses under the tutelage of Ben Quinters. Ben introduced Donnette to the world renowned horseman Ray Hunt and thus the desire to understand a willing partnership was born and has been her driving goal now for over 30 years. Donnette is a well educated horseman specializing in Dressage. Her purchase of a Grand Prix German school master catapulted Donnette into developing a deep understanding of quality upper level movements. Donnette’s greatest devotion is her love of witnessing humans succeed in having a beautiful partnership with their horse.

Communications Director:  Stacy Palen

My professional background prepares me well to take on the duties of the Communications Director. I will address each of these duties individually in this letter. 

Web-page Design: As a University Professor and the Director of a small planetarium, I have been responsible for maintaining extensive web pages that are used by a varied audience, from professional astronomers to students to K-12 teachers to members of the general public. I am not only well-versed in a number of content management systems and software programs for web design, but I am also competent at coding directly in HTML. 

Newsletter Editing/Authorship: For several years, I maintained a web-newsletter for the Ott Planetarium, which focused on astronomy updates for K-12 teachers and the public. I have also written four textbooks, numerous academic papers, magazine articles and white papers. I often have the task of editing student work for publication, which has taught me to give constructive (and positive) feedback to novice writers. 

Trainer/Barn Directory Maintenance: As Director of the Ott Planetarium, I maintain a listing of all K-12 science teachers in the State of Utah, which I imagine is a much larger and more rapidly changing list of individuals and locations than the list of trainers and barns. 

Organize Committees: At Weber State University, I have been the chair of a number of committees and sub-committees. Together, we have met charges ranging from “recruit more students to STEM fields” to “create a roadmap to have zero carbon emissions by 2030”. Board Membership: I have served on the Executive Board of the Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City, the Astronomy Education Board of the American Astronomical Society, and several Board-level committees charged with enhancing communications between and among faculty at my University (notably the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Stacy Palen 801-920-6463 212 North 1500 West Ogden, UT 84404 Committee). I am very familiar with the general duties and obligations of a society board member, including, but not limited to, attending meetings, participating actively, and showing respect for the efforts of everyone in the group. 

As a board member, I would seek to improve communications between our members at various levels, particularly between our professional community and the amateur base. Educational opportunities abound, but it can be difficult to make everyone aware of them, given the splintered nature of media consumption these days. My primary goal would be to find out where our community most frequently seeks information (Facebook? Twitter? other social media? email? text message?), in order to determine the most timely and useful way for us to communicate about deadlines, educational opportunities, rules changes and other UDS news. 

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