Pursuing a dream no matter what
by Madison Moore ’15

Deciding to go back to college to get a second bachelor’s degree is a “personal fulfillment” for Melinda Copel ’21. At DelVal, she found a community that supports what she loves and a place that helps students pursue their passion.

Copel is a continuing education student going to school part-time while studying equine science and management. She has a doctorate in dance from Temple University, but she always had a love of horses, which is why she decided to come to DelVal.

Copel said she rode on her college equestrian team, but with the unexpected death of her father, she was forced to drop out of school. Eventually she completed both an undergraduate and graduate degree.

She recently starting riding again after 35 years.

“I started riding again two years ago and began my degree at DelVal [which would] fulfill my dream of working with horses,” said Copel.

Although it is only her second semester at DelVal, Copel said everyone has been very “helpful, responsive and supportive.”

She has found the hands-on learning experience at DelVal helpful in getting her one step closer to reaching her goal of working with horses.

For Copel’s first out-of-class experience, she attended a seminar on equine nutrition at a local feed store – where she won a bucket of grooming supplies in a raffle.

“I took this as a positive omen,” said Copel. “These are going into my ‘horse hope chest.’”

Besides going back to school, Copel volunteers every week at After the Races horse rescue in Nottingham, Pa. She also teaches dance and coordinates the Dance Program at Montgomery County Community College. She is an organic gardener and cares about the welfare of “people, animals and the planet.”

She has rekindled her passion for horses and plans on retiring in Maine with her husband, where she will start an equine-related business.

“I am very much looking forward to the day when I can adopt one or more rescue horses and give them second careers,” said Copel.