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A horse ‘guest lecturer’ joins Wellesley College Zoom class

Emma Miller brought a mustang named Story to her online class at Wellesley last week.
Emma Miller brought a mustang named Story to her online class at Wellesley last week.Emma Miller

Wellesley College senior Emma Miller cleared out her garage on April 7 to make way for her online class’ unexpected guest lecturer: a horse.

Upon her professor’s request, Miller brought a dark brown mustang, named Story, to her “Chemistry of the Heavens” seminar. She gave Story a lengthy introduction fit for a special guest, explaining his character and origins at Wyoming Honor Farm, a correctional facility and inmate rehabilitation program that specializes in animal care.

“Everyone loved it,” she said in a phone call from Wyoming. “It was the first time I saw some of my classmates smile.”

Story is one of the many mares at the horse facility Miller retreated to after Wellesley, like most colleges, shuttered its campus amid the coronavirus outbreak. Her family owns the farm, where she grew up tending to horses.

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Professor Christopher Arumainayagam said Story’s unusual appearance added a much-needed dose of cheer to the class.

“Everybody seemed so worried about their situation and their families’ situation,” he said. “I thought I would bring some entertainment to the class ... and I’ve gotten very positive feedback.”

Arumainayagam suggested the visit after learning about Miller’s facility from an off-hand comment she made.

“Would it be possible for you to bring one of your horses to class?” he wrote in an e-mail. “A horse in my lecture would represent the pinnacle of my 29-year career at Wellesley College.”

Miller posted about the experience on the Facebook group, “Zoom Memes for Self Quaranteens," where it garnered more than 14,000 Likes and was shared over 300 times. She wrote: “This was my peak; things can only go downhill from here.”

“I did not expect it to become what it did,” said Miller. “But I’m glad we could put some joy in people’s day.”

Diti Kohli can be reached at diti.kohli@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ditikohli_

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