Ecology on the Thames
Connecticut College senior Brigid O'Gorman has been named a finalist for the 2011 BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award. O'Gorman is one of eight finalists and one of only two repeat finalists. She was also a finalist for the award in 2010.
A women's ice hockey team captain from Eden, N.Y., O'Gorman spent the summer in Kaberamaido, Uganda, implementing a permanent electronic recordkeeping system with a $10,000 grant from the Kathryn Wasserman Davis 100 Projects for Peace program.
"Doctors there would write medical histories in little blue exam books and give them back to the patients," O'Gorman said. "This is an area devastated by war, and the blue books are often lost or damaged."
O'Gorman, who was recently profiled on NCAA.com, used the grant to purchase four computers, four solar panels, two printers, electronic medical record software, a laminating machine and an encrypted external hard drive. With an additional $3,000 from the College's funded internship program, she was able to travel to Kaberamaido and spent eight weeks implementing the new permanent system. O'Gorman describes the project in a short video on the Connecticut College YouTube channel.
The trip was O'Gorman's second to the region. In the spring of 2009, she was scheduled to travel to Kaberamaido on a humanitarian mission with Elizabeth Durante '10 and nearly a dozen other Connecticut College students, but delayed her departure when the hockey team made the conference semifinals. While the rest of the students were on their way to the airport, their van was struck by a drunk driver. Durante was killed, and several other students were injured.
"After the accident, I had a lot of support from my family, coaches and teammates, who encouraged me to go and take the bags of medical supplies we had collected," O'Gorman said. "One of my teammates helped me condense our 20 bags into 12 - the maximum I was allowed to bring on the plane. I'm sure the bags were overweight, but somehow I got them all on the plane."
In addition to her trips to Uganda, O'Gorman volunteers locally at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center and with Special Olympics Speed Skating of Southeastern Connecticut. As captain, O'Gorman has helped lead the women's ice hockey team to an overall record of 11-9-2. Connecticut College is in fifth place in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) with two games left.
"Brigid means a lot to our team," ice hockey head coach Kristin Steele said. "She leads with her talent and her commitment to the team, and her dedication to the game and to her teammates is unparalleled. As a coach, I always look for someone who is willing to challenge herself and others - Brigid always pushes the envelope."
A biology major, O'Gorman is currently applying to graduate programs to pursue a master's degree in public health. She hopes to eventually go to medical school and travel with Doctor's Without Borders. The 2011 BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award will be presented during an April 8 ceremony as part of the 2011 NCAA Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minn. The award is given annually to college hockey's finest citizen and seeks to recognize college hockey players, Division I or Division III, male or female, who give back to their community in the true humanitarian spirit.