Family Science alumnae compete in Rio Olympics
Katie O’Donnell Bam, ’11, and Jill Witmer, ‘14, alums of the family science department and former UMD field hockey players, competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
Bam, who became part of the U.S. national team at the age of 16, participated in the London 2012 Summer Olympics. As a striker, she has helped the U.S. field hockey team achieve significant victories, including two gold medals in the Pan-American Games in 2011 and 2015.
Witmer, named ACC Offensive Player of the Year in 2013, is a forward on the national team. She is participating in the Olympics for the first time after joining the team in 2013.
Both Witmer and Bam were members of the U.S. team at the 2015 Pan-American Games and contributed to victories that secured the team’s participation in the Rio Olympics.
At UMD, Bam and Witmer excelled academically and athletically.
"We all recognize that balancing both sports and academic demands well is not easy and requires an organized focus on the part of the student athlete,” said Elaine Anderson, family science professor and department chair. “We are proud of these FMSC graduates and their achievements on and off the field."
Family science adjunct professor Kerry Tripp extolled Bam’s and Witmer’s ability to bring excellence into the classroom, saying she was “impressed that the students' commitment to their sport carried over in their commitment to their school work.”
Despite victories against Argentina, Australia, Japan and India, the USA Field Hockey team exited the Olympics on August 15, after losing to Germany with a score of 1-2. In an article published in NPR, U.S. head coach Craig Parnham congratulated the players. He said that "it has been a great journey" and that he was proud of the players for giving their best efforts.