AMHERST, MA – Amherst College senior women's hockey standout Kirsten Dier (Appleton, WI) has been named one of seven finalists for the 2010 BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award, which is given annually to college hockey's finest citizen.
The award seeks to recognize college hockey players—Division I or Division III, male or female—who most personify true community spirit through the selfless commitment of leadership, effort and time. On Friday, Apr. 9, the 2010 Hockey Humanitarian Award recipient will be introduced in a ceremony at Ford Field in Detroit in conjunction with the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four.
Dier is one of three NESCAC student-athletes to be recognized as a finalist, joining Zach Miller '10 of Williams College and Brigid O'Gorman '11 of Connecticut College. The Hockey Humanitarian Award has been presented annually since 1996, and has been awarded to a Division III hockey player three times.
"It's definitely an honor to be a finalist for this award," says Dier. "I feel any number of my teammates deserve just as much recognition for the work they do at Amherst College and in the surrounding community. I'm proud to be a member of a team whose selflessness and commitment to excellence transcend its on-ice achievements."
During Dier's time at Amherst, the Lord Jeffs have posted an astonishing 83-18-11 record (.790), including 50-4-10 (.859) in conference play and 40-7-8 (.800) at home. Amherst won the 2007 and 2008 NESCAC championships before claiming the program's first national title in 2009. A two-time team captain and one of the country's top defensemen, Dier was an All-Conference First Team selection in each of her first two years, and last season was named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team.
Dier is a neuroscience major with a 3.9 GPA, and is one of only two athletes in the Amherst Class of 2010 who was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. During the summer after she helped lead the Jeffs to a national championship, Dier volunteered her time in West Africa as a medical assistant. In addition to taking vitals, administering immunizations and performing procedures under physician supervision, she helped build a new foundation and roof for a school classroom. She has already been accepted to one of the top physician assistant programs in the country at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse/Gundersen/Mayo Clinic.
Dier has also served as a soup kitchen volunteer, worked with Habitat for Humanity on five occasions, and helped with Amherst's annual Change for Change drive, which raises funds for local charities. During her junior year she was honored with Amherst's Samuel Walley Brown scholarship, awarded to the junior who ranks highest in the class in scholarship, character, leadership and athletic ability.
After exploring a number of careers in health professions, Dier decided that work as a physician's assistant would give her the most flexibility to move between specialties, maximize her contact with patients, and allow her to achieve the most balance between her diverse interests, personal life and professional aspirations. "My experiences volunteering in clinics throughout Burkina Faso, West Africa last summer cemented my decision to become a PA," Dier says. "I believe the combination of an MPAS and [Master of Public Health degree] will best prepare me to address community health issues and disparities from clinical and policy perspectives."
"Kirsten possesses a rare combination of competitiveness, athleticism, intelligence and compassion, and does it all with complete humility," says Amherst head coach Jim Plumer. "A coach can go an entire lifetime without meeting someone of Kirsten's caliber. I truly feel blessed to have the opportunity to work with her."
Joining Dier as finalists are Ethan Cox '10 (Colgate University), Dion Knelsen '10 (Alaska Fairbanks), Sam Kuzyk '11 (Adrian College), Zach Miller '10 (Williams College), Brigid O'Gorman '11 (Connecticut College) and Brandon Vossberg '10 (University of Denver). For more information on the Hockey Humanitarian Award and this year's finalists, visit the Hockey Humanitarian website.