Melissa Haskell, Bowdoin College

Melissa Haskell

Few students have made the most of their time at Bowdoin College as Melissa Haskell, whose accomplishments on the court, in the classroom and in the community exemplify the ideals of the Division III student-athlete. 

A four-year letterwinner on the Polar Bear volleyball team, Haskell graduated this spring with a degree in physics, was honored as a Sarah and James Bowdoin Scholar three times, named to CoSIDA’s Capital One Division III Academic All-District team in 2012, and recognized three times as Academic All-NESCAC.

Haskell's performances on the court netted her First-Team All-NESCAC, All-New England and All-American Honorable Mention status in 2012. As an outside hitter, Haskell ranked among the best volleyball players in program history. She finished her career ranked third in career kills (1,039), fourth in career digs (1,235), fifth in career service aces (154) and compiled the fifth most kills in a single season (321). She graduates as a member of the most successful class in Bowdoin volleyball history, contributing to a four-year stretch that established new school record for wins, claimed the 2011 NESCAC Championship and made the school’s first two NCAA Tournament appearances, including a “Sweet 16” appearance in 2012.

Off the court, Haskell has twice completed the Harvard-MIT Health and Science Technology Summer Institute for Biomedical Optics at Massachusetts General Hospital. Her work in physics has included the distinction as the first author presenter at SPIE Photonics West Conference in 2013, while completing an honors research project in physics and receiving the Noel C. Little Prize in experimental physics. Haskell received a Maine Space Grant Consortium and Research for Women in the Physical Sciences fund. She has also received the James Mills Pierce Fellowship for talented prospective Ph.D. students in the natural sciences and engineering at Harvard University for graduate work ending in 2016.

A senior captain, Haskell found time to volunteer as a mentor for Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Additionally, Haskell has been involved with the Relay for Life Planning Committee and was the Subcommittee Chair for this year's event. Haskell worked as a physics lab instructor and volunteered with Bowdoin's Girl’s and Women in Sports Day, along with volunteering for the Coastal Humane Society and participating in Bowdoin’s LGBTQ Out Ally training.

“My sport has taught me how to manage my time and shaped my day-to-day schedule, but it has also given me focus and purpose,” says Haskell. “We hold ourselves and teammates to a high a level of accountability, and my athletic experience has provided the framework for my Bowdoin experience.”