Written by Logan Patton
We are pleased to introduce a new feature to GoCaltech.com - our Senior Profiles, highlighting seniors from across all intercollegiate sports. Our goal is to make this a regular feature toward the end of each week, and hope you enjoy reading about our student-athletes' incredible journeys, accomplishments and future plans.
Senior Bridget Connor (Albuquerque, N.M. / Albuquerque Acad.) has been in the Beaver community for the past three-and-a-half years, being extremely active both in and out of the classroom. Unanimously regarded as one of the hardest-working student-athletes on campus, she has been a key member of the women's basketball and track and field teams, captaining the former in this, her final season.
After attending Albuquerque Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Connor chose to attend Caltech over schools such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Case Western Reserve University, Carnegie-Mellon University and Tufts University.
"It was a tough decision for a lot of reasons and I'm not sure that there was a clear-cut reason why I chose Caltech, but I think it honestly came down to basketball," Connor said. "I'd had a lot of interaction with Coach [Sandra] Marbut at Caltech and very little with the MIT basketball coach. I wanted the opportunity to keep playing basketball in college so I chose Caltech. I certainly don't regret my decision.
Connor has amassed over 500 points, nearly 400 rebounds, more than 100 assists and over 60 steals in her career on the court, including highs of 10.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in her junior season. Along with basketball, she has competed in the pole vault and javelin competitions events for track and field, placing seventh and scoring two points in the javelin while finishing just six inches out of the scoring in pole vault at the 2014 SCIAC Championships. She ranks fourth on the program's all-time record board in the javelin, with a long throw of 110 feet and 7 ¾ inches, and fifth in the pole vault, having cleared nine feet and ½ inch – just 11 ½ inches shy of the top mark.
"I've been playing basketball competitively since third grade," Connor said. "I got hooked by playing pickup on the playground at recess with all the boys. I actually picked up track my freshman year in college. I was always sort of tempted to quit softball and go do track because pole-vaulting looked fun, but I never did. Then I came to Caltech, and there's no softball team here, so I decided it was time to try track – and I loved it!"
As a chemistry major, Connor has also been busy in the classroom, working on research with Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) every year since attending Caltech.
"During my sophomore year, I started working in the lab of Professor Jonas Peters," Connor said. "I'm still working in this lab now, and I'm currently working on my senior thesis, in which I'm studying activation of H2 by a di-nickel complex.
She plans on pursuing a PhD in chemistry after graduation, and is currently deciding between attending Stanford University, UC Berkeley, MIT and Northwestern University.
"Some of the best times I've had while I've been at Caltech include the feeling I get after setting a personal record in pole vault or javelin and the fun of hanging out with the basketball team," Connor said. "My teammates have been my best friends over the last 3.5 years and it's always great to spend time together. We've had a lot of good times."
Connor's senior year is far from over, as she has two basketball games remaining – including Senior Night on Saturday, Feb. 21 – and what could be a special track and field season as she looks to score in both the javelin and pole vault at the SCIAC Championships while threatening both Caltech records.