New Canaan Scholars Recognized for Excellence

NCHS junior receives Governor's Award; eight New Canaan Students make UConn Dean's List.

O'Rourke Receives Governor's Scholars Award

When Maggie O'Rourke talks about her interest in biology, particularly the research she has done for the past several summers at the Marine Biological Laboratories, Woods Hole, MA, her enthusiasm is infectious. 

"Last summer I participated a lot in the lab work. I created my own DNA plasmid — a ring of a DNA strand. I was able to inject it into one-celled zebra fish embryos," she explained.

As this Patch reporter struggled to keep up, she patiently continued, "My DNA was coding for cells on their scales to illuminate."

The point of the experiment, she said, was to track the cells of these fish to investigate wound healing. The hope is that what is learned from zebra fish could one day be applied to humans.

While O'Rourke said that science and math are her first loves, she is also able to explain her passion for these disciplines through her skill as a writer.

It was her essay about her work at Woods Hole, as well as her outstanding academic record, that secured her a designation as one of thirty Governor's Scholar recipients.

The award, given by the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS), with the support of Big Y Markets, is the culmination of a nominating process involving all CAS member schools from around the state. Schools nominate one junior ranking in the top four percent of his/her class.

On May 19, at a luncheon in Southington, Maggie received her award, along with a check for $300 from Big Y. 

When not pursuing her studies, O'Rourke runs cross country, as well as indoor and outdoor track. Having just completed a term as President of the , she is involved with Best Buddies and Student Advocates, a group which develops student seminars, and will be next year's president of the

"I love English too, I like to write poetry," she further explains. A favorite outlet for her expression is the Spectator, the NCHS literary magazine.

UConn Spring 2011 Dean's List Includes Eight New Canaan Scholars

Thomas Balkun, Kelly Hallinan, Anna Hughes, Neale Hutcheson, Thomas Michael, Daniel Nguyen, Samuel Volet and Melissa Wynne, all of New Canaan, were among those named to the most recent Dean's List at the University of Connecticut.


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