NSU’s women’s soccer team head coach Mike Goodrich recruited Hayley Oligane because he knew she was a star on the field. At NSU, she earned Female Scholar Athlete of the Year. The NCAA also nominated her for Woman of the Year. However, few could anticipate the incredible legacy Oligane would leave off the field.
Her research on aquatic endangered species won first-place honors at the Undergraduate Student Symposium. Upon graduating from the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences, Oligane (B.S.’09) was presented with the James Farquhar Award for excellence in scholarship, service, and leadership.
Now a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine candidate, Oligane is changing lives and changing the world. With 15 of her NSU classmates, she participated in her first medical mission to Bangladesh. For two weeks, she treated patients in a rural clinic setting. She comments, “We were diagnosing and treating patients who normally saw a doctor once every four months. It reminded us of medicine’s humanistic side.”
Her second volunteer mission, this time to Nepal, was made possible through the relief organization called the Mountain Fund. She taught and assisted with educational activities at the Orchid Garden, a day care/education center founded by Bina Basnet. Nearly 200 children born to lower income households learn and play while their parents work, often longer than 12 hour shifts. After eight years of age, they are placed in hostels and require sponsors for school.
During educational activities, Oligane discovered a common bond with the students. “Soccer is Nepal’s national sport. I saw an opportunity for them to enjoy being children. In a place where many lack even the most basic of life’s necessities, this is important.”
That’s when coach Goodrich and assistant coach Shurell Burton received the phone call from Oligane. “I asked for a donation of old equipment – anything they could spare. Within 24 hours, the team took up a collection of soccer balls, clothing and equipment. The children were elated.”
Since then, Burton made the collection of these items an end-of-season tradition. Oligane says proudly, “ As an undergraduate, the women's soccer team was my second family. It’s wonderful to have that kind of support.”
Now applying for her residency in diagnostic radiology, Oligane continues on her academic path. Next year, she plans to return to Nepal and complete a rural rotation. “The mission trip was something I did for myself. "I've seen firsthand that no matter how small your contribution, one person can make a difference"
However, she says “I want to go beyond my volunteerism.” With the Orchid Garden, Oligane is using the photos and videos she collected during her journey to raise awareness and encourage others to sponsor the children.
“I never imagined that for less than $1 a day, you can educate a child. That’s the kind of sponsorship even a college student can afford!” She concludes, “I believe that we were all born with two fundamental rights: the right to medical care, and the right to education. With that, we all have opportunity.”