Dartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of EngineeringDartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of Engineering

Dartmouth Engineer Makes US Olympic Biathlon Team

By Anna Fiorentino
January 2014 • Thayer By Degrees: MS

Hannah Dreissigacker
Photo by US Biathlon/NordicFocus

For Hannah Dreissigacker '09 Th'10, growing up was marked by national sports competitions and new ideas. Her engineer parents Judy Geer ’75 Th’83 and Dick Dreissigacker, both former Olympic rowers, were always building homemade versions of things and Dreissigacker learned that everything has the potential to be improved. In January, that lesson resonated as she crossed the finish line in the final qualifying race to earn her spot on the US Olympic Biathlon Team in Sochi.

“I was incredibly nervous going in, but I had a good first race and was the top American, and that helped me relax,” says Dreissigacker. “It’s still sinking in that I've actually made the team, and I am so psyched!” She will be racing in the Women's 7.5k Sprint on February 9, the Women's 15k individual on February 14, and the Women's Relay on February 21—other races could be added later.

Dreissigacker, who began skiing at age 3, has a family tree full of Dartmouth engineers. Along with her mother is her grandfather Howard Geer D’39 and her brother Ethan Dreissigacker ’13 who also competes nationally in the biathlon. Her sister Emily Dreissigacker ’11, who earned an economics degree, is a competitive rower.

“Dartmouth is a big family school on my mom's side of the family, but I chose it for my own reasons,” says Dreissigacker, who earned a combined degree in engineering and studio art. “The school has a really good ski team so that was a huge plus, and I liked the project-oriented focus at Thayer.”

Italy Trees
Hannah will show her paintings this February in her hometown Morrisville, VT

It’s no surprise that her parents also run a Vermont-based non-profit organization called the Craftsbury Outdoor Center where they use sustainable living practices and support national-level athletes.  Her father, along with her uncle, founded Concept2, the world’s premier provider of rowing exercise equipment, including the first carbon-fiber oars for rowing and a rowing machine that uses air resistance.

As for Dreissigacker, she supplements her training and competing with painting—she has a show starting this February in her hometown Morrisville, VT— and dabbling in sustainable design and renewable energy.

“I've been involved in a number of projects at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center—working with a local architect to help model the envelope and energy use of a new green building, and designing a compost system and helping to convert the Center to run on renewable energy,” she says. But from now through February, the Olympic athlete will have just one thing on her mind: improving her time in Sochi.

Tags: alumni, arts, energy, environment

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