At Avon High, Maggie Hoffman was the epitome of a student-athlete: she played three sports, was class president, and valedictorian.

Now the 25-year-old Tufts University grad is working as a primatologist in the forests of Kibale National Park in Uganda.

There, she collects observational data and performs field experiments with infant and mother chimpanzees at two sites: Kanyawara and Ngogo.

“Kanyawara has proper buildings for us to stay in,” said Hoffman via e-mail, “but at Ngogo there is only one small cabin at camp and I live in a tent.

“I have lots of Tufts T-shirts and sweatshirts with me here that I wear when I’m not in my field gear,’’ added Hoffman, who was a member of the Jumbos’ NCAA Division 3 championship softball teams her first two seasons and then hit a career-best .422 as a senior in 2017.


At Avon High, she was softball captain, pitched multiple no-hitters, and was the four-time Mayflower League MVP. She also was captain and a league all-star in basketball.

As a senior, she was a Globe Foundation Phelps Scholar-Athlete recipient.

Hoffman always has loved and been fascinated by animals.

As a Tufts junior, she interned at the Franklin Park Zoo and during her senior year took a course in primate social behavior.

“I was hooked,’’ she recalled.

After graduation, Hoffman spent a year in Costa Rica as a field assistant with UCLA’s Lomas Barbudal Monkey Project, observing a group of about 250 white-faced capuchins. After her time in Uganda, she hopes to enter a PhD program.

“The level of commitment, work ethic, and ability to come back from failure required of college athletes are all essential in field work,’’ Hoffman said. “Playing college softball and studying wild non-human primates are both extremely demanding, physically and mentally.’’

Maggie Hoffman played softball at Tufts.
Maggie Hoffman played softball at Tufts.Alonso Nichols/Tufts University/Tufts University

Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@globe.com.