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The Rare & Meaningful Experience of Undergraduate Research


Ask questions. Explore the possibilities. Start discovering the answers at Bridgewater College.

At BC, you’ll have unique opportunities for research as an undergraduate. You can perform research projects in partnership with a faculty mentor, either during the semester or the summer. It’s critical preparation for graduate school and a great way to apply what you’ve learned.

More than $55,000 was awarded to support undergraduate summer research projects in 2017. What will you study in 2018?

Research for Academic Credit

To receive credit for research or independent projects at Bridgewater, you’ll need to follow the requirements and register for one of the following:

  • Internship (480)
  • Independent Study (490)
  • Independent Research (491)
  • Honors Project (500)

See the current academic catalog and talk to your advisor for more details.

The Research Experience @Bridgewater

The Research Experience @Bridgewater is a donor-funded initiative providing support for teams of BC faculty and undergraduate students to spend the summer in collaborative research and creative, scholarly work in any discipline. Faculty members invite undergraduates to participate as a collaborator in their summer scholarly work. Students are provided with a stipend and free housing on campus during the course of the research.

Interested in stream restoration and habitat contamination? How about combining laser Doppler vibrometry and mathematical models to identify individuals at a distance? Have you wondered whether addicts view the causes of their addictions differently than do healthcare providers?

In 2017, Bridgewater faculty and students are worked together in small groups to explore these important questions, and more. Think what you might discover. Start planning for 2018 now!

See the application form for additional information.

2017 Recipients and Projects:

  • Elisha Napir (with Dr. Moshe Khurgel), “Metabolic Control of Limb Regeneration in Ambystoma mexicanu
  • David Oliver (with Dr. Moshe Khurgel), “Does increase in locomotion facilitate limb regeneration?”
  • Francisco Escalera (with Dr. Chris James), “Mapping the Cathedral: Huysmans & Chartre”
  • Jacqueline (Jackie) Lamas (with Dr. Donna Hancock Hoskins), “Building Intergenerational Connections: The Effects of Service Learning on Undergraduate Students and Elderly Recipients of Service”
  • Clara Metzler (with Prof. Skip Burzamato), “Assessing Community Food Needs in Rockingham County, Virginia”
  • Sean M. Alberts (with Dr. Jason Ybarra), “Accuracy of Estimated Cluster Masses from Small Number of Observations”

2016 Recipients and Projects:

  • Meredith Morgan (Psychology, with Dr. Brian Kelley), “Effects of adolescent exposure to oxycontin and alcohol on reward systems in adult and adolescent mice”
  • Megan Ford (Psychology, with Dr. Brian Kelley), “Effects of adolescent exposure to oxycontin and alcohol on reward systems in adult and adolescent mice”
  • Matthew Wampler (Math and Physics, with Dr. Verne Leininger), “Exploring g,k Reverse Multiples Using Young Graphs and Number Theory”
  • Marshall Miller (Political Science, with Dr. Szymon Stojek), “United States’ role in domestic armed conflicts of Guatemala, Grenada, and Panama: Ideologically motivated or driven by special interests”
  • John Moran (Computer Science, with Dr. Eric McGregor), “A First Graph Library for Babylon.JS”
  • Jeff Felton (History, with Dr. Steven Longenecker), “Early’s Tarheels: North Carolina Soldier Experiences in the Shenandoah Valley, June – December, 1864”
  • Chandler Parker (Biology, with Dr. Tracy Deem), “Role of IL-3 in immune responses to Plasmodium berghei in a murine model of malaria”

Martin Science Research Institute

Through the Martin Science Research Institute, student and faculty teams receive up to $5,000 to conduct a summer research project in the natural sciences. A stipend and free housing on campus enables students to make their summer job one of research and exploration.

You never know what you might discover. You’ll be guided by faculty in an area they know well and have opportunities that go way beyond a typical class. Think what you might explore.

2017 Recipients and Projects:

  • Sabrina Volponi (with Dr. Tamara Johnstone-Yellin), “Effects of Landscape Heterogeneity and Forest Management on Digestibility of White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus Virginianus) Diets”
  • Laurel Marie Glover (with Dr. Tamara Johnstone-Yellin), “Effects of Landscape Heterogeneity and Forest Management on Digestibility of White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus Virginianus) Diets”
  • Allen Ervin (with Dr. Greg Tait), “The Detection and Characterization of Weak Seismic Waves using Optical Fiber Bragg Grating Sensor”

2016 Recipients and Projects:

  • Michelle Alty (Physics, with Dr. Jason Ybarra),“Near-Infrared Spectroscopic Study of Young Stars within the Rosette Nebula”
  • Rachel Keiger (Biology, with Dr. Moshe Khurgel), “Use of Differential Proteomics to Study Limb Regeneration in Axolotls”

The Institute is named for Dr. John W. Martin Jr., who taught in the chemistry department from 1961 until his retirement in 1985 and was one of Bridgewater College's most beloved professors.

See the application form for additional details on the process.

Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) Undergraduate Science Research Fellowship

The VFIC awards $2,000 for a supervised undergraduate summer research project in the sciences. Applications are typically due in March. Contact your advisor for additional information.

2017 Recipients and Projects:

  • Alexis Leigh Czarnatowicz (with Dr. Jason Ybarra), “Cluster Analysis Using Mixture Models That Incorporate Velocity Data”
  • Chandler Parker (with Dr.Tracy Deem), “Role of IL-3 in immune responses to Plasmodium berghei in a murine model of malaria”

2016 Recipients and Projects:

  • Hunter Layman (Physics, with Dr. Deva O’Neil), “Analyzing and Visualizing CPT Symmetry” (VFIC/NewMarket Fellowship)
  • Michelle Spencer (Biochemistry, with Dr. Robert Hammill) “Modulation of Hoffmann Reflex in Patients with Chronic Ankle Instability” (VFIC General Fellowship)
  • Kara Jones (Biology, with Dr. Stephen Baron) “Effect of Carbon Starvation on Transcription of the Polyhydroxybutyrate Depolymerase Gene of Streptomyces sp. 5A” (VFIC/Carilion Fellowship)

Southern Education Leadership Institute Fellowship

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund is offering to fund 20 juniors, seniors, and graduate students from 42 private liberal arts colleges like Bridgewater, to participate in the Southern Education Leadership Institute. Awardees will work for eight weeks during June and July in a nonprofit organization concerned with equity and excellence in education. A stipend of $4,500 plus travel expenses will be paid, and Fellows will work on challenging research, education policy, and nonprofit program–related projects. Applications will be due in February, and additional information on application processes will be forthcoming. More information is available here.

Presentation and Publication

You might present your research at state and national conferences. Or publish your research as a paper in a prestigious publication. All as an undergraduate! Contact your department chair or academic advisor for opportunities in your field.

Faculty Research Opportunities

Find out more about the research opportunities for BC faculty.

International Research Opportunities