Student with professor working on a research project in a science lab
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Partners in discovery

As a Bridgewater student, you can work closely with a faculty member to conduct cutting-edge research. And you don’t have to wait until you’re a junior or senior—you can get started almost immediately.

Partners in Research

Dr. Stephen Baron, Harry G.M. Jopson Professor of Biology, uses research as a teaching tool in his biology classes as well as in independent student projects. His goal is to discover the “spark of learning” in each student, and says he often sees students blossom during research projects.

He mentors two to three students per semester and guides them in projects related to his research focus on biodegradable plastics, as well as in projects of their own design.

Beyond the Classroom

During his junior and senior years, biology major Daniel Jones ’21 worked on an independent microbiology research project in Dr. Baron’s lab, studying gene codes related to specific proteins and their function. His first two years at Bridgewater, Daniel worked with Dr. Moshe Khurgel to assess factors that affect the motility of axolotls, a neotenic salamander.

Both research experiences enhanced Daniel’s problem-solving skills and self-reliance and helped solidify his plans to attend graduate school.


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 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?

Bridgewater faculty and students worked together to explore these important questions, and more. Think what you might discover. Start planning your project now!

Please contact the Director of Student Research, Dr. Elizabeth MacDougall at, for more information.

2024 Recipients and Projects:

  • Elizabeth Burzumato (with Dr. Sam Hamilton), a professional writing major from Harrisonburg, Va., “Worldbuilding in Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Tabletop Roleplaying Games”
  • Rory Cantwell (with Dr. Jenny Martin), a liberal studies major from Lancaster, Pa., “Summer Literacy Intervention on Improving Attitudes Towards Reading and Writing”
  • Mighty Doffoe (with Dr. Verne Leininger), a computer science major from Takoradi, Ghana, “A search for a power series with cubic items which has equally spaced roots”
  • Jared Mullins (with Dr. Sevinj Iskandarova), a business administration major from Tazewell, Va., “Customer Perspectives on AI Implementation in Industry: Exploring Benefits, Concerns, Governmental Rules, and Regulations”
  • Eric Wilbur (with Dr. Brandon Marsh), a history major from Olney, Md., “Intelligence Failures and the Iraqi Revolt of 1920”

2023 Recipients and Projects:

  • Lucas Bauer (with Visiting Assistant Professor of Health and Human Sciences Dr. Robert Shute), a sophomore health and exercise science major from Glen Allen, Va., “Effects of water immersion on skeletal muscle activation, fatigue and whole-body gas exchange.”
  • Jared Nichols (with Assistant Professor of Business Administration Dr. Nuraddeen Nuhu), a sophomore business administration major from Check, Va., “Understanding customer loyalty in the automobile industry: The case of Ford motors in the state of Virginia.”
  • Jamie Rexrode (with Associate Professor of Health and Human Sciences Dr. Donna Hoskins), a sophomore family and consumer sciences major from Mineral, Va., “Instructional processes among teachers of young children: The context of inquiry in the project-based classroom.” 

2022 Recipients and Projects:

  • Catherine Grace Clem (with Dr. Bobbi Gentry), a political science and English double major from Staunton, Va., “State Spending on Infrastructure Through Time”
  • Rachel Cubbage (with Dr. Sam Hamilton), a professional writing and computer science double major from Stanley, Va., “Worldbuilding & Adventure Design in Table-Top Role-Playing Games
  • Diamond Hawkins (with Dr. Verne Leininger), a data science and analytics major from Nokesville, Va., “A Database to Analyze Chicken Depictions in European Painting”
  • Kiersten Haynes (with Dr. Elizabeth MacDougall), a psychology major from Inwood, W.Va., “Religious Beliefs, Stress Overload, and Mental Health”
  • Anton Kopti (with Dr. Verne Leininger), a computer science major and math minor from McLean, Va., “A Compendium of Exact Sums of Infinite Series”
  • Aidan Keller (with Dr. Michael Ray), a health and exercise science and Spanish double major from Strasburg, Va., “A cross-cultural literature review of the effectiveness of pain neuroscience education techniques with chronic pain patients in United States and Latin American communities”

2021 Recipients and Projects:

  • Abigail Gaver (with Dr. Eric McGregor), a junior computer science major from Hagerstown, Md., “ – A Online Textbook”
  • Seth Spire (with Dr. Janne Flory), a senior math and computer science double major from Bridgewater, Va., “Developing a New Analytics Model for Combatting CRISES”
  • Ben Chatterton (with Dr. Brandon Marsh), a senior history and economics double major from Waynesboro, Va., “A Virginia Household’s Relationship with the British Empire”

2020 Recipients and Projects:

  • Dareen Awwad, a junior applied physics and business administration double major, from Ramallah, Palestine (with Dr. Jason Ybarra), “Neural Network Analysis of Handwritten Astronomical Records”
  • Erin M. Fitzpatrick, a senior political science major with minors in Spanish and peace studies, from Wyoming, Mich. (with Dr. Kevin Pallister), “Elections in Latin America”
  • Jacob W. Howard, a junior computer science major with a minor in mathematics, from Ruckersville, Va. (with Dr. Verne Leininger), “Translating an Analytical Approximation of Gravitational Waves into Python Code”
  • Anastasiya P. Kalyuk, a senior professional writing major, from Grottoes, Va. (with Dr. Sam Hamilton), “A Framework for Writing Self-Efficacy”
  • Cailyn P. Leo, a senior biology major, from Pasadena, Md. (with Dr. Moshe Khurgel), “Sex Determination in Axolotls using PCR”
  • Gemma E. Leonard, a senior health and exercise science major, from Sterling, Va. (with Dr. Jill Lassiter), “The Impact of Service Learning on the Success of Undergraduate Students in Healthcare Professions”
  • Emily A. Schloss, a sophomore biology major, from Chantilly, Va. (with Dr. Moshe Khurgel), “Study of Weak Electrical Fields in Axolotl Regeneration”
  • Joshua M. Sprouse, a senior biology major, from Charlottesville, Va. (with Dr. Ed Lickey), “Determining Gene Flow between Baldcypress and Pondcypress” and
  • Kenneth J. Williams, a senior computer science major from King George Va. with Dr. Janne Flory), “Future Improvements of Data Integration Models.”

2019 Recipients and Projects:

  • Lauren Buckhout (with Dr. Timothy Kreps), “Addressing Food Insecurity in Rockingham County with an Organic Garden and complementary Education Program
  • Olivia Heeb-Wade (with Dr. Anna Leal), “The Effects of Prenatal Probiotics on Physical Endurance in Rats: Introduction of a Probiotic Supplement Early in Life”
  • Iyad Hmidat (with Dr. Bobbi Gentry), “Anti-BDS Legislation: What Motivates it on the State Level?”
  • Joan Lee (with Dr. Beth Lehman), “The Literary Canon and Other Forces Impacting Text Selection and Ideology in High School English from the 19th to 21st Century”
  • Robert Marenick (with Dr. Sam Hamilton), “Recruitment, Retention, and Outreach: The Creation and Implementation of Secondary Teacher Recognition Program at Bridgewater College”
  • Luke Morgan (with Dr. Bobbi Gentry), “The Relationship between Evangelical Christianity, Political Ideology, and Values”
  • Noah Robertson (with Dr. Kyle Kelleran), “The Effects of Physical Exercise on Salivary MicroRNA Levels”
  • Patrick David Sly (with Dr. Eric McGregor), “Using D3.js, an Online Textbook”
  • Angela Tolomei (with Dr. Scott Cole), “Brecht’ The Caucasian Chalk Circle: A Study in Translation and Adaptation”
  • Tyler H. Townsend (with Dr. Geraldine P. Suter), “Art Is and Remains a Rare Thing”: Alfred Döblin’ Drama through a Marxist Lens”

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.

2024 Recipients and Projects:

  • Isaac Plange (with Dr. Derli Amaral), an engineering major from Takoradi, Ghana, “Pump Suction Data Measurement and Turbulence”
  • Ifeatu Udokwu (with Dr. Barnabas Otoo), a biology major from Abuja, Nigeria, “Proposal for the synthesis of the antibiotic : 4-Methyl-3-(naphthalen1-yl)-4-phenyloxetan-2-one”
  • Brockton, Zorn (with Dr. Rippa Sehgal), a biochemistry major from Rocky Mount, Va., “Compiling the enzyme structures belonging to the SDR family using protein structure visualization software”

2023 Recipients and Projects:

  • Cheyenne Barlow (with Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Moshe Khurgel), a junior health and exercise science major from Culpeper, Va., “Determination of optimal methods for altering rates of axolotl locomotion and metabolism”
  • Cameron Martindale (with Assistant Professor of Applied Physics Dr. Derli Amaral), a first-year applied physics major from Salem, Va., “Four degrees of freedom leg with stability control supported by rotacasters.”
  • Andrew Rodriguez (with Assistant Professor of Biochemistry Dr. Rippa Sehgal), a junior biochemistry major from Rockingham, Va., “Crystallography of 12α-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase from Methanospheara stadtmanae.” 

2022 Recipients and Projects:

  • Alexander Hulleman (with Dr. Moshe Khurgel), a health and exercise science major from Harrisonburg, Va., “Will increased locomotion influence the rate of limb regeneration in axolotls?”
  • Alison Grace Keister (with Dr. Kim Bolyard), a biology (wildlife emphasis) major from Penn Laird, Va., “Impact of Environmental Pollution in the Shenandoah Valley on Habitat Use of Longnose dace (Rhinichthys cataractae): An Investigation of Substrate Preference”
  • Ethan Moses (with Dr. Kim Bolyard), an environmental science major from Newport News, Va., “Do environmental pollutants effect habitat selection of longnose dace? A test of water flow/current preference
  • Andrew Rodriguez (with Dr. Stephen Baron), a biochemistry major from Rockingham, Va., “Cloning and overexpression of a leucine-responsive regulator gene from Streptomyces nymphaeiformis ” (co-funded with the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges)

2021 Recipients and Projects:

  • Youmna Moawad (with Dr. Steve Baron), a senior biochemistry major from Rockingham, Va., “Effects on polyhydroxybutyrate degradation of introducing a leucine-responsive regulator gene into wild type and bald mutant strains of Streptomyces sp. SFB5A.”

2020 Recipients and Projects:

  • Daniel R. Hancock, a senior physics major, from Ferrum, Va. (with Dr. Deva O’Neil), “Translating an Analytical Approximation of Gravitational Waves into Python Code”
  • Anton M. Kopti, a sophomore computer science major with a minor in mathematics, from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem (with Dr. Jason Ybarra), “Using King Model Simulations to Refine Virial Cluster Mass Estimates”
  • Kynah B. Walston, a senior psychology major, from Fairfield, Pa. (with Dr. Curtis Bradley), “Effects of Gender and Gustatory Reinforcers on Caffeine and Ethanol Self-Administration in Mice.”

2019 Recipients and Projects:

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.

2022 Recipients and Projects:

  • Andrew Rodriguez (with Dr. Stephen Baron), a biochemistry major from Rockingham, VA, “Cloning and overexpression of a leucine-responsive regulator gene from Streptomyces nymphaeiformis ” (co-funded with the Martin Science Research Institute)

2021 Recipients and Projects:

2019 Recipients and Projects:

  • Melissa Lempicki (with Dr. Stephen Baron), “Use of a Gene Library of Streptomyces sp. SFB5A to Restore Phenotypic Characteristics of a Bald Mutant”

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.

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.

Questions? Contact us!

Dr. Elizabeth MacDougall
Director of Student Research
540-828-8095 |