2022 Biology Awards Presented at Bridgewater College

College Awards - Honoring Outstanding Students

Bridgewater College’s Department of Biology has recognized six seniors for their accomplishments in biology and environmental science.

Colton Allison, Lauren Witmer and Britney Young received Excellence in Biology awards. The award is presented to graduating seniors who place in the top 10% of the class as determined by grade point average (GPA) within the biology major.

Allison, a biology major from Elkton, Va., is a member of the Alpha Chi national honor society and TriBeta biological honor society. During the 2021-22 academic year, he served as vice president for the BC Pre-Health Society. Since the summer of 2018, Allison has been an active Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with the Harrisonburg (Va.) Rescue Squad.

During his time at BC, he completed two research projects: “Isolation and Purification of Bacteriophages from Bridgewater, Virginia” and “The Cloning of a Suspected 12α-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase Gene from Methanobrevibacter smithii into Escherichia coli.”

As an aspiring physician, Allison is applying for medical school following graduating from BC on May 7.

Witmer, a biology and chemistry double major from Salem, Va., is also a member of Alpha Chi and TriBeta. She is also a member of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity and the Philomathes Society, which encourages scholarship and recognizes BC students, faculty and alumni who have achieved

unusual distinction in the pursuit of knowledge. At BC she was a member of the Chemistry Club and president of the Pre-Health Society. Witmer also tutored several biology and chemistry courses and served as a lab assistant for general chemistry courses for two semesters.

Last summer, Witmer completed research with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a College Summer Opportunities to Advance Research (CSOAR) intern. She continued as a research volunteer and in fall 2021 completed a research project titled “Defining Genetic Adaptations in Clinical Bacterial Isolates from Cystic Fibrosis.” She shared her results at BC’s celebration of the Arts, Scholarship, Performance, Innovation and Research Excellence (ASPIRE).

Post-graduation, Witmer plans to attend medical school with the goal of becoming a pediatrician.

Young, a biology major from Lyndhurst, Va., is also a member of Alpha Chi and TriBeta, as well as the Philomathes Society. During her time at BC, she completed two honors projects: “Identification of Mutations in the phaZ Gene of Bald Mutants of Streptomyces sp. SFB5A” and “PCR Screening of Bald Mutants of Streptomyces sp. SFB5A for Potential Gene Deletions.”

Young will pursue a master’s degree as a certified physician assistant through the physician assistant program at Mary Baldwin University’s Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences.

Lane Phillips and Camryn Rosenberger were presented Excellence in Environmental Science awards, given to the top graduating seniors as determined by GPA within the environmental science major.

Phillips, an environmental science and applied chemistry double major from Timberville, Va., was president of the Environmental Science Club, in the Flory Honors program and a member of the Chemistry Club. On campus, he worked as a lab assistant and lab maintenance assistant, academic coach, student ambassador and resident advisor. Phillips completed a literature review titled “COVID-19 Pandemic Effect on the Environment” for his honors project.

Following graduation, Phillips plans to work in the freshwater resources sector in a water or soil testing lab as a lab technician.

Rosenberger, a biology and environmental science double major from Mount Jackson, Va., is a member of TriBeta. She completed independent research that was presented at the Virginia Chapter of the Wildlife Society annual meetings, “Occurrence of bird-window collisions in a rural setting (Bridgewater College campus)” and “Effects of on-campus activity during a pandemic on the occurrence of bird-window collisions at Bridgewater College.”

Following graduation, Rosenberger is continuing a temporary position at the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro, Va., as a front desk coordinator. When that position is complete, she plans to work in the field of wildlife and wildlife education.

Cheyenne Villarosa, a biology major from Knoxville, Md., received the Outstanding Research in Biology Award, presented for the best undergraduate research in biology.

Villarosa was president of TriBeta and a member of the Asian Student Association. On campus, she served as a lab assistant, biology tutor and an animal care technician for axolotls. She completed an honors project titled “Cache like a Squirrel: Effects of Long-Term Storage on Crude Fat Content of Q. Palustris and Q. ALba Acorns” and represented BC at the Association of Southeastern Biologists annual meeting in 2022.

Post-graduation, Villarosa will be completing internships with CVCA Cardiac Care for Pets, VCA Leesburg Veterinary Internal Medicine and VetUrgency in Frederick, Md., with plans to attend veterinary school in the future.

Media Contact: 
Logan Bogert 
Communications Coordinator 
(540) 828-5486