Bridgewater College Recognizes Excellence in Chemistry

College Awards - Honoring Outstanding Students

Bridgewater College’s Department of Chemistry has recognized eight students for their accomplishments in chemistry and research.

The John Martin Award for Organic Chemistry was presented to Marshall Ritchie. The award is presented to an outstanding student in organic chemistry, given in memory of Dr. John W. Martin Jr., class of 1947, who served on the Bridgewater faculty for 24 years, preparing students for careers in medicine and pharmaceutical work.

Ritchie, a sophomore biochemistry major from Weyers Cave, Va., is a member of the Screamin’ Eagles Marching Band and the Symphonic Band. He completed a research project titled “The Boro-Mediated Aldol Route for the Synthesis of a Fluoxetine Analog.”

Upon graduating from BC in 2024, Ritchie hopes to attend graduate school to pursue a career in pharmacology.

Kara Eppard and Tyler Deutsch each received a Dr. Stuart R. Suter Endowed Scholarship of $2,500 for the 2022-23 academic year. The award is presented to chemistry students with an interest in research and a minimum grade point average of 3.2.

Eppard, a sophomore chemistry and biology double major from Elkton, Va., is a member of the Flory Honors Society and a resident advisor (RA) on campus. She completed an organic chemistry research project on the synthesis of fluoxetine analog.

Upon graduating from BC in 2024, Eppard hopes to attend graduate school.

Deutsch, a junior biochemistry major from Bear, Del., is a captain on the men’s soccer team. In addition, Deutsch is a tutor for organic chemistry and human anatomy, a teaching assistant for general chemistry, an academic coach and a member of the Pre-Health Society. During the College’s Celebration of the Arts, Scholarship, Performance, Innovation and Research Excellence (ASPIRE) in 2021, he presented research on the qualitative measurements of stability of ATP at varying pH.

Following graduation in 2023, Deutsch plans to apply to medical school with the ultimate goal of joining the military to work with wounded soldiers as a military doctor.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) Outstanding Senior Award was given to Benjamin Hancock. Hancock received a one-year membership in the ACS, presented by the Virginia Section of the American Chemical Society.

Hancock, a senior chemistry major from Ferrum, Va., is a member of the Alpha Chi honor society, the Jazz Band, saxophone quartet and Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru). He completed an honors project titled “Hysteresis of Photocurrent Decay and Growth in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells Under Intermittent Light.”

Hancock will be attending the University of Rochester in New York to pursue a Ph.D. in optics.

Kate Dear and Mary Shifflett were presented the Garland L. Reed Award that recognizes the best chemistry project conducted during the year at the College and includes a $900 cash prize for each recipient. The award is named in memory of Garland L. Reed, a 1948 Bridgewater graduate in chemistry who had a distinguished career in the Food and Drug Administration.

Dear, a junior biochemistry major from Virginia Beach, Va., is a member of the Concert Choir and Chorale, as well as a student lifeguard, tutor and member of the Flory Honors Program. She is currently president of the Pre-Health Society. Off campus, Dear is an EMT with the Bridgewater Rescue Squad and an emergency department technician at Sentara RMH. She is also the current children’s ministry intern at Harrisonburg Baptist Church.

Dear has completed three research projects during her time at BC: “Microbial Analysis of Bridgewater College Pool Deck: Selection and Identification of Gram-Negative and Gram-Positive Bacteria,” “Isolation and Purification of Bacteriophages from Bridgewater, Va.” and “Molecular Biology Cloning of 12α-HSDH.”

Following graduation from BC in 2023, Dear plans to attend a physician assistant program with the long-term goal to work in a low-income, heavily Hispanic populated area to provide basic health care such as wellness checks, sick visits and emergency situation medicine.

Shifflett, a junior biochemistry major from Grottoes, Va., is a member of the women’s basketball team, the Chemistry Club, the Alpha Chi honor society and the peer education group BC United. At BC, she completed a research poster on qualitative measurements of stability of ATP at varying pH using UV-Vis Spectroscopy.

Following graduation from BC in 2023, Shifflett hopes to attend graduate school for biophysical chemistry.

Leigha Dillard and Erica Nelson received the Joseph M. and Jane A. Crockett Awards. The Joseph M. and Jane A. Crockett Award recognizes excellence in academic performance of two first-year students in chemistry courses. This award is named for Dr. Joseph M. Crockett, and his wife, Jane. Crockett, professor of chemistry at Bridgewater College for 35 years, retired at the end of the 2019-20 academic year, holding the position of the A. LeRoy and Wanda H. Baker Chair of Science.

Dillard, a biochemistry major from Keezletown, Va., is a member of the cheerleading team. Upon graduating from BC in 2025, she hopes to pursue research in the chemistry field.

Nelson, a biochemistry major from Lexington Park, Md., is a member of the softball team and Morgan’s Message, an organization that works to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health within the student-athlete community. After graduating from BC in 2025, she hopes to pursue a master’s degree in forensic science to eventually work within law enforcement doing criminal investigations.

Media Contact: 
Logan Bogert 
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(540) 828-5486