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The Research Experience @ Bridgewater

Summer 2023 Projects

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.

See the projects below for more information and to read personal thank you notes.

Student holding up a book titled "Problem Solving with Young Children" smiling for the camera

Jamie Rexrode ’25
Hometown: Mineral, Va.
Major: Family and Consumer Science
Research Project: “Instructional processes among teachers of young children: The context of inquiry in the project-based classroom.”
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Donna Hoskins

Dear Supporters of The Research Experience @ Bridgewater,

This summer I completed a review of literature under the supervision of the Department Chair of Health and Human Sciences, Dr. Donna Hoskins. My research involved analyzing 25 academic sources on the topic of preschool teachers. More specifically, I learned about the effect preschool education has on children, the ideal methods to instill in a preschool classroom, and the obstacles that prevent teachers from implementing said methods. A significant finding of the study was that the majority of preschool teachers are unable to promote learning effectively due to a lack of systemic support. Examples of said support are smaller class sizes, greater financial support, and adequate training in child development. The culmination of my project was synthesizing a 25-page review of literature. Dr. Hoskins will also use this information and review of the literature as a basis to conduct her own studies while on sabbatical in the spring.

A little about myself: I am a junior and am majoring in human development and family studies (HDFS). After my time at Bridgewater College, I plan to attend occupational therapy (OT) school. I hope to one day be a pediatric occupational therapist. I have a specific interest in the development of children in early childhood (newborn-8 years old). This research experience has been of great value to me for several reasons. Since I want to work with children and have a special interest in early childhood, this research allowed me to learn more about what children of this age range require to learn effectively. In addition to what I learned, the experience of conducting research and synthesizing a review of literature this large will prepare me for the research I will do in OT school.

I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about my area of interest. The experience meant a great deal to me both academically and personally. Thank you for funding this experience for me.

Jamie Rexrode (she/her)

Student smiling for camera with his arm over a book

Jared Nichols ’25
Hometown: Check, Va.
Major: Business Administration
Research Project: “Understanding customer loyalty in the automobile industry: The case of Ford motors in the state of Virginia.”
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nuraddeen Nuhu

Dear Esteemed Supporters,

Thank you very much for your generous support.

My name is Jared Nichols, and I am a junior at Bridgewater College. I am an honors student majoring in business administration. I am also pursuing a marketing concentration and a minor in leadership and community engagement. Alongside my academic studies, I play football at Bridgewater. First and foremost, I would like to thank you for supporting this experience for students like me at Bridgewater College. This program has given me the opportunity to learn invaluable research skills, as well as discover some very interesting marketing lessons.

During my summer research project, I worked alongside a professor, Dr. Nuhu. Together, we embarked on a research journey to unearth pivotal themes concerning customer loyalty among Ford owners in Virginia. Employing a blend of quantitative and qualitative methods such as surveys, interviews, and a focus group, we unearthed several key themes that underpin customer perceptions of the Ford Motor brand.

As we begin polishing and finalizing our report, we plan to have our research published in an academic journal. In addition to this, Dr. Nuhu and I plan to attend the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) conference in January 2024. The research has presented me with so many great opportunities like this. Not only have I learned invaluable skills and information, but also this research program has presented Dr. Nuhu and me with the opportunity to attend this conference and present our research, as well as network with other scholars within our field of study. I cannot fully express how influential this project has been in my life, and I cannot thank you enough for funding this project. Thank you immensely for making this project possible.

Jared Nichols

Lucas standing next to the exercise bike used in his research project

Lucas Bauer ’25
Hometown: Glen Allen, Va.
Major: Health and Exercise Science
Research Project: “Effects of water immersion on skeletal muscle activation, fatigue and whole-body gas exchange.”
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Robert Shute

To the Supporters of The Research Experience at Bridgewater College,

I would like to start by saying thank you for the funding that enabled me to have the experience of a lifetime. I applied for the research project with high hopes that I would get selected as a suitable student to conduct research over the summer at Bridgewater. I am a junior majoring in health and exercise science and also on the baseball team. I am very committed to my academics, and I cannot express how grateful I am to be a part of the research experience at Bridgewater College. Two potential career paths I may pursue include the fields exercise physiology and biomechanics. The research gave me hands-on experience in the field of exercise physiology that I would not have been able to receive anywhere else. The project was truly an amazing learning experience for me. It taught me much about the research process, and it gave me an introduction to thesis and dissertation work that would occur during graduate training.

The experimental research study contained three groups with a repeated measures design. Each subject completed one control trial and two experimental trials, conducted in a counter-balanced randomized order to ensure outcomes were not confounded by a learning effect. Furthermore, the beginning of the project involved ascertaining materials available for use from the school and what purchases were needed to perform the research. Much of the first two weeks were preparation that allowed the study to be conducted with minimal errors. I learned that diligent planning and preparation is paramount to conducting quality research.

After the preparation stage, subject recruitment and trials were completed, along with obtaining the informed consent of the subjects with the supervision of Dr. Shute. The goal of the project was to determine the impact of cold and hot water immersion prior to exhaustive exercise. This was done by having subjects submerged in a whirlpool with cold water (68⁰), hot water (104⁰) or no water as a control group. The subject would then complete a VO2max on a stationary bicycle.

The important independent variables attained from the research were largely due to the metabolic cart and EMG sensors used to collect data during the trials. The metabolic cart allowed us to assess oxygen consumption, substrate utilization, and cycling efficiency. The EMG sensors allowed for assessment of muscle activation and fatigue threshold. Other devices used for data collection included an SPO2 monitor, blood pressure cuff, skin fold caliper, and tympanic thermometer. The results of our data present trends, but more trials must be completed to provide the potential to detect significant differences in key independent variables. Furthermore, more work must be done in the processing of the EMG data, which could lead to stronger conclusions with the overarching theme of the project. This project allowed me to have hands-on experience with this equipment during the project, as well as analyze the data collected from these devices, which may not have happened with just classroom learning.

The research project is something I will never forget. It has taught me life lessons in that no matter how large the challenge may first seem, with enough hard work and diligence problems can be solved. Not only has the research project benefited me in learning about research and exercise physiology, but it has provided additional experience that may aid my applications for graduate programs.

Thank you again for the opportunity,
Lucas Bauer

For more information on research at Bridgewater, visit