Three Bridgewater College seniors—Jaia Dunbar, Lauren Gibson and Abrianna Gilmer—were the recipients of the Donald R. Witters Psychology Awards for 2023.
The psychology awards are named in honor of Dr. Donald R. Witters, who retired at the end of the 2005-2006 academic year as professor of psychology, emeritus. He joined the Bridgewater College faculty in 1968 as a professor of psychology and served as chair of the department from 1990 until his retirement.
Dunbar, a psychology major from Parkville, Md., received the Outstanding Leadership Award. She is the president of Active Minds, a student-centered mental health group. Dunbar is also a member of the Lambda Pi Eta communication studies honor society, Psi Chi psychology honor society, Alpha Phi Omega leadership honor society and the Philomathes Honor Society, the College’s scholastic honor society. In addition, she serves as an ambassador for Morgan’s Message, a student-athlete mental health organization, and news editor for the student-run news outlet BC Voice.
During her time at BC, Dunbar completed a research project titled “Religious Beliefs, Stress Overload and Well-being.”
Dunbar will be attending Salisbury University in Maryland to pursue a master of social work this fall.
Gibson, a psychology major from Rockingham County, Va., received the Outstanding Research Award. She is the president of the College’s chapter of Psi Chi and a member of the Philomathes Society. Gibson is also involved in BC Allies and the founder of the BC Book Club.
During her time at BC, Gibson completed two research projects with Assistant Professor of Psychology Dr. Curtis Bradley titled “Effects of Caffeine on Sign- and Goal-Tracking in Mice” and “Exercise and Isolation Effects on Depression and Anxiety in Mice.”
Gibson is working in the social work field post-graduation and hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience.
Gilmer, a psychology major from Harrisonburg, Va., received the Outstanding Academic Award. She is a member of the Alpha Chi national honor society, Psi Chi, Phi Theta Kappa international honor society and the Philomathes Society.
Gilmer plans to work in the psychology or social work fields post-graduation.