Bridgewater College Hosts ASPIRE

ASPIRE Participants Showcase Work Through Zoom and In-person Presentations


Bridgewater College News

Bridgewater College hosted the 2021 ASPIRE events on Zoom and in-person this year. The 2020 ASPIRE celebration was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Cassidy Wagoner, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. – Bridgewater College hosted their annual ASPIRE event from Monday, April 12 through Friday April, 16. The event was a week long to accommodate those joining through zoom and those being in-person for the event. 

Those participating were able to share their year long research projects with the college community. The event included presentations from faculty and students. 

ASPIRE is an acronym for the celebration of arts, scholarship, performance, innovation and research excellence. The event is typically held in-person, but this year the event was held virtually and in a hyflex format — which was to accommodate those learning virtually and those learning in-person this year. 

The event holds many different performances, presentations and art exhibits by faculty and students. ASPIRE created a virtual gallery for those participating online to see the art exhibits. 

“I participated in ASPIRE to present the results and methods of my research under Dr. Leininger through the Research Experience at Bridgewater last summer.” said Class of 2022 ASPIRE participant Jacob Howard. “I would have loved to be able to present at Bridgewater in person, but I am really grateful that the school provided the opportunity for remote students like me to participate in ASPIRE.”

Howard presented his research titled a “Compendium of Exact Sums of Infinite Series” through a powerpoint on zoom. Howard did research under Associate Professor of Math and Computer Science Verne Leininger. Howard presented infinite series and why they are important.

“Infinite series appear in some of the most important problems in mathematics and physics,” said Howard. 

Faculty presented their research to the college as well. Assistant Professor of Music and Choral Director Ryan Keebaugh, presented “Music in Silence” through zoom and in-person. Keebaugh discussed his background with music and composing, and why he makes the music he does. 

 Keebaugh is a BC alumnus who started writing music and playing instruments when he was five years old. He wanted to focus on conducting and composing throughout his education. 

Keebaugh expressed some hardships in his life that he had to overcome with music. He explained that he went to a silent retreat where he found music in silence — which encouraged Keebaugh to compose a specific type of music.

“I never thought about creating music for the rest of my life. Academically, composers are taught to make music for fame and a lot of money,” said Keebaugh. “The true act of music is creating.”

At the beginning of Keebaugh’s presentation, he asked the audience to close their eyes, clear their minds and just breathe. Keebaugh wanted the audience to hear silence. Through the presentation, Keebaugh played his compositions for the audience and discussed why he wrote specific notes in his music. 

“I feel that as an academic community the importance of ASPIRE at Bridgewater allows more opportunities for students and faculty to showcase and inform the BC campus of research interests, scholarship, creativity, and artistic and performance disciplines,” said Keebaugh. 

“Events like ASPIRE have been credited with cultivating students’ impetus for learning – allowing students the likelihood to pursue their interests and collaborative opportunities.” 

ASPIRE featured a variety of performances, presentations and art exhibits from various faculty and students. All events were held on zoom for those wanting to attend the events virtually.