April 29, 2021

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Honors Brylie Ritchie With Bartram Award for Intellectual Exploration


VALDOSTA — Brylie Alexis Ritchie of Statesboro, Georgia, is the recipient of the 2021 Bartram Award for Intellectual Exploration at Valdosta State University.

“I am very excited and honored to be winning this award,” she said. “I could not have done it without the support of my peers and faculty at the VSU Honors College. What makes this award so meaningful is that it comes directly from the Honors College, and the honors program is one that I pour a lot of time and love into.

“The honor of winning this award allows me to become conscious of the meaning of teamwork and responsibility. I read once, ‘As we expose our thinking to each other, as we learn together, we enrich each other in ways that truly are amazing.’ This is something I really believe in and put into my daily life, which is why this award is so important to me.” 

The Bartram Award for Intellectual Exploration is presented to an Honors College student who has demonstrated the skills of intellectual exploration, adventure, and competence. It was Ritchie’s research into the historical myths of VSU that helped her earn the recognition.

“This was my first undergraduate research project,” she said. “My newer projects and plans are more related to my major and is what I plan on presenting and continuing forward. This project taught me how to research and that research was something that I was interested in, so I am very thankful I got the opportunity to be the lead on this project.”

Ritchie is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biology, on the pre-med track, and anticipates earning that degree plus a Minor in Chemistry and an Honors College Certificate in May 2023.  

As a student at VSU, Ritchie is an active member of the Honors Student Association, Lab Rats, and Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta): National Biological Honor Society. She works as a resident assistant at Reade Hall, which houses Honors College students, and serves on an outreach committee with the Honors College. She will serve as a student assistant in the Honors College during the upcoming academic year and also hopes to work as a laboratory technician at South Georgia Medical Center.

Ritchie plans to take full advantage of research and experiential learning opportunities offered by faculty during her next two years at VSU. She has already presented “Determining Reproductive Parameters for Two Distinct Geographic Locations of Lined Seahorses, Hippocampus erectus” at VSU’s Undergraduate Research Symposium.

“I plan to continue this project and hopefully start my own independent study using the imaging program I used in this project to measure things such as cancer cells, fractures, and tears in muscles and ligaments,” she said. “A peer and I are planning to submit a grant at the end of this year. If it is accepted, we could do another research project on invasive species. I am also looking into doing research on MRSA, which is Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus.”

Ritchie volunteered to help keep the COVID-19 vaccination lines moving at South Georgia Medical Center this semester. She also devoted some of her limited out-of-class time to earning a LEADership Education and Development Certificate.

Ritchie’s commitment to academic, leadership, research, and service excellence has resulted in her being named a Zell Miller Scholar and earning repeated Dean’s List honors and the Palms Scholarship. Her supportive family includes dad Bryan Ritchie, mom Julie Ritchie, sister Kaitlin Ritchie, grandfather Kenneth Ward, and grandmother Judy Ward. 

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