-story by Kaitlyn Sewell '15
Psychology Professor Massimo Bardi
The Randolph-Macon College Psychology Department
is thrilled to welcome Professor Massimo Bardi as a full-time professor this fall.
The primatologist has contributed to R-MC’s program over the years as a visiting
professor, a Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)
mentor, and a researcher, and is inspired by the commitment his students have shown
to their work.
“The psychology department does not distinguish class work from research,” Bardi
shares. “This integration, as well as the close connection professors have to their
students, is one of the things that makes Randolph-Macon’s psychology program so
Bardi was born in Tuscany, Italy, where he earned his M.S. in biology in 1994. He
collected data for his master thesis at the New England Regional Primate Center
of Harvard University in 1993, which was his first time in the United States. Shortly
after, Bardi earned his Ph.D. in anthropological and behavioral sciences, also at
University of Pisa. He specialized in behavioral neuroendocrinology at Kyoto University
in Japan, and also earned an Advanced Degree in statistical methods from Cagliari
Bardi came back in the U.S. in 2002 to work for the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical
Research (Texas) and study baboon behaviors. Later, he worked at Marshall University
and at the University of Richmond, where he met Psychology Professor Craig Kinsley
– a colleague of R-MC’s Psychology Professor
Kelly Lambert. In 2006, Bardi began to collaborate with Lambert, and they
have been working together since.
“Dr. Lambert and I are a very good fit since we have very similar interests (parental
behavior, stress and coping) and a shared appreciation of behavioral and statistical
analysis,” Bardi says. “At the same time, we specialize in different areas, thus
providing a complementary set of skills.” Together, with collaboration from many
outstanding students from R-MC and other Institutions, they have had numerous articles
published in scholarly journals.
At R-MC, Bardi has taught The Psychobiology of Stress, Child Development, and Research
Methods. A strong believer in the power of statistics, he stresses the importance
of the Research Methods course in the psychology major.
“Numbers exist to tell a story,” Bardi explains. “They are an important part of
research, and it is good for students to practice critical thinking through numbers
This fall, Bardi will be teaching The Psychobiology of Happiness, Research Methods,
Hormones and Behavior, and a January (J-term) course, Comparative Animal Behavior,
which is held in Miami, Florida.
In addition to his research and teaching, Bardi has assisted R-MC students with
their Schapiro Undergraduate Fellowship (SURF)
projects. The SURF program was established in 1995 through a generous gift made
by Ben '64 and Peggy Schapiro. The Schapiros continue to support this program, which
promotes scholarly undergraduate research by R-MC students in all disciplines.
Emily Kirk ’16,
a psychology and biology major, studied the
playful learning behaviors and maternal relationships of the Saimiri scuireus,
also known as the squirrel monkey, during her 2013 SURF project at Monkey Jungle.
Monkey Jungle, R-MC’s new satellite lab at the DuMond Conservancy in Miami, Florida,
gives students the opportunity to observe both monkeys in a semi-natural habitat
and wild raccoons at a nearby
“Dr. Bardi helped me with research on the endocrine system, and he helped me extract
results from data,” says Kirk. “He explained how to correctly observe the squirrel
monkeys, and he shared many stories of his exciting adventures studying primates
around the world in his own research.”
Bardi offers simple yet significant advice to both students and faculty.
“Have fun!” he says. “I do not consider my research to be work; it is more of a
hobby. If you follow this advice, you won’t have to work a day in your life.”