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Alumni Success: Andi Prugh ’17 and Bryon Eubanks ’17

Aug 07, 2017


two students present poster of researchJust a few months after graduation, behavioral neuroscience majors Andi Prugh '17 and Bryon Eubanks '17 are already experiencing the benefits of their Randolph-Macon College education.

In conjunction with R-MC's Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, Prugh and Eubanks, working under the guidance of Psychology Professor Massimo Bardi, worked together during summer 2016 to collect behavioral and biological data on long-tail macaques in R-MC's satellite Primate Lab in Miami, Florida. They presented their work at the Animal Behavior Society in Toronto, Canada June 12-16, 2017, and in July 2017 their paper, "Physiological correlates of alloparental behavior: Male-immature interactions in long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis)," was accepted for publication in the Journal of American Animal Laboratory Sciences.

Both are setting their sights on a bright future: Prugh recently interviewed at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland; and Eubanks has accepted a position within the Connectome Annotation Team at the Janelia Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, where he will work to find, trace, annotate, identify, and classify neurons within Drosophila melanogaster, as well as work to identify and mark synapses within the brain volumes.

Andi Prugh '17
A psychology and biology minor, Prugh says that R-MC prepared her for life after college "in more ways than I ever expected. The resources and opportunities available at Randolph-Macon helped me to become well-rounded—ready to take on job interviews and grad school applications."

The SURF program was one of Prugh's favorite parts of college life.

"I was able to conduct research that many grad students don't have the opportunity to do," she says. "Presenting my SURF research at an international conference was an amazing experience, and it was really cool to have conversations with other researchers and to find out that our research was similar. Knowing that my research has been accepted for publication is incredible. I can't thank Professor Bardi enough for his guidance and support throughout the whole process."

Bryon Eubanks '17
"The education that I received at Randolph-Macon provided me with fantastic opportunities to learn and grow in the scientific field," says Eubanks, a psychology major. "I gained research experience in both laboratory and classroom settings, participated in the SURF program, traveled to Miami to conduct research, and traveled to Canada to present research. The research opportunities offered at Randolph-Macon are truly exceptional. Being able to present at the Animal Behavior Society Conference in Toronto this year was a remarkable experience, and knowing that the research has been accepted for publication is beyond rewarding and exciting. I cannot thank Professor Bardi enough for all that he did for me during my time at Randolph-Macon."

Learning by Doing
"The Behavioral Neuroscience program at R-MC is based on the idea that the best way to learn is by doing," says Bardi, chair of the Psychology Department. "Our students spend a significant amount of time in the lab to really understand the practical implications of what they learn in class. This level of experience is what makes our students very marketable, whether they want to further their studies in a doctoral program or medical school, or if they want to begin a career right after graduation. Having the opportunity to work with primates is also a unique characteristic of our program—one that is rarely found in most colleges. Primates are, after all, one of the best animal models, and students interacting with them learn valuable lessons and skills that can set them apart from their peers."