William & Mary

2016 Excellence in Neuroscience Award Winners are Eileen Ablondi and Sarah Volz

Each year the faculty of the Neuroscience Program recognize two neuroscience students who have distinguished themselves both academically and in their research or their service.  Our two awardees in 2016 had exceptionally high GPA’s, and significant research achievements.  Eileen Ablondi and Sarah Volz were recognized at an awards ceremony in the spring and at the 2016 Neuroscience graduation reception and received $500 each.

Eileen Ablondi performed laboratory research since her freshman year.  Her last 3 years as an undergraduate was spent working in Dr. Margaret Saha’s lab, where she completed an honors thesis entitled, “GABAergic cell fate determination in Xenopus Laevis.” She also co-authored an related manuscript on the project.  Dr. Saha describes Eileen as a student who fearlessly tackled a very difficult project, and a person who is bright, engaging, dedicated, and a wonderful teacher and communicator.  Eileen was accepted to every graduate program to which she applied, but chose Harvard Medical School to pursue her PhD in Biomedical and Biological Sciences.

Sarah Volz performed Neuroscience research since her freshman year in the labs of Dr. Cheryl Dickter and Dr. Catherine Forestell.  Sarah completed her honors project entitled “The Role of Parental Smoking on Children’s Attentional Bias to and Evaluation of Smoking-Related Cues,” and submitted this work for publication as a co-author.  Sarah’s mentors describe her as an uncommonly mature, hard-working, reliable, and ethical student who was entrusted with the most complex and delicate of tasks in the project, and who became a leader among the students.  After graduation, Sarah matriculated at Wake Forest University to pursue a masters degree in Psychology.