Centennial High School graduate Bryson Reynolds is a PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at the University of Virginia. His current project focuses on the neuroimaging of sports concussion and mild traumatic brain injury.
Having grown up in Franklin, Bryson graduated from Centennial High School in 2005 before earning his bachelor’s in psychology at Middle Tennessee State University. He is married to fellow CHS graduate Erica Bohlen (now Erica Reynolds).
What led you to want to study neuroscience?
When I started college, my interest was in psychology with a goal of becoming a clinical psychologist. However, as I learned more about psychology, I realized that I was more interested in the brain and how it worked than I was in clinical work. The brain is the most complex organization of matter in the universe (as far as we know) and it is responsible for everything we think, feel and experience. How can you not want to study it?
What specific area of neuroscience interests you the most and why?
I use the many capabilities of MRI to study the structure and function of the human brain. More specifically, I study concussion and head impact in sports. I work on describing the frequency and severity of head impact in sports, while exploring the structural and functional consequences of these impacts.
What did you enjoy most about your high school experience?
Participating in JROTC and theater were probably two of the most influential experiences I had in high school. JROTC taught me about respect, responsibility and leadership. Theater helped me get out of my comfort zone and feel more comfortable about who I am.
What WCS teacher made a difference in your life and how?
As I already mentioned JROTC, LTC Goodwin and Sgt. “Top” Gill, and theater, Mrs. Ward, were an important part of high school for me. In addition, Mr. Roberts (Physics) and Mrs. Wood (Psychology) helped foster my drive to investigate how the world, and the brain, works. Several other teachers also made a difference in my life.
Do you have any advice for current WCS students?
I was not a very good student in high school (i.e. I graduated in the bottom half of my class). However, contrary to what it may feel like, high school does not determine how successful you will be in life. Any advantage you may have gained or lost in high school can be squandered or overcome, depending on what you do next.
Also, MTSU is very affordable and you can get an excellent education there if you work for it. In my first year of graduate school at UVA, I found myself in classes with students who graduated from the upper echelon of undergraduate institutions (Harvard, Johns Hopkins, etc.), and at no point did I feel that my education from MTSU put me at a disadvantage compared to my peers.