UCL Campaign


UCL celebrates the university’s neuroscience excellence with New York alumni

5 April 2019

East coast alumni celebrated another fantastic year with an annual reception in New York.

NYC Reception

In the largest event to date, over 110 alumni came together to catch up, make new connections and discuss the latest breakthroughs surrounding mental health at the annual New York reception on April 4.

The event was a fantastic opportunity for alumni in New York to network but also for old friends to reacquaint, as one alumnus discovered.

“I bumped into someone I went to high school in the UK with this evening. I hadn’t seen him for 15 years. Having the network here enables this and it’s fantastic,” said Ronald Thauer (Economics, 2017). 

For most alumni, the reception is an opportunity to remember their time at UCL. “UCL brings back a lot of fond memories from my time in London. We had great professors, extraordinary learning opportunities and the great life experience of living in London in 80s. Oh, the music! For me, night’s like this remind me that it’s about being part of the global community,” said Gad Berdugo (MSc Biochemical Engineering, 1988), who is a board member of the UCL Friends and Alumni Association.

Michael Yeomans (BSc Chemistry, 1970) and Elaine Yeomans (BA French with German, 1973) also have a special connection to UCL. “UCL has always been a great part of our lives because I met my husband there, who was studying Chemistry at the time. We married in 1971. It was a great opportunity to expand horizons and do something more valuable. My education at UCL was a ticket to a life beyond the status quo,” explains Elaine. The pair have lived and worked across the UK, Germany and now reside in the US.

Dr and Mrs Michael Yeomans
Dr and Mrs Yeomans, who met while studying at UCL.


Leading this year’s keynote address, Professor Alan Thompson, Dean of UCL’s renowned Faculty of Brain Sciences, discussed how experiences from our childhood can determine our overall mental health and wellbeing in later life.

“At UCL, our mental health strategy runs the gamut from basic neuroscience to hands-on interventions within communities,” explained Professor Alan Thompson. “At the basic science end of the spectrum, UCL developmental neuroscientists are carrying out ground-breaking research into how the brain develops during our youngest years and how it changes following early adversity.”

"But research doesn't just take place in laboratories. UCL is currently working with around 370 schools – the places where children spend a significant proportion of their time – to gather robust evidence about the impact of different approaches to promoting better mental health. This will enable young people to understand and manage their mental wellbeing and also increase teachers' ability to recognise and intervene when changes in their student mood occur."

UCL’s Executive Head of Development at the Office of the Vice-Provost (Advancement), Adrian Punaks also presented a gold volunteering award to Barry Buckland (MSc Biochemical Engineering, 1971). The award recognises the 20 years of service Barry has given both to his faculty and the wider UCL community. Barry has helped the department on a micro-level, helping secure grants and sponsoring individuals to complete their PhD’s in the department but also on a wider departmental level in speaking with incoming students and helping to nurture careers in the faculty.

“It is icing on the cake to be recognised publically but I have already gotten all the reward I need,” commented Barry on receiving the award. “The personal satisfaction I receive for volunteering for faculty amplified compare to the effort I put in. It has been a great experience and one I hope to continue.”

Barry Buckland receives gold volunteering award
Barry Buckland (middle) receives gold volunteering award from Adrian Punaks (left) and Professor Alan Thompson (right). 


Thanks to the incredible alumni volunteers who helped make this event a reality and who dedicate their time to provide a fantastic line-up of innovative events and activities in the region. The community in New York has continued to go from strength to strength and is one of the university’s longest-running alumni communities.


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More US events to come

We are thrilled to announce further alumni events will be taking place in the US in Boston, Washington DC, Los Angeles and San Francisco across April and May. 

We will be joined by alumna and venture-capitalist, Riva Tez who will be leading the keynote address in San Francisco. 

If you would like to get involved with your local alumni community, register here to stay up to date with the latest news and events. If you would like to volunteer your time to help with the running of our wonderful global alumni communities, please email us