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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Scientist, Musician, Model...Renaissance Man!


Check out the amazing article written by the Houston Chronical about Don!

Don Vaughn studies the brain by day, plays the drums at clubs by night

By JOY SEWING Copyright 2011 Houston Chronicle

photo
Nick de la Torre : Chronicle

Don Vaughn is his real name. It's so similar to the legendary fictional character Don Juan, it makes people smile at introduction.

"It was my dad's idea," Vaughn says.

The 24-year-old's name isn't his only standout feature.

Vaughn is a modern-day Renaissance guy. The Stanford University graduate who studied physics and economics now works as a neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine full time and toils as a fashion model and club drummer after hours.

"I believe in using all sides of the brain," says Vaughn, a native of San Diego. "It's all about self-expression. I study the science of how the brain works, then I can use the creative side in drumming."

After graduation, Vaughn moved to Houston to work for renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman and his Laboratory for Perception and Action at Baylor. The lab's mission is to understand how the brain works and how it matters for society.

But as passionate as Vaughn is about science, he's equally moved by the drums.

At age 13, he started playing the drums and got hooked after a girl in his middle school said drumming was "cute." His mother got him a drum set to encourage him to stop tapping on the dinner plates.

Now, Vaughn is becoming a regular on the club and bar scene, playing alongside local DJs up to three nights a week. He's also building his own drum set out of acrylic globes that will light up when tapped.

"Drumming fits with my math and science background in a weird way," he said. "Drumming really is a lot of math — beats and rhythms. I'm counting out beats for everyone to jam to, and there's a lot synergy in that."

Last summer Vaughn started modeling with Page Parkes Models. He had the idea to play the drums at fashion shows while the models walk the runway.

"There's nothing more live than a drum performance. I pour everything into it. Even my outfits (jeans and hip T-shirts) are part of the drumming performance."

That he's able to mix science, music and fashion into his career is a blessing, he said.

"Science is about reason, not emotion," he said, "But no one wants to hear about a logical drummer. It's all about emotion and passion, so I'm glad I can mix it all together."

joy.sewing@chron.com


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