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Miami graduate prepares to compete on Survivor

By Emily Glaser
On January 18, 2013

Students planning to watch the upcoming season of CBS's Survivor now have someone to root for. Miami University graduate Reynold Toepfer has been selected to compete on the 26th season of the hit show.

Toepfer, who graduated in 2005 with a finance degree, will join nine other castaways in the Gota Tribe to compete against Bikal Tribe, made up of 10 castaways from previous seasons.

Claire Wagner, director of News and Public Information at Miami, said Miami is excited to see one of Miami's own compete.

"It's fun to root for somebody in the Miami community," Wagner said. "We wish him well and hope he represents Miami well."

Sophomore Erica Bodenbender does not watch the show, but shares Wagner's excitement for Toepfer and Miami.

"It's always good to see Miami represented other places," Bodenbender said. "Everyone always assumes we are Miami, Florida, so it's exciting to see a graduate on a national show."

Toepfer is not the only member of the Miami community to appear on reality television. Susan Vaughn, director of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution starred with her son Patrick on the seventh season of CBS's The Amazing Race.

Once Vaughn and her son were selected, she could not even tell her colleagues at Miami the news.

"I took a leave from work," Vaughn said. "A lot of people speculated I was seriously ill. Nobody knew where I was. My husband was making up stories like I'd gone to Mexico to do Habitat for Humanity."

According to Vaughn, the audition process and secrecy are true for Survivor as well.

"My son had applied for Survivor before and made it through a prep round and was cut out," Vaughn said. "When he was going through the audition process he couldn't tell us anything."

Vaughn and her son were the first mother-son team on the show, something she thinks may have helped them stand out among the 25,000 other applicants.

According to Vaughn, the hardest thing to get used to was that she had a camera and audio person with her everywhere she went. She has advice for reality TV show stars.

"Just be yourself," Vaughn said. "Don't do anything out of character. And never say never."

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