Winner’s story: Heather Dial
Cognitive Neuropsychology Student Travel Prize
“I gained new insight into my research.”
How did you learn about the prize?
I learned about the prize from my advisor, Randi Martin. Every year she reminds us when Cognitive Neuropsychology is accepting applications for the student travel prize.
What did you do to win it?
My advisor was again very helpful during this process. Anyone in the lab who applies for the prize writes up their application materials, and she will review it for us to be sure it is well written. This not only helps you in the application process but also helps you learn how to write these types of applications in a more competitive way. I applied last year as well, and in comparing my first draft from last year to this year, there were many fewer edits needed this time around. Additionally, I have a passion for neuropsychology and working with patients. Accordingly, the majority of my research is cognitive neuropsychological in nature, which is exactly what this prize is for!
Importantly, the goals of my research are on par with those of the journal, namely to increase our understanding of cognition using the neuropsychological method.
What did you learn at the conference?
I attended the Academy of Aphasia Conference. It is hard to summarize in so few words what I learned, but most importantly I walked away from the conference with some new insight into my research and ways that I could improve it. This conference is great because it is relatively small and it allows a lot of one-on-one interaction with more established researchers in the field. As such, I was able to speak to people who have alternative perspectives who have challenged me to strengthen my research method.
What will you do as a result of winning the prize?
As an early-stage researcher, it can be quite intimidating to present your research to some of the biggest names in your field who have been doing this type of research since before you were born! The prize allowed me to go to the Academy of Aphasia Conference with a greater amount of confidence in my work, making the whole process much less stressful. Again, I also walked away from the conference with such valuable feedback, so the main result of winning the prize is that I have a lot more work to do!
What advice would you give other applicants?
The main advice that I have is to be sure to draw a very clear connection between your work and the goals of Cognitive Neuropsychology. Don’t forget that you are being judged on the quality of your work as well as how it fits into those goals.