“An excellent learning experience.”
The project I was working on investigated linguistic processing based on the performance of an individual with aphasia (a language impairment resulting from neurological damage), and had recently been accepted for presentation at the 2014 meeting of the Academy of Aphasia. The Cognitive Neuropsychology Student Travel Prize helped me to fund my attendance at this conference.
The Academy of Aphasia is a multidisciplinary group united by a focus on research in aphasia and how it informs our understanding of typical language function. Being able to present my work at this conference and learn about recent research by scientists from a variety of backgrounds was an invaluable experience. Discussing my research with scientists in the field whose work has informed and inspired my own was exciting, and challenged me to think about my work in new ways. I also received feedback from individuals with a range of scientific backgrounds different from my own, which helped me to consider my work from different angles and inspired ideas for future research projects.
The overall tone of the conference was very encouraging for student researchers and placed an emphasis on mentorship. During the conference, I was given the opportunity to participate in a research mentorship program, in which graduate students were paired with more experienced faculty researchers with expertise in their area of interest. My mentor’s work was closely tied to my own research interests, and being able to learn about his experience in the field and receive detailed, constructive feedback on my work was extremely valuable.
Presenting my research at the Academy of Aphasia meeting was an excellent learning experience and I am extremely grateful to Cognitive Neuropsychology for awarding me the Student Travel Prize and giving me the opportunity to attend this conference. I would encourage any student to apply for this and similar awards that match their own research interests and will allow them to attend conferences and gain experience presenting their research in a professional setting.