My time as a PhD student had too great an impact for a short post to do it justice. I lived in England for the first time, met incredible people and my experiences with persons with aphasia (language disorder resulting from brain damage or degeneration) changed the way I think about many things in life.
Artificial grammar learning is a fascinating empirical paradigm, but it my a project a tough sell to linguists and speech and language therapists alike. Why test grammar not using words, but nonsensical blobs on a computer screen? The answer is that the human mind is driven by pattern finding, and tapping into core pattern processing mechanisms reveals something about language in healthy speakers and pathologies.
I was supervised by Rosemary Varley and Patricia Cowell, who were simply optimal.