Grant Gillary took the long route through the military to his PhD. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a BS in physics. He then spent a year studying for a MS in mathematical modeling and scientific computing at the University of Oxford. However, after these initial forays in academia he spent the next six years in the Marine Corps.
Grant was a ground intelligence officer and did everything from studying Arabic in Morocco to advising Iraqi intelligence to leading a reconnaissance platoon in Afghanistan. He has been through Infantry Officers Course, Basic Reconnaissance Course, SERE school, Army Airborne School and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Synchronization Managers Course which due to its ridiculously long name is usually just called ISR Synch Managers Course. Grant also received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device for his actions in Afghanistan. He retired from the Marine Corps in July of 2011 as a captain.
With his Hertz Fellowship, Grant is studying for a PhD in neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He works in the laboratory for computational neuroscience under Professor Ernst Niebur developing models of cortical feedback in the early visual areas of the primate. He is particularly interested in the computational mechanisms that comprise attention, binding and visual stability.