Kaela S. Singleton
On Twitter, Dr. Kaela S. Singleton calls herself the “Beyoncé of Neuroscience.” The Black, Samoan, and queer neuroscientist and postdoctoral fellow at Emory University School of Medicine can’t stop, won’t stop until fellow Black neuroscientists feel supported. “Being a Black queer woman in a field that’s dominated by straight white men is challenging—if only because it can be hard to envision your dreams, find belonging and people who resonate and understand your struggle,” Singleton tells GO. She was inspired to co-found Black in Neuro, an organization that builds community for and empowers Black neuroscience professionals and researchers, after seeing the success of Black in Astro and Black Birders weeks. “I wanted to be involved in Black in Neuro mainly because I knew so few Black neuroscientists and seeing the outpouring of love and community that came from other weeks was really empowering.” Singleton’s journey with the brain started with a seventh-grade science outreach program. Though she also loved literature, she says, “when I went [to] college I decided I would study the brain in an attempt to understand why/how people behave the way they do.” And it’s paid off, literally: Singleton earned four years of funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH) and is also an adjunct at Agnes Scott College, her undergraduate alma mater. She’s published manuscripts, gives invited seminars, and speaks on panels on mentorship and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. And Singleton, featured as an LGBTQ+ Innovator in STEM by National Geographic alongside Sally Ride and Bruce Voeller, finds inspiration in the next generation. “Learning from and with [students], watching them finally nail an experiment or understand a complex concept,” she enthuses, “brightens my day regularly.” –LE
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