Sarah Kark


I am gay and I am a post-doctoral researcher in cognitive neuroscience.//

I am a cognitive neuroscientist. My research asks how we remember emotional experiences long past the time mundane events have slipped away. In my PhD, I focused on how negative and positive memories are differentially formed and re-instantiated in the brain. Currently, I am investigating the brain basis of emotional memory bias in major depressive disorder.

I distinctly remember the first time I met a tenured LGBTQ-identifying faculty member. Still, their very presence in the field continues to make me feel “less alone in the room”.

I came out to myself in 2006, my friends in 2007, and my family in 2010. But coming out is not a singular event. Rather, it remains a continuous, life-long process that requires conscious thought (and can evoke worry) when I meet someone new, whether at a party or at a neuroscience conference. Sometimes, I wonder if my LGBTQ-identity will hurt my job prospects or, worse, endanger my wife or me. Other times, I ponder the more inconspicuous ways that we might be marginalized in our professions and in society.

500QS is an invaluable effort because the visibility of other LGBTQ scientists instills belongingness, which can fuel fearless and ground-breaking science.