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South Carolina Honors College

A Friendship Turns into a Passion

Honors College alumna Tyler Singleton, ’17 Social Work, is proud her research was recently published in a medical journal, but it’s the passion behind her work that helped define her career. 

It wasn’t a teacher or class that sparked her passion for health care advocacy. It was a high school friend diagnosed with Lupus.

“At the time, no one really knew much about the chronic illness, and it was a learning experience for her family and friends,” Singleton says. “It was hard watching what she had to go through, so I always strived to have a better understanding of what she was experiencing.”

However, it wasn’t until the Charleston native came to the South Carolina Honors College that her passion began to flourish. Singleton decided her friend’s experience with Lupus would form the basis of her senior thesis research project.

“I wanted to help change the perspective of outsiders by hearing the narrative of those who were experiencing the symptoms,” she says. “Being in the social work profession, I always strive to advocate for others.”

Singleton’s work, which focused on 10 African-American women and their struggles with Lupus, was published in Diversity and Equality in Healthcare, an online medical journal.

“Through the Exploration Grant provided by the Honors College, I was able to obtain the funding needed to pay for incentives as well as travel for my senior thesis,” Singleton says. “Without the funds, it would have been extremely hard to recruit participants or to collect the data needed to get published.”

Susan Alexander, Singleton’s advisor and mentor at the Honors College, saw potential in her from the very beginning.

“Tyler knows the difference between people and theories,” Alexander says. “She has the compassion and understands how to apply what she’s learned.”

Singleton finished her master’s in social work from the University of Georgia last year. She is employed by the School of Medicine as a research coordinator for the Research Center for Transforming Health. The center was created through a grant by Dr. Christina Turley and "serves as a collaborative focal point for accelerating translational research and promoting scholarly contributions of faculty, residents and medical students to enable optimal health outcomes for diverse populations."

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