Celebrating Black History Month - Phalon Davis-Barnes '16

Celebrating Black History Month - Phalon Davis-Barnes '16

In honor of Black History Month, our Black Student Union and Alumnae Office partnered to create a Q&A series celebrating distinguished Black alumnae. Next up is Phalon Davis-Barnes '16!

A proud alumna of Mother McAuley High School, Phalon Davis-Barnes graduated in 2016 before embarking on the path to become a Medical Speech Language Pathologist. Committed to optimizing communication and addressing swallowing disorders in medical settings, Phalon applies her expertise to support patients in recovering speech, language, cognition, and swallowing abilities, thereby enhancing their overall quality of life.

In our Q&A, Phalon shares her wisdom and advice with the Mighty Macs about her career path and the mentors she met along the way!

Q: What guided you to your career path? 

Before entering college, I had limited exposure to the field of Speech-Language Pathology, as it remains relatively obscure to many unless they have personal experiences with the profession due to family members or personal needs. initially, I pursued a different medical path in college, only to realize it did not align with my long-term aspirations. Seeking guidance, I consulted with a familiar professor who recommended exploring Speech-Language Pathology. Delving into my research, I recognized the evolving scope of diversity and inclusivity in treatment and care for BIPOC individuals within the field, a trend that has shown improvement over time. While initially drawn to pediatric services, my journey led me to develop a passion for neurology and advocacy, particularly in supporting adults and their families. 


Q: Did you have any mentors as you were building your career? If so, who and what are some important lessons you learned? 

During my college experience, I developed a close relationship with a professor who served as a mentor to me, despite working in a different department. Her guidance proved invaluable in helping me discover my true passion. Among the many lessons learned, one that resonated deeply was the notion that if something doesn't feel right presently, it is unlikely to feel different in the future. This wisdom encouraged me to deviate from my predetermined path and explore avenues that aligned with my passion. Additionally, I learned the importance of embracing change and not being overly critical of oneself when it comes to decision-making, recognizing that as humans, we are in a constant state of growth and evolution, therefore, our perspectives and choices evolve accordingly. 


Q: What (if anything) would you change about your journey to finding your profession?

I would have explored lesser-known health professions more extensively. Often, when individuals seek career guidance from parents, mentors, and others, the suggestion to pursue only nursing or medical professions is common. While these are undoubtedly noble paths, there are numerous other careers within healthcare where one can also make a significant impact in helping others. 

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