In this episode, Sequoia Houston talks to Doctor Alaina Davis. She is a communication sciences and disorders expert, a medical speech-language pathologist, and a Howard University professor. She is also an alumnus from Sequoia’s dear old alma mater, the University of Houston. #GoCoogs

Show Notes

About Our Guest

Assistant Professor at Howard & Owner/Speech-Language Pathologist of Overall Neuro Rehab, LLC

Dr. Alaina Davis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She received her B.A. in Communication Disorders from the University of Houston, her M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology from Southern University and A&M College, and she received her Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Howard University. Dr. Davis specializes in adult neurogenic communication disorders with expertise in traumatic brain injury (TBI). She directs the Cognitive-Communicative Skills Research Lab in which the team examines cognitive-communicative deficits associated with concussion.  Dr. Davis is also a practicing clinician, licensed in DC, MD, and a Certified Brain Injury Specialist Trainer with the Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists.  


3 Key Points:

  1. Sequoia and Alaina discuss, “Even within our community we look down at people who don’t speak standard American English.”
  2. Sequoia talks about different cultures, and she is happy to share how her culture leads in so many places.
  3. From her own experiences, Alaina shares some the positive changes that she has witnessed related to diversity, equality, and inclusion. 

Episode Highlights:

  • Alaina shares, she primarily works with adults who had a stroke or brain concussion.
  • She continues to give a brief about her professional journey and talks about her podcast – Sunday Dinner with Dr. Stanford & Dr. Davis. 
  • Sequoia discusses the last year, which taught us that it is not enough to be racist.
  • Alaina shares her thoughts about what actively being anti-racist means to her. 
  • Sequoia stresses the importance of learning to see people as they are. 
  • “We know the people from other groups look at us differently and assumes that we are not educated.” Sequoia talks about the general mindset of some people.
  • Alaina talks about her freedom when she stopped code-switching.
  • Sequoia asks Alaina to share her thoughts on African American Vernacular English (AAVE). 
  • Alaina shares they call it AAE. It was one of the very first term used way back in 90’s. It was the first they connected with the sounds. AAE has a set of a linguistic rule.
  • Alaina throws some light on slags and how they are different from AAE.
  • Sequoia shares an interesting fact - Most people do not speak or write proper standard American English. 
  • They discuss the George Zimmerman case and how Rachel’s testimony was not taken just because she did not speak the queen’s English.
  • Sequoia shares one incident when she was treated differently just because her hair was tied differently. 
  • People concluded that if she had her hairstyle a certain way, then she is either argumentative or demanding. 
  • Alaina considers herself lucky since she is in academia. 
  • Sequoia enquires, “How do you deal with a situation where students speak in a different accent?”
  • Alaina lets students talk how they want to speak. She talks in her class about accepting people how they are.
  • It is surprising for Alaina to see how people get caught by how words are pronounced.
  • Alaina is happy how alternative ways of teaching has been introduced in the system. 
  • Sequoia and Alaina how different students have different learning needs. 
  • Sequoia asks the much-awaited question “When people think of Dr. Alaina what you want your last thing legacy to be?”
  • Alaina makes sure her studently learn empathy and be kind to people. 
  • Sequoia wants people to focus on humanity and be kind. 

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “If we work on shifting our mindset then that can lead to anti-racist thinking.” - Alaina Davis
  • “We got to be excited about the different ways everyone speaks.” - Alaina Davis
  • “Communication is far more than just words.” - Sequoia Houston
  • “You can be yourself and still be successful.” - Alaina Davis

Resources Mentioned: