Student Spotlight: Symone Whitney Banks

Symone Whitney Banks is a member of the University of Arizona speech-language pathology (M.S.) class of 2020. A native of Phoenix, she moved to Tucson to obtain her bachelor’s degree. While she was in college, her 8-year-old cousin was diagnosed with a profound hearing loss after years of misdiagnoses. That experience led Symone Whitney to discover the field of communication sciences and disorders. As a graduate student, Symone Whitney has been conducting research under the guidance of her advisor, Dr. Meghan Darling-White. The purpose of her research is to improve intelligibility in children with dysarthria, including children with Cerebral palsy and Down syndrome. Specifically, Symone Whitney is examining which treatment cues (e.g., “strong voice” or “big mouth”) are likely to best facilitate clear speech. In addition to her research, Symone Whitney is an officer in the Underrepresented Student Club in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. The purpose of this student group is to provide an outlet for minority undergraduate and graduate students in communication sciences, to provide peer mentors, and to raise awareness about the need for diversity in the field. On the topic of graduate school, Symone Whitney has found managing her time and balancing her studies, research, and clinical work to be challenging. The most rewarding aspect of her graduate experience has been the support of a great cohort. For future (or current) residents of Tucson, she recommends grabbing an Eegee’s and enjoying it while walking along the Rillito River path. Advice she offers to students is to “Relax [and] don’t feel that everything has to be perfect the first time around. [We’re] in school to learn and to make improvements.” She also recommends seeking the guidance of a good advisor.

Roles and Responsibilities of ArSHA Student Representatives

The Student Representative shall lead the association in the areas of student recruitment and retention of student members through outreach to speech-language pathology students and audiology students in the state of Arizona. The student representatives will report  directly to the Past President. The duties of the Student Representative shall include the following: 

  1. In consultation with the board and the Association’s management company, monitor and supervise activities associated with student member recruitment and retention. 
  2. Identify and attend various events to promote student memberships. 
  3. Assist with the coordinating and recruitment of student volunteers for Advocacy Day. 
  4. Assist with the coordinating and recruitment of student volunteers for the Annual Conference. 
  5. Participate in the Student/Professional mentoring program led by the Community Relations and Cultural and Linguistic Diversity committees.  
  6. Adding to and updating the Student Center section of the ArSHA webpage in conjunction with the Communications committee. 

ArSHA Student Representatives

Shannon Kim

Shannon is a first-year audiology student at A.T. Still University. She uses her position as the coordinator of the intern team at the United Nations Association San Diego Chapter and her Miss Golden State pageant title to raise awareness about Audiology and hearing loss. Her primary interests include intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring, tinnitus, and vestibular disorders.

Bailey Kaufmann

I am a third year undergraduate student at Arizona State University. I plan on becoming a Speech Pathologist when I am done with school. I enjoy working with children with autism and the deaf community. I am excited to be working with the American Sign Language program at ASU and helping it grow. I am interested in getting my interpreter certification in American Sign Language. I'm planning to have this help communicate with non-verbal patients and gaining an understanding while working with deaf patients. My advice is go after things that you are passionate about and never look back!


Melissa is a second-year graduate student at the University of Arizona in Tucson. She completed her B.S. in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Melissa is especially interested in working with children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing, children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and children who use augmentative and alternative communication devices. Upon graduation, Melissa hopes to complete her clinical fellowship year in a school setting to support children of all ages and abilities. Her advice to future graduate students is to observe professionals in your area and to reach out to your professors whose research interests you.

Lauren Cantrell

Lauren is currently a second year SLP graduate student at Northern Arizona University. Her special interests include early intervention, motor speech disorders in the pediatric population, and literacy development. Lauren hopes to work in an educational setting to help students gain confidence and promote inclusion for kids of all abilities. She is excited by the different opportunities the field provides and recommends trying a little bit of everything in order to find your passion!

Jen Henriquez

Jen is a member of the University of Arizona Speech-Language Pathology (M.S.) class of 2021. A Massachusetts native, she moved to Tucson to pursue a career as a bilingual Speech-Language Pathologist to further assist those with communication difficulties. Upon graduation, Jen hopes to complete her clinical fellowship in the inpatient or outpatient medical setting working with adults with aphasia, dysphagia, and cognitive-communication disorders. Her advice: Be okay with making mistakes. This means you’re learning. If you knew everything the first time around, you wouldn’t be here!

Tayler Philips

Tayler is currently a second-year graduate student at Northern Arizona University. Upon graduation, she hopes to complete her clinical fellowship in early intervention and/or with children and adults with developmental disabilities. Tayler's interests include autism, genetic disorders and AAC. Tayler’s advice to future graduate students is to have fun learning! Graduate school is an incredible opportunity to learn from a variety of colleagues, professors and clients. Remember to enjoy the ride, grow from challenging moments and learn from each new client you meet!