During Homecoming and Family Weekend 2019, Dr. Kay Payne ’73, professor emerita at Howard University’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, returned to campus to share her experience with students and advise them on their future careers.
On Wednesday, Sept. 25, Payne participated in a special Africana Studies reception, joining the program’s co-chairs — Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies Kanaté Dahouda and Associate Professor of Anthropology Christopher Annear — in the Blackwell Room in Demarest Hall. Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres were served.
Payne also visited Africana Studies classes — the program began while she was a student at HWS — and on Thursday, Sept. 26, she participated in “Alum Connections” at the Office of Intercultural Affairs beginning at 5 p.m.
On Friday, Sept. 27, Payne met with students to discuss career paths as part of the “Career Journeys” series through the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education. Payne was available for group and individual meetings on from 2 to 4 p.m. in Trinity Hall.
Payne is internationally renowned for her unique specializations in sociolinguistics and cultural anthropology, with expertise on communication disorders including diagnosis, treatment and bilingual issues. An authority on test-taking skills and cultural diversity, she has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship twice to do research in Egypt and India, exchange fellowships in Brazil and China, a Ford Foundation Research Fellowship in Namibia, and a travel fellowship in Russia and Ukraine.
She has been named a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and more recently received the prestigious Scholar-Mentor Award from the National Black Association for Speech, Language, and Hearing. The award is given to an outstanding professional who has been involved in the mentoring of black students in speech-language pathology, audiology and/or speech-hearing sciences through research, clinical, administrative and/or academic activities.
Payne, who received her Ph.D. from Howard University in Communication Sciences & Disorders, has taught at the university since 1977 when she was a graduate assistant. She helped create the first software program to improve the scores of minority students on the PRAXIS examinations, used to evaluate individuals for entry into teacher education programs. She is the author of three best-selling books and two CD ROMs related to PRAXIS and has also developed two distance-learning courses for PRAXIS delivered via the Blackboard course management system.
In 2016, the William Smith Alumnae Association presented Payne with its highest honor, the Alumna Achievement Award, during the Colleges’ first Multicultural Networking & Career Conference, at which Payne served as keynote speaker.