Profile of Kayla Emile

Kayla Emile: Strength Personified.”

By Tiffani Haynes, editor

Word Count: 421


            Kayla Emile has seen life’s ups and downs and she’s determined to enjoy the ups. The 21-year-old Boston native is a senior at Hampton University and her road to reaching the final year hasn’t been an easy one.

            After experiencing two hospital trips in less than six months, she knows the importance of persevering. In her junior year she survived on it.

            “You have to keep going. Don’t ever give up,” Emile said. “There’s been plenty of times that I just wanted to stay at home but I stayed on track and continued school.”

            In August 2007 Emile was diagnosed with auto immune hepatitis and encountered her first surgery, gall bladder removal. She returned to school a week after it began and started her junior year.

            Five months later, on January 1, she was involved in a car accident that left five people injured, Emile incurring the worst injuries. After two fractured pelvic bones and a set of crutches, she returned to school injured again, twice in one academic year.

            But Emile hasn’t let it hold her back. She has plans and she’s on the move. The communicative sciences and disorders major has plans to work as a speech language pathologist after graduation. She wants to work in a hospital and a private practice with children and patients with swallowing disorders.

            She knows the importance of helping others and has advice for others looking to follow her path.

            “Stay focused and determined,” Emile said. “It’s so rewarding in the end to know that you’re helping someone communicate. After all, communication is everything.”

            Emile won’t let anything deter her. “As an African-American female, I’m going to have to work harder than a white male. But I know that I have the knowledge to do just as well as anyone else.”

            Yet she explained that there would be challenges along the way, specifically racial bias and discrimination in the workplace.

            “You’re based on your appearance,” she said. “Although we try to deny it, we still stereotype based on race, height, weight, gender, everything.”

            Her wisdom, she explained, came from the same experiences at Hampton that have tested her.

            “I’ve learned a lot about myself. I learned to be more open-minded, to try to be more patient,” Emile said. “I also learned a lot about other people. I’ve grown to appreciate other people’s ideas even if they’re different from mine.”

            Emile was faced with obstacles and overcame them, presented a trial and triumphed and managed to learn the valuable lesson involved in it all.