Davina Phillips ’14
Davina Phillips ’14 has long been interested in a career in law enforcement and one day would like to work as a homicide detective. “In Brooklyn, where I’m from, a lot of people get killed senselessly,” she says. “I want to be part of the team that solves these murders and gets the people responsible off the streets.” For Phillips, that’s important. She’s lost friends to such violence. She knows the risks police take every day, but isn’t intimidated by that thought. “I think it would be an enriching experience to be out in the field, dealing with different people all the time,” she says.
To pursue her goal, Phillips, a history major, began taking classes in the School of Information Studies and plans to switch her major to information management and technology. “Since I want to be a cop, I thought having an IT background would be extremely helpful,” she says. “Criminal justice work involves using more and more technology, so I figured why not have a background in technology.”
With a range of courses this semester encompassing computer networking, information systems management, social media, and collaboration in a global environment, Phillips finds her studies interesting. “I really enjoy what I’m learning,” she says. She’s also grateful for the financial assistance she receives from a Higher Education Opportunity Program grant, and the Lee Poindexter Anthon Scholarship, part of the Our Time Has Come scholarship program. “Both of those programs have been extremely helpful in making it possible for me to study here,” she says. “I’m really thankful for both scholarships.”
The Anthon Scholarship is given to a graduate of New York City’s Leadership and Public Service High School (LPSHS), which has a longstanding partnership with the University that includes placing SU student interns at the high school. “The students taught us a lot about SU, campus life, and different things we could accomplish on this campus,” Phillips says. At LPSHS, she played varsity softball, served as student body president her senior year, and was involved in community service projects, including a campaign against bullying. “I enjoyed the community service,” she says. “You had to go outside the school, communicate with people, and spread the news about a good cause you were promoting. That was a good thing for me.”
Along with her studies, Phillips works as a residential security aide on South Campus and in catering at the Carrier Dome. For the past two summers, she helped run her grandfather’s machine rewinding shop in Antigua and Barbuda, where her father grew up and has extended family. “They fix alternators, starters, capacitors, basically anything electronic,” Phillips says. “And they have a whole room filled with bearings for all different kinds of machines. When I first started there I was like, ‘What in the world is a 6202 bearing?’ and had to figure it out.”
The work challenged her to learn the business and develop supervisory and management skills—assets she knows are good to have. Looking to the future, Phillips plans to take the state civil service exam for police officers as the first step in launching her career. “This is a big year for me,” she says.