Nathan Robinson
Nathan Robinson

Nathan Robinson

Indigenous Health Scholarship 2022

University of Newcastle, NSW

Bachelor of Speech Pathology
Scholarship Awarded 2022

Sponsored by:
Rotary Club of Parramatta

Indigenous Health Scholarship Program

How will I contribute to improving Indigenous health as a qualified medical practitioner or health worker?

My interest in Speech Pathology is rooted in my family history….

During my 12 month bridging course, I sought out volunteer work at a local public school and day care, when I assisted a speech pathologist. Both facilities were in low socio-economic areas and had a high attending of bother Indigenous and underprivileged young children, some with very cad circumstances. I loved helping them and seeing what a high difference just one person who cares can make to their self confidence, trust and ultimately their entire future.

Being a new dad myself, more than ever, I believe every child deserves the opportunity to be happy within themselves and I want to help them achieve this through speech pathology. I will complete this current year of university and the remaining 3 years to attain my degree in Speech Pathology, which will be a proud accomplishment in itself whilst supporting my young family.

I will endeavour to work in the public school sector (like my volunteer work) in order to reach children who ordinarily may not have the means or opportunity to attend a private clinic. I believe integrating speech pathology with mainstream education is an excellent way to help children feel normal, rather than making them feel different or like they need extra help.

Once I am working in schools, I would love to collaborate speech pathology practices with Indigenous programs such as ‘Bro-speak’. The program is designed to ensure young Indigenous boys are keeping up and thriving in our public schools by providing a consistent, safe space at school and crucially, helps them transition from primary to high school. Most importantly, it ensures the boys feel truly supported and genuinely cared about through understanding and meaningful connections with an Indigenous male mentor. During my volunteer work, I was lucky enough to have gained basic training in this program and see it as a great opportunity to reach our youth on a broader scale. Too often our young kits are perceived as quiet or shy, when in truth it is embarrassment or fear of getting their words wrong that prevent them from speaking up. Unfortunately, this has a flow on effect, further hindering their education which often results in them being disadvantaged before they have even finished primary school. I am determined to break this cycle and make sure our kids are not being left behind or set up for failure before they have even begun.

Current Progressive Report

Again I am grateful for the chance to reflect on what has been a semester full of activity. The subjects I have recently completed include:

  • Adult Language
  • Clinical Placement
  • Swallowing Across the Lifespan
  • Fluency Across the Lifespan

I found these subjects more challenging than in previous semesters. The most challenging of these subjects was my clinical placement that was held in a hospital working with people recovering from stroke. This was such an interesting experience, I was able to help lots of vulnerable people with their speech, language, and swallowing. I have expanded my knowledge in a field I knew little about. Although I loved the workload, I am still positive I want to work with children, however, it’s great to know that in the future I can potentially change the type of work I am doing.

On a personal note, I was able to leave my casual job at Coles. This was due to that fact that I got a job at a Speech and Occupational Therapy clinic. This new role allows me to travel to a local Indigenous primary school, I work with the kindergarten children which is exactly what I intend to do when I finish my degree. This role has been so good for my mental health and well-being. This semester has also been very challenging. My wife and I are expecting our second child at the end of July, so we have been madly getting organised for the day we meet our little girl for the first time. The new addition to our family has made me more determined than ever to be successful in my studies. Looking forward to the coming semester I am nervous but eager to get off on the right foot. Thank you Rotary, your support not only helps me academically but gives me time with my family, which to me, is the most important thing in the world.

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