Indigenous Health Scholarship 2022
University of Newcastle, NSW
Bachelor of Speech Pathology
Scholarship Awarded 2022
Rotary Club of Parramatta
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
I am glad to be writing this letter to you with another semester done and dusted. It was clear to see from week one that the University was looking to ask more from its now 2nd-year students. As a full-time student, I had 4 subjects throughout semester one. These included:
- Multimodal communication
- Language, literacy, hearing
- Clinical placement
I enjoyed the content from all courses this semester and continue to build on the knowledge I have retained from the previous two years of study.
Perhaps the most memorable part of my university experience to date was my first clinical placement. This subject allowed access to a primary school for a full eight-hour day once a week with the supervision of a professional speech pathologist. I sat down with indigenous children in kindergarten and year one, talking, listening, and playing games while incorporating speech pathology practices. I am one of only two males in my entire cohort and being a proud indigenous student motivated to work with indigenous children my clinical educator was excited by my presence in the school. I offered thoughts that certain students would greatly benefit from doing therapy outdoors, this was well received by my clinical educator. She gave me the freedom to run my therapy sessions outdoors in fun and interesting ways. For example, I worked with a child who had a speech sound disorder, while passing a football on the grass, with trees surrounding us, we began to work on the position of his tongue when producing certain words. The football was a fantastic motivator, we saw incredible growth and development, to the point of this child now having age-appropriate speech and language. This experience affirmed that I am exactly where I need to be in my life’s journey. It had an enormous impact on my self-confidence and faith in my ability. I am determined to finish this degree and use speech pathology practice as a tool to help close the gap in indigenous education.
Thank you, again Rotary family, for your kindness, your financial assistance helps me be a better student, father, and partner. I look forward to another challenging semester and I am currently looking to stop working at Coles and find a paid position in a school as a teacher’s assistant.