Zoe King is a Bundjalung woman from the Casino region of the Northern Rivers in NSW. She now lives and studies on Yaggura Country in Brisbane. She is currently completing her 4th and final year in a Bachelor of Speech Pathology with Honours from the University of Queensland.
During high school, Zoe never pictured being anything other than a teacher. At the end of year 12, Zoe applied to begin a Bachelor of Primary Education at Queensland University of Technology. After a year of study, she decided that teaching wasn’t for her. Zoe was familiar with the benefits and impacts of Speech Pathology, having received the service as a child for speech difficulties. With the support of her mother and her high school teachers, she was accepted into The University of Queensland’s Bachelor of Speech Pathology for 2013.
Just over three years later, Zoe has now entered her 4th and final year of her degree. The journey has hardly ever been easy, with Zoe saying one of the hardest parts of the degree was the overwhelming amount of knowledge to remember, commonly telling people who asked if her degree was hard that “the content isn’t hard to understand exactly, more there is just so much to remember!”.
Many in Zoe’s circle of friends and family did not know what speech pathology was exactly but supported her nonetheless. Zoe says that a lot of her determination to succeed in her degree comes from the support of her mother, who always believed she could get the best outcomes and do anything her mind was set on.
As a student speech pathologist, Zoe has most enjoyed seeing the progress of those she has worked with. “When a child with ASD says their first word, when a post-stroke patient is able to say I love you to their spouse after language difficulties or they are able to eat their favourite food and have a cup of tea after suffering from swallowing difficulties is what makes speech pathology so worth it”.
In five years, Zoe hopes to be a fully qualified speech pathologist, hold a Diploma of Science, and graduate from medicine. One of Zoe’s dreams is to work with The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health in Brisbane, QLD. Zoe plans on having a lifelong connection to IAHA and would like to continue her involvement with the HFTC either as a participant or mentor.
Zoe feels that IAHA has been a huge support network for her over the past two years. She says participating in the HFTC has supported her learning and understanding of being a speech pathologist in a multidisciplinary team. In addition, she feels that IAHA has provided her with amazing leadership opportunities that helped her grow into a confident young Indigenous healthcare professional.
To anyone who is thinking about becoming a speech pathologist in the near or distant future, Zoe says, “just go for it! You don’t realise the number of areas that are involved in the profession until you are immersed in it.”