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Student story

Eloise Smith

20 July 2023

"I enjoy being able to share my knowledge and passion for speech therapy with others..."


Bachelor of Speech and Language Pathology with Honours 

Studying towards a PhD in Speech and Language Sciences

“Speech therapy is a fantastic area to study and work in,’ Eloise says. ‘I love the variety of work as a speech therapist and helping people to recover from and adapt to their stroke and the difficulties they were experiencing as a result of this.”

When choosing her university studies, Eloise decided on Speech and language Pathology because of its strong scientific approach while still working directly with patients.

The practical emphasis in the undergraduate degree was especially motivating and helped Eloise discover that she particularly enjoyed working with the elderly in hospital settings.

“It is such a varied area of work, you can work with people of all ages and across a variety of areas. I loved that we were learning about neuroscience, anatomy, and psychology and at the same time were engaging with real clients and getting clinical experience.”

After graduating and working in an acute hospital with stroke patients for over a year, Eloise found she wanted to contribute even more to the industry through research.

“I enjoyed the ‘problem-solving’ aspect of my work, and felt that by returning to study I could focus on this type of thinking and hopefully benefit more than one patient, and create some of that research that our area is needing,” she says.

Eloise’s PhD work investigates dysphagia with the Rose Centre for Stroke Recovery and Research.

“I am planning on investigating a new assessment for swallowing disorders that will allow us to measure muscle function and identify tightness in the swallowing muscles,” she says.

“Particularly in my area of study, the Rose Centre here at UC has the best equipment, machines and gadgets, and of course supervisors! The research that they are producing is leading the way in dysphagia assessment and rehabilitation. We are a very close and supportive group and it helps so much to have people that can help you with problem solving or give you tips from further on in the PhD journey.”

The wider UC community has also been a highlight during her study journey.

“I think UC has a great student culture both for undergrad and postgrad students. I have loved seeing the development of the campus over my study here and all the new spaces that are opening up. There are some fantastic cafés and spaces where you can get away from your desk and catch up with friends and other students.”

She enjoys taking part in events specifically for the close-knit postgraduate community, such as the “Bake Your Thesis” competition where students create cakes to illustrate their research.

In 2019, Eloise took part in the Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT) at UC, in which PhD students have only three minutes to present their entire thesis work. Eloise placed first overall, and went on to represent UC in the Asia-Pacific finals, held in Australia.

“This was an amazing experience and it was great to meet people from other departments in the University and hear what they are researching. It was also a great way to think about the big “why?” for my research and break down a very complex area of study into something that is understandable in three minutes. So now if anybody asks me what I am studying I have a really good short answer!”

Following her PhD, Eloise hopes to continue with research and even become a lecturer so that she can continue developing and contributing research to clinical work in the industry.

“I enjoy being able to share my knowledge and passion for speech therapy with others. Our field is growing so fast and there are constantly new developments, and I want to be at the forefront of research and helping to translate this research into Speech-Language Pathology education and clinical practice so that patients can really benefit,” she says.

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