Top Speech-Language Therapy Graduate
‘It is a huge achievement to graduate cum laude and be recognised as one of the top students in my class,’ said Bachelor of Speech-Language Pathology graduate, Ms Latara Joseph.
‘I believe in doing my best in everything I do and constantly striving to improve myself. This achievement is testimony that hard work, consistency and determination are key to succeeding,’ said Joseph. ‘I am elated that my hard work, stress, and sacrifices have culminated in this accomplishment. I share it with my family who supported me throughout this journey.’
Her future aspirations include achieving her Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology; founding an organisation that makes communication, feeding and swallowing disorders more visible in society; creating awareness of the profession and improving access to speech therapy services.
‘Ultimately, I aspire to use my professional skills and the knowledge obtained from my previous and current degrees to become an agent for change in the transformation of our country’s health sector,’ she said.
Joseph previously completed a Bachelor of Social Science majoring in Industrial and Clinical Psychology and an Honours degree in Psychology at UKZN. During her academic career she was awarded several certificates of merit and a Golden Key Award.
Whilst studying, she volunteered at several rehabilitation centers. Her interest in Speech Therapy was sparked when she volunteered at Headway, a rehabilitation centre for people with acquired brain injuries and stroke victims. ‘I was fascinated by the services that a speech therapist provides. Furthermore, working with individuals with varying disabilities taught me to focus on ability rather than disability,’ she said.
‘One of the major challenges was completing my final-year during a global pandemic and a time of much uncertainty. I experienced increased levels of anxiety and stress which I channeled into coping with the demands of the adapted curriculum and working even harder. I realised that it is extremely important to take care of one’s wellbeing. I am grateful for the support of my family and friends, my lecturers and my classmates.’
Joseph is currently completing her community service at Ladysmith Provincial Hospital, KwaZulu-Natal.
‘I am thoroughly enjoying working in such a rewarding environment where I am constantly challenged to adapt the knowledge and skills acquired during my training. I have grown an interest in working in the areas of acquired communication disorders and dysphagia,’ she said.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini