Speech Pathology: Lottie Morison

Inspired by her teachers, Lottie Morison is now inspiring others as a research assistant, speech pathologist and PhD candidate working at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute.

Lottie M

Lottie Morison always wanted to be a speech pathologist after growing up with a relative who had additional communication needs. After completing a Master of Speech Pathology in 2019, she is now a paediatric speech pathologist and PhD candidate at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

Lottie is driven by the children she treats and their families. “I want to contribute positively to the lives of others, particularly those who are most vulnerable with additional communication needs and lived experiences of disability,” she says.

Why the University of Melbourne?

What really made the University of Melbourne stand out was the research component of the second year of the masters, comprising one quarter of final year marks. I was interested in research and was excited by the opportunity to study with leading speech pathology researchers.

What are your strongest memories of university?

The relationships I made with my peers. These have been both invaluable career connections but also wonderful friendships. I also look fondly upon my clinical placements, and the diverse range of experiences I was exposed to from school to hospital settings.

Who motivated you?

I was very motivated by the faculty staff … who cared so passionately about us as students and the subject matter they were teaching. To say I was inspired would be an understatement.

What goals did you set, and have you stuck to that plan?

My goal was to both work as a paediatric speech pathologist and to one day do my PhD. I worked clinically as a paediatric speech pathologist for two years and will commence my PhD in June [2022], 2.5 years after finishing university. I would say I have stuck to the plan.

What drew you to your field and what do you love about it?

I had a family member with a disability and saw how their access to speech pathology services built their communication skills and consequently, their communication autonomy.

Tell us more about your role and how your studies helped you prepare for it.

My current role is as a Research Assistant, speech pathologist and PhD candidate in the Speech and Language team at Murdoch Children's Research Institute. The leader of the Speech and Language team, Professor Angela Morgan, was one of my lecturers and my supervisors during my masters thesis project.

Angela ignited my passion for research and provided me with a window of what was possible in speech and language research. She is now also my PhD supervisor. Hence, my studies at university not only prepared me but also opened doors for my future role/s.

What books, texts, or thinkers inspire you?

I am biased, but my big inspiration is … Professor Angela Morgan, a ground-breaking speech and language researcher. The families I work with inspire me every day too.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome these?

I started working as a speech pathologist in 2020, and obviously this was a very challenging two years. Suddenly I was working from home, navigating the world of working with children via Telehealth (on Zoom sometimes 8< hours a day!).

I overcame this challenge with the support of my speech pathology friends and colleagues, who were all in the same boat.

What are some career highlights and what’s next?

Being awarded the Health Sciences PhD award for 2022 and publishing my first, first-author paper! I am excited to be involved in more research projects and build my research knowledge and collaborations throughout my PhD candidature.

What advice do you have for current students?

Savour the time you're at university! It can be hard work, juggling lots of things on your plate, but enjoy it. You have access to some of the most experienced, knowledgeable people in your areas of study. You are also surrounded by like-minded peers who similar passions.

What does success mean to you?

Applying yourself to the best of your ability to make positive change in your profession or community.

Who would you like to invite for dinner and why?

Grace Tame. As a young woman her courage and determination has been an inspiration to me and given me real hope about the future.