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Syd Kapuamealani Zoll, M.S., CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

Director of Walaʻau Therapy LLC 

Hilo location 

Syd is a local-born kama'aina of the Big Island of Hawai'i. A graduate of Kamehameha Schools Hawai'i Campus, she completed her higher education at California State University, Sacramento, where she received her Bachelor's Degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology in 2012 and Master's Degree in Speech Pathology in 2014. She has worked in a variety of settings including private practice, school district, home health services, skilled nursing facilities, adult/pediatric outpatient clinic, and ICU/Acute care unit in several U.S. states. In addition, she has volunteered her time internationally at child development centers in the rural countries of Nicaragua, Uganda, and. Ghana. She returned home to the Big Island in February 2020 to share her expertise and knowledge with her local community. Se habla Español.

Hawai'i License # SP-1661

Board Certified Autism Specialist

ASHA Member of Special Interest Group (SIG) 13 Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders

Member of Hawaii Speech and Hearing Association (HSHA)

Awards and Honors

Article published in ASHA Leader entitled "Lessons Learned from My Sister" Spring 2017

HSH​A Member Spotlight

2021 Fall/Winter Newsletter

Conferences and Workshops

ASHA, New Orleans, November 2022

Talk Tools Feeding First Virtual Conference, January 2022

Parkinson Voice Project Training, October 2021

Hippotherapy Treatment Principles Part 1, September 2020-August 2021

Orton Gillingham Intermediate Training, October 2020

SOS Approach to Feeding 4-day Conference Level 1 July 2019

Dysphagia in Older Adults Online Conference March 2019

Social Thinking Level 1 Assessment April 2017

The Zones of Regulation: A Framework to Foster Self-Regulation and Emotional Control December 2016

International Work

Smiles for Speech, Project Ghana 2022

July 2022, Volunteer Speech-language Pathologist 

Kyaninga Child Development Center, Uganda

October - December 2019, Volunteer Speech-language Pathologist

Nuestros Pequeño Hermanos (NPH), Nicaragua

January-June 2018, Volunteer Speech-language Pathologist

Shayla Podlena, M.A., CCC-SLP 

Speech-Language Pathologist

Shayla graduated from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas, with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a minor in Psychology for her undergraduate degree. She also played on the Fort Hays State University’s Womens Soccer Team. In May of 2022, she graduated with her Masters of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas. Shayla returned to Hawai'i in August 2022 to begin her Clinical Fellowship under the supervision of Syd Kapuamealani Zoll, M.S., CCC-SLP and received her certification in July 2023. Shayla has experience in settings that include: school, hospital-inpatient, private practice, and university clinic. She hopes to find a specialized passion further into her career; right now, she enjoys all areas in Speech-Language Pathology. Shayla enjoys playing soccer, reading by the beach, hanging out with her two cats and boyfriend, visiting different parts of the island, and learning about the culture. She hopes to find other hobbies and meet new people on the island!

Emi Preston, MS, CCC-SLP 

Speech-Language Pathologist

Hilo location 

Emi is a devotional creature. She has lived on Big Island since November 2021 and has fallen in love with the community, beauty, and rawness of the island.

Emi was born in California and moved with her family all around the mainland growing up. Her cats and younger sister were her constant companions during these times of transition. She speaks fluent Spanish and conversational Japanese and Mandarin.

Emi received her Masters in Speech-Language Pathology (CoreSLP Program) from the University of Washington in 2019. She worked as an SLP at an elementary school in Washington for two years, where she specialized in bilingual/multicultural assessment and treatment. During her graduate training and time in the schools, she gained experience evaluating and treating developmental delay as part of an interdisciplinary team. She feels grateful to bring this experience to Wala’au Therapy. It is a great honor to support the growth of our keiki, and to deepen in connection with families.

Outside the clinic, you can find Emi training and performing contortion (ask about upcoming shows!), immersing in the ocean, reading, writing, preparing nourishing meals, basking in sunshine, and talking story.

Stephanie Mullin, MHS, CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

Hilo Location

Stephanie Mullin is an experienced speech language pathologist (SLP) practicing since 2007. She takes pride in providing the most current, research-based care, with interprofessional collaboration to ensure all options are considered for an optimal outcome. Stephanie is driven by the desire to help clients achieve their goals, with a target of "putting herself out of business because the client is doing so well that they don't NEED her anymore." 

She looks forward to remain in contact with many families post-graduation considering the personal bond that is formed and the beauty of close community on the Big Island of Hawaii, where she calls home. Personal time is spent enjoying all the nature and beauty that home has to offer, Stephanie received the Parkinson's Voice Project Grant for 4 years in a row (2019, 2020, 2021,and 2022), hosts a free weekly maintenance speech group for Parkinson's called the LOUD Crowd®, hosts a free monthly ‘Talk Story’ group on Zoom for individuals with communication and cognitive challenges, historically volunteered on the educational affairs committee for the Hawaii Speech Language Hearing Association (HSHA), co-collaborates the SLP medical caucus for Hawaii, and is a preceptor for new hires in home health care. 

Stephanie has experience in a variety of settings and geographic locations including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, outpatient and home health care throughout Indiana, England, Florida, and Hawaii. As a result, she developed well rounded professional and interpersonal skills that are culturally sensitive. A mentality of a lifelong learner offers the opportunity for ongoing development. Through her compassionate, client driven sessions she guides many individuals to regain their ability to swallow, communicate, think, and remember. She is looking forward to meeting you. Let's grow together. 

Essie Jennings, MS, CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

Certified Brain Injury Specialist 

Hilo Location 

Essie received her Masters in speech-language pathology at The University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine and was awarded Student of the Year in 2016. Essie integrates her minor in Nutrition to assist with feeding safety and holistic care for brain and body wellness. Essie puts education at the forefront to be dynamic and current with intervention research within her field. Essie is a licensed Certified Brain Injury Specialist (CBIS) and is passionate in providing individuals with head trauma and/or other neuro-linguistic impact with an in-depth assessment and evidence-based treatment plan. Essie is passionate in dysphagia (swallowing care) and voice therapy and is trained in the McNeil Dysphagia Therapy Program (MDTP) and The Lessac Madsen Resonant Voice Therapy (LMRVT) approach. Essie spent her beginning work experience conducting instrumental exams (both Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallow-FEES and MBSS) Modified Barium Swallow Studies) to develop an extensive understanding and analysis of speech and swallow anatomy and function. Essie's medical background has now allowed her to shift to the pediatric and school-based population for developing integrative practices in the day-to-day communication and feeding needs. Essie is ready to provide speech-language services across the lifespan and enjoys including art and music outlets. “I love helping people find their authentic voice, share their real thoughts, sing, and eat with safety and understanding.” In her spare time, Essie is tending to the aina to plant food via permaculture growing methods to share with her local community. 

Jane Hanano

Patient intake and Authorizations

Jane is a Virtual Assistant here on the Big Island, with many years as an Executive Assistant. Having previously worked as an Executive Assistant in education, the tech world, and with a number of small businesses, Jane is now using her experience working with Wala’au Therapy. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time at the beach, reading, and being with family.  

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