"From the mountain to the sea, communication is key."



OUR TEAM

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

Speech-Language Pathologist

Director of Walaʻau Therapy LLC 

Hilo location 


[email protected]

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

https://leader.pubs.asha.org/doi/full/10.1044/leader.FPLP.22082017.88


HSH​A Member Spotlight

2021 Fall/Winter Newsletter

https://hsha.wildapricot.org/resources/Documents/Newsletters/2021%20Fall%20Winter%20Newsletter%20(3).pdf


Conferences and Workshops

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., CF-SLP 

Speech-Language Pathologist, Clinical Fellow  

Hilo location

[email protected]

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, in which she will receive her full licensure (CCC-SLP) after nine months. 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 


[email protected]

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 Kam, MS, CCC-SLP 

Speech-Language Pathologist

Waimea location 


[email protected]alaautherapy.com

Stephanie Kam is a licensed speech-language pathologist certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She received her Bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development from Point Loma Nazarene University in 2016 and her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from California Baptist University in 2020. Stephanie has had experience assessing and treating speech and language disorders in pediatric, adult, and geriatric populations across a variety of settings including schools, outpatient/university clinics, and home-health. She is particularly passionate about working with clients in early childhood and their families. Prior to becoming a speech-language pathologist, Stephanie worked as a newborn hearing screener and early childhood educator and volunteered with at-risk youth through community outreach and as a court-appointed special advocate. Outside of work, Stephanie enjoys surfing, art, and reading. She is excited to be a new member of the Walaʻau Therapy hui and looks forward to learning how she can best serve the community.

Essie Jennings, MS, CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

Certified Brain Injury Specialist 

Hilo Location 

[email protected]

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

[email protected]


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.  

Interested in working for our awesome team? 

We are currently hiring Part-time Pediatric/Adult Speech-language Pathologists 

Contact Us

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