Gold Coast 2018 team members Matthew Levy (Para-swimming), Nina Kennedy (Athletics) and Caitlin Parker (Boxing) are amongst 40 student athletes who have been selected to receive an Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) education scholarship.
The AIS has recently benefited from receiving a generous one-off private monetary donation for the sole purpose of supporting Australian high performance athletes by removing some of the financial challenges in their pursuit of study and educational experiences.
Gold Coast 2018 gold medallist Matthew Levy, who is completing a Master of Business Administration (Innovation and Leadership) at Canberra University, believes the scholarship will allow him to better focus on his training.
Matthew Levy won gold in the 50m Freestyle Para-Swimming S7 event at the Gold Coast 2018 Games. (CGA Archive)
“The AIS Scholarship will allow me to focus on my training free of the financial burden associated with an MBA,” Levy said.
The Swimming Australia Dolphins team member, who is also the co-chair of the Commonwealth Games Australia Athlete Advisory Group, feels knowing he has financial support for his studies allows him “to put the best into his swimming training”.
For Gold Coast 2018 bronze medallist Nina Kennedy, receiving the AIS scholarship provides a sense of relief.
Nina Kennedy won bronze in the women’s pole vault event at the Gold Coast 2018 Games. (CGA Archive)
“The AIS Education Scholarship will benefit my training as the money gives me a sense of relief… athletes don’t make a lot of money and often rely on scholarships to help fund their careers,” Kennedy said.
“I’m incredibly grateful to have received the AIS Education Scholarship.”
The Athletics Australia pole vaulter has only five units left in a Bachelor of Behavioural Science at the University of Notre Dame – Fremantle but despite some challenges experience by almost every student athlete she enjoys the experience.
“Being a student athlete is tricky… however they balance each other out [training and studying],” Kennedy said.
“Studying gives me a sense of normality outside of my training environment.
“The university is super understanding and encouraging of my sport commitments.
“Handing in assignments and managing exam periods around training can be taxing, but other than that, I enjoy the student athlete lifestyle.”
Gold Coast 2018 silver medallist Caitlin Parker feels receiving the scholarship will result in her being at her best heading into the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and leading into the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Caitlin Parker won silver in the women’s 75kg boxing category at the Gold Coast 2018 Games. (CGA Archive)
“A challenge I have faced being a student athlete is stressing about funds, as training as a full-time athlete I am unable to find work with my schedule and constant travel,” Parker said.
“The scholarship financial benefits are a big help to me as coming back into study while balancing my training can be challenging, but with the support of the AIS and the scholarship benefit, I can stress a bit less with finances.”
The Boxing Australia star is studying a Diploma of Sport Coaching and Development with the Carlton College of Sport and La Trobe University, and is finding her education is helping with training and her focus in the ring.
“I have found my studies have complimented my training… If I am feeling tired or had enough of one, I get an escape doing the other.
“With the course that I am doing I am able to use a lot of the knowledge that I am learning and apply it in my life as an athlete… I feel like studying has helped me to think more and have better focus.”
The full list of 2020 AIS Education Scholarships can be found here: