Thirty-seven athletes, including Commonwealth Games Australia and Kurt Fearnley Scholarship alumni, from 19 sports and 21 tertiary institutions have been awarded more than $100,000 in AIS Education Scholarships, a program supporting athletes to be successful in sport, education and life.
Three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Kaarle McCulloch, Glasgow 2014 boxer Kristy Harris, Gold Coast 2018 shooter Victoria Rossiter, two-time Kurt Fearnley Scholarship recipient Aimee Fisher and a raft of Birmingham 2022 potential Team Members are among the athletes receiving this round of Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Education Scholarships.
A key feature of this year’s expanded program is supporting athletes with education earlier in their high performance sporting careers.
More than three-quarters of athletes awarded scholarships in this round are categorised as ‘Developing’ or ‘Emerging’, the first two steps on an Australian athlete’s journey to becoming an international medallist.
The AIS Education Scholarship program is doubling from last year’s inaugural program and offering a total $200,000 in scholarships for 2021-22, thanks to support from the John and Myriam Wylie Foundation.
A second round will open in March 2022.
Mr Wylie, former Chair of the Australian Sports Commission, said “sport and education is a winning mix. Every athlete goes into competition with a game-plan, this program with the AIS is about helping more Australian athletes to pursue education as part of their broader life plan. Every athlete receiving one of these grants has talents beyond the sporting arena, you just have to look at the breadth of education courses they’re undertaking. There’s health education like paramedics, speech pathology, sonography and medicine, though to diverse areas such as science, commerce, design, engineering and so much more.
“Our message to athletes is sporting success doesn’t have to be at the sacrifice of other ambitions, especially education and career pathways. If we can encourage more athletes to engage with education at the start of their sporting careers, we’ll no doubt have more successful leaders emerging from sport and into their communities.”
After recently announcing her retirement from her illustrious track cycling career, Kaarle McCulloch now turns her attention to her studies of a Bachelor of Education Health and Physical Education at Charles Sturt University and believes the scholarship will provide financial relief as she progresses into the next stage of her life.
“I am very grateful for the support I have received from the AIS Education Scholarship. It has been important to me to focus on life away from sport during my career as an athlete so that I can utilise my skills that I have learnt as an athlete in other areas of life,” McCulloch said.
“This scholarship in particular covers the costs of some courses that once I am able to begin working I have less debt. For some this may not seem like much but as a 33-year-old recently retired athlete who one day dreams of owning my own home and is far behind people of the same age in terms of being able to achieve this it really has a significant impact.”
Two-time Kurt Fearnley scholarship recipient Aimee Fisher is thrilled to have received the scholarship funding support which she believes will fast track her goals, not only on the track as a promising young wheelchair racer but also in the classroom towards her goal occupation as a medical sonographer.
“My passion for sport and study have always shared equal priority and importance, providing me with physical and mental balance and challenging me to achieve at my best. For me, there is a sense of purpose and fulfilment in balancing these facets of my life and seeing the results of hard work and determination put into striving towards lifelong dreams and goals set along the way,” Fisher said.
“My study and sport complement each other, offering me the opportunity for personal growth, skill development and establishment of connections. I hope by sharing my identity as a para-athlete off the track, they will help me change perceptions of what is possible and encourage other young people with disabilities to aspire. Establishing this foundation and balance, with the generous support of the AIS and this scholarship, will provide an avenue for me to pursue my goals to be a Paralympian and Medical Sonographer.”
The AIS has prioritised athlete education and created more specialised athlete support by building its Elite Athlete Education Network (EAEN) across the country.
AIS CEO Peter Conde said: “The AIS now has formal links with more than 40 universities and 12 TAFEs, giving Australian athletes greater choice and flexibility with their education support. Our priority is to support those athletes who demonstrate a genuine commitment to study and can use their own experiences to inspire and benefit others, in sport and the broader community.”
AIS Education Scholarship recipients:
Abby Andrews: Water Polo Australia, The University of Queensland, Bachelor Advanced Finance and Economics, QLD
Abigail Paduch: Judo Australia, Australian Catholic University, Bachelor High Performance Sport, NSW
Aimee Fisher: Athletics Australia, Central Queensland University, B. Medical Sonography/Graduate Diploma Medical Sonography, NSW
Alec Paterson: Rowing Australia, The University of South Australia, Bachelor Construction Management, TAS
Alexander English: Australian Fencing Federation, Deakin University, Bachelor Sport and Exercise Science, VIC
Alexander Rossi: Rowing Australia, Notre Dame, Bachelor Biomedical Science, WA
Alyssa West: Water Polo Australia, Flinders University, Bachelor Health Sciences/Master of Physiotherapy, SA
Amelia Quinlan: Australian Sailing, The University of New South Wales, Bachelor Actuarial Studies (Co-op), NSW
Caitlin Bettenay: Volleyball Australia, The University of Queensland, Masters of Physiotherapy Studies, QLD
Caitlin Webber: Paddle Australia, Flinders University, Bachelor Education (Secondary)/B Health Science, SA
Cameron Girdlestone: Rowing Australia, University of Western Sydney, Graduate Diploma in Property Investment, ACT
Catriona Bisset: Athletics Australia, The University of Melbourne, Master of Architecture, VIC
Hayden Beltz: Hockey Australia, Curtin University, Bachelor of Science, WA
Jack Lunn: Athletics Australia, Monash University, Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Science, VIC
Jana Milutinovic: Volleyball Australia, Australian National University, Bachelor of Psychology (Honours), SA
Jayshaan Randhawa: Hockey Australia, RMIT, Master of Biotechnology, VIC
Jessica Borg: Australian Taekwondo, Griffith University, Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Law Honors, QLD
Joseph Wilson: Rowing Australia, University of Tasmania, Bachelor of Science (Hons), TAS
Kaarle McCulloch: AusCycling, Charles Sturt University, Bachelor of Education Health and Physical Education, NSW
Katerina Paul: Snow Australia, La Trobe University, Bachelor of Business (Sport Management), VIC
Kira Ward: Gymnastics Australia, Australian College of Physical Education, B. Education (Physical & Health), NSW
Kristina Bates: Hockey Australia, Deakin University, Bachelor of Laws, VIC
Kristy Harris: Boxing Australia, Deakin University, Bachelor of Psychological Science, VIC
Liam Twomey: Triathlon Australia, Deakin University, Bachelor of Exercise & Sport Science, VIC
Luke Bate: Triathlon Australia, The University of South Australia, Bachelor Health Science (Nutrition and Exercise), NSW
Mackenzie Mielczarek: Athletics Australia, Deakin University, Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science, VIC
Matthew Graham: Snow Australia, University of Newcastle, Bachelor Civil Engineering (Honours)/B of Business, NSW
Nathan Katz: Judo Australia, Charles Sturt University, Bachelor of Sports Media, NSW
Olivia O’Rourke: Diving Australia, University of Technology Sydney Bachelor of Construction Project Management, NSW
Remashree Muniandy: Squash Australia, Flinders University, Bachelor of Paramedic Science, SA
Seve de Campo: Snow Australia, Australian National University, Bachelor Engineering (Hons) / Commerce, ACT
Stacey Hymer: Australian Taekwondo, RMIT, Bachelor of Food Technology and Nutrition, VIC
Tahlia Blanshard: Swimming Australia, Australian College of Physical Education, B. Health Science (Exercise), NSW
Tess Lloyd: Australian Sailing, Monash University, Bachelor of Arts, VIC
Victoria Rossiter: Shooting Australia, Flinders University, Bachelor of Speech Pathology, SA
Will Thompson: Athletics Australia, Australian Catholic University, Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science, VIC
Zoe Cuthbert: AusCycling, Australian National University, Bachelor of Design, ACT
With thanks to the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).