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Scholarships help student athletes achieve goals

Seven outstanding USC student athletes have shared in more than $50,000 in scholarships to help them achieve their academic and sporting goals.

The scholarships, presented by USC during Orientation Week as part of its High Performance Student Athlete (HPSA) program launch, included the coveted June Canavan Para-athlete Sport scholarship worth $20,000.

This award went to Australian wheelchair basketballer Hannah Dodd who is studying a Bachelor of Health Science, majoring in Prosthetics and Orthotics.

Ms Dodd was competing at the 2018 Japan Cup in Asaka last week, so USC researcher and Paralympic wheelchair basketballer Bridie Kean accepted it on her behalf.

Two USC Sport Scholarships worth $6,000 each went to Primary Education student Jordan Mercer for her achievements in surf lifesaving and Occupational Therapy student Annabella Sorby for her efforts in representative netball.

And four $5,000 USC Sport-Smart Scholarships for school leavers were awarded to Law student Emily Dring (swimming), Engineering student Heidi Osborne (netball), Nutrition and Dietetics student Tylah Shanahan (surf lifesaving) and Education (Secondary) student Zahn Sturgess (water polo).

Zahn, who graduated from St John’s College in Nambour with an OP5, said he was thrilled to receive the scholarship in his first year at university.

“It can get pretty expensive travelling to all the water polo events, so it’s just nice knowing that I have that extra money for those upcoming tournaments,” Zahn said.

USC’s HPSA program now supports more than 110 students, who compete in 24 different sports, including rugby league, martial arts and kayaking. The student athletes are enrolled in 31 different study programs.

USC’s Director of High Performance Sport Professor Brendan Burkett said a lot of investment went into supporting and creating a star athlete.

“Through research we’ve shown that student athletes can often perform in their sport for longer because they’re not worried about life after a sporting career,” Professor Burkett said.

“Generally, student athletes are also well organised and have pretty good time management, so they’re good at setting goals. But the internal support from USC helps a lot too.”

- Tom Snowdon

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