Sport Science graduate wins NRL Sharks internship - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Sport Science graduate wins NRL Sharks internship

17 Oct 2016

A 21-year-old University of the Sunshine Coast student passionate about football, education and science has won an internship with National Rugby League team, the Cronulla Sharks.

Jacob Stains, a postgraduate Education student who was awarded his USC Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science earlier this year, will move to Sydney in November for the exciting opportunity in his favourite fields.

“I was one of three people chosen from 200 applicants for this 11-month role, which is a major step towards working in the high performance sport industry,” he said.

The Maroochydore resident, who currently works as a sports and exercise scientist with Sunshine Coast Grammar School’s rugby program, said the internship would combine strength and conditioning with sport science.

“I expect to be assisting gym exercises, loads and field conditioning, as well as monitoring workloads through GPS tracking and other modalities,” said Jacob, who has enjoyed playing both league and union, including with the Sunshine Coast Stingrays.

Jacob will have to leave behind a very supportive USC study partner – his mother Trish Fitzgerald, who enrolled in a Bachelor of Primary Education in 2013, the same year that Jacob started his degree at the University.

Trish, of Forest Glen, aims to become a teacher after years as both a paid and volunteer aide in classes at Sunshine Coast Grammar School, where Jacob completed his schooling.

“My passion in life is to create environments where students can develop joy and connections to their learning,” she said. “I want them to love learning and gain a deeper understanding of life.”

She said it had been wonderful studying with her son at the friendly Sippy Downs campus.

“He has had to put up with his mother following him around at his places of education since he was in Year 4. However, he’s never stopped greeting me with a warm smile and big hug,” Trish said.

“My best friends at USC are my son’s age, so it is lovely to relate to him as a mother, mentor and academic peer. We talk about good teaching practice and the educational theories that this University has taught us.”

Jacob said: “Mum and I have had a great time studying together, from venting about our ‘favourite’ courses to catching up for lunch at the brasserie.

“We’ve helped to critically review each other’s papers. My strong suit is PE and Biology whereas Mum is dominant in her knowledge of educational theories.”

Jacob’s Cronulla job will be following in the footsteps of his father, former Cronulla prop Dan Stains who played State of Origin for Queensland and also represented Australia in the late 1980s and 1990s. Dan now coaches the Nambour Crushers Under 14s.

— Julie Schomberg

Mother-and-son USC students Trish Fitzgerald and Jacob Stains.

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