Elite ambitions: QUT sports scholarships launched for 2024

Ten QUT student-athletes, including archer Patrick Willis and sport climber Clea Hall (both pictured above), have been awarded $10,000 QUT-Australian Institute of Sport Scholarships to help them pursue their sport and education ambitions in 2024.

The students were recognised last week at QUT’s Elite Athlete Scholarships launch in Brisbane.

Guests at the launch included Olympic and Commonwealth Games swimming medallists Jack McLoughlin and Bronte Barratt, who are both QUT alumni.

Industry partner representatives from Deloitte, PlayBook, Green and Gold Athletes, and Minerva also attended to discuss professional development opportunities for the students.

Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Executive General Manager, AIS Performance, Matti Clements said the institute valued its continuing relationship with QUT.

She said they were proud to partner with the university on the QUT-AIS Scholarship for a third year in a row.

“This scholarship is putting into the practice the intent and aspirations of Australia’s High Performance 2032+ Sport Strategy,” she said.

“This strategy focuses on the need for our current and future athletes to be able to win well in sport and in life.

“We all have a role to play in achieving this vision and QUT are demonstrating through this partnership the valuable role Australia’s university sector can play.”

QUT Director of Sport Emily Rosemond said the university was also pleased with the success of the scholarships.

“This initiative has demonstrated the critical role that a unified system plays in the holistic development of athletes,” she said.

“Through the integration of resources, expertise, and support networks, these scholarships have ensured that our student-athletes are fully supported.”

The 10 QUT-AIS scholarship recipients for 2024 (and their courses) are:

  • Clea Hall, sport climbing (Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology)
  • Monique Hanlon, athletics (Bachelor of Medical Imaging)
  • Mihaylia Howell, hockey (Bachelor of Podiatry)
  • Ainsley Barker, rhythmic gymnastics (Bachelor of Education (Secondary)/Bachelor of Fine Arts)
  • Luke Ryan, beach volleyball (Bachelor of Data Science)
  • Pat Willis, archery (Bachelor of Data Science/Bachelor of Creative Industries)
  • Ty Hartwell, swimming (Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Communication)
  • Jessica Emerson, water polo (Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology)
  • Jamie Jack, swimming (Bachelor of Engineering / Bachelor of Mathematics)
  • Zahli Kelly, surfing (Bachelor of Justice)
Clea Hall will use her QUT-AIS Scholarship to train and compete overseas in bouldering and lead climbing.

Sport climber Clea Hall said her QUT-AIS Scholarship would help her travel to competitions and training camps this year.

Her best result so far in her eight years climbing has been being named Overall Youth National Champion in 2022 and competing in the world championships in Texas.

“Sport climbing is still not a government-funded sport, which means athletes have to fund everything by themselves,” Clea said.

“Receiving the QUT-AIS scholarship removes a lot of financial stress and means that I can achieve a balance between my sport, studies and life.

“I hope to use the money to fund two trips – one to Slovenia for the World University Championships and the other to France for summer training from December to January.”

Clea said she had always wanted to study a health-related field, as she wanted to help other people – and also learn information that would help her own athletic career, and other female athletes.

“Being a female in a currently male-dominated sport makes me aware of so many injustices,” she said.

“After I finish my Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology, I hope to go into research about peak female performance and the menstrual cycle.

“I believe that more communal understanding around how female performance fluctuates can help alleviate some of the stigma around women in sport as ‘weaker’ than their male counterparts.”

Archer Patrick Willis has received a 2024 QUT-AIS Scholarship to help fund his training, study and equipment.

Archer Patrick Willis lives and trains on the Sunshine Coast and has started a double degree in data science and creative industries. He is studying online, while also shooting 1000 arrows a week at the Sunshine Coast Archery Club.

“The QUT-AIS Scholarship will help greatly with my sport, as travel and equipment are very expensive – a dozen arrows can cost upwards of $1000,” he said.

“It will also benefit my studies by helping pay for a laptop so that I can study while at training and competitions.

“My goal for this year is to train lots in hopes of qualifying for the 2025 World University Games, with qualifying for the 2025 Asia cup being my most ambitious goal.

“My biggest recent achievements are competing at the 2023 World Archery Youth Championships hosted in Ireland, two silver medals at the 2023 Trans-Tasman Championships and a bronze medal at the 2022 open nationals.”

Patrick said he chose to enrol in study data science after a gap because of the career flexibility the course and career path offered.

“At the moment I am undecided on the career I want to pursue with this degree – it’s hard to choose with the amount of variety data science offers,” he said.

“Currently I’m most interested in a career that involves discovering disease-causing genes by using machine learning.”

Patrick Willis is balancing his archery training on the Sunshine Coast with online study at QUT in Brisbane.

QUT’s 2024 scholarship launch event in Brisbane recognised a total of 55 athletes who received a variety of scholarships, including four students who received new $10,000 QUT Elite Sport Scholarships in Partnership with the Queensland Academy of Sport.

They are:

  • Matilda Moore, water polo (Master of Optometry)
  • Alec Patterson, rowing (Bachelor of Urban Development (Honours))
  • Lewis Bishop, swimming (Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology)
  • Kayla Mears, beach volleyball (Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics (Honours))

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