Oztag director provides bursaries to USC students


Brendan Powell presenting scholarship certificates to Tessa Campbell, left, and Rachael Harper’s mother Lisa Ney

A USC Master of Business Administration graduate behind the rapid expansion of Queensland Oztag in the past decade has presented two USC student athletes with bursaries to encourage their sport and career aspirations.

Brendan Powell, who was Alumnus of the Year – Regional Achievement in 2014 and the recipient of a Vice-Chancellor’s Diversity and Inclusion Award in 2018, has introduced two $2,000 bursaries.

The recipients, announced at last week’s USC High Performance Student Athlete (HPSA) 2020 program launch, were Tessa Campbell of Buderim and Rachael Harper of Wamuran.

Criteria included sporting achievement in Oztag, academic merit and financial need, with the bursaries designed to assist study and living costs such as textbooks and transport.

Tessa Campbell, 20, is studying a Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology.

The former Matthew Flinders Anglican College prefect is now training with Maroochydore Suns to contest the Oztag State Cup in March, and with the U20 Australian women’s team to compete in New Zealand in April.

Tullawong State High School graduate Rachael Harper is a Criminology and Justice student who has represented Australia and Queensland in Oztag for four years and refereed for various clubs.

Rachael, 19, won Moreton Bay Regional Council’s 2018 Australia Day Youth Sports Award and carried the Queen’s Baton in Redcliffe on its way to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Mr Powell said he wanted other students to benefit from the experiences and opportunities he had enjoyed while studying and working at the University in the 2000s.

“These bursaries celebrate the successes and support the career aspirations of Oztag athletes and I think all sports should do the same if they have the chance,” said the recipient of this year’s Sunshine Coast Council Australia Day Award for Sport and Recreation.

“Queensland Oztag has an ongoing partnership with USC, and I see this as another way of helping our Oztag family members studying there.

“USC allowed me to set up a life in this amazing region so it’s a no-brainer to give back.”

Mr Powell, who also received a 2020 Sunshine Coast Sports Federation Award for best event last year, attended the HPSA program celebration on campus at Sippy Downs.

The Nambour RSL Club Elite Athlete scholarship was presented to equestrian competitor Georgia Laird, who is studying Occupational Therapy.

Two USC Sport Scholarships were awarded to surfer Sophie McCulloch, studying Science and Business, and cyclist Matthew Rice, studying Recreation and Outdoor Environmental Studies.

A panel of four current USC student athletes also gave insights into how they balanced academia, sport and other commitments.

Journalism student and Spartans swimmer Braeden Jason interviewed Lana Rogers (surf lifesaver and recent Coolangatta Gold winner), Jacqui Russell (Lightning netball player), Russel Taib (Malaysian national sprinting champion), and Lani Pallister (swimmer and surf lifesaver).

Tessa Campbell in action on the field.

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