Elite athletes Erin McKinnon and Daniel Poletto have recently been awarded the Senate Scholarships for Outstanding Academic Achievement.
Erin McKinnon, a second year Bachelor of Applied Science student, maintains excellent grades while also being a part of the AFLW All Australian Squad. She is one of the two athletes who have had the opportunity to make this team for a second year in a row.
Her season was characterized by having more hit outs than any of her competition, with 173 this year, averaging 24.7 per game.
Studying Sport and Exercise Science, she hopes to find a career in strength and conditioning coaching or sports analysis.
When it comes to balancing her sport with her studies, McKinnon has a routine down, saying that time management and organization are key factors. “After I get home from uni I have to make sure I prioritize all my homework, assignments and study, and make sure that I utilize the limited time I have before trainings to the best of my ability, rather than just sitting on the couch and watching TV, no matter how tempting it is.”
Daniel Poletto is a third year Bachelor of Veterinary Biology and Veterinary Medicine student with a sound academic average who just made his first grade debut for SUFC.
Although he has been on the team for a short time, his first season was memorable as the team won the 2017 Colts Championship to round off their undefeated season.
In 10 years, he hopes to be well immersed in the veterinary world, with his dream jobs being a part-time specialist veterinarian and a part-time wildlife vet volunteering in Africa, Sri Lanka or anywhere else the job takes him.
To other athletes who may be struggling with being an athlete and a student, Poletto advises, “hold yourself accountable to make yourself get the work done.” He also notes that “there’s so much support out there in the form of coaches, teammates, and other services that are waiting to be used, so use them.”
Both athletes illustrate the balance between competing in sport and keeping excellent grades in their academics, something that takes hard work and commitment. McKinnon and Poletto both acknowledged how grateful they are to be awarded such a prestigious scholarship.
“I hold this scholarship in high esteem and I am grateful for the recognition of my efforts that this bestows,” Poletto said. “Knowing I’ve been making good ground on my studies make me want to keep working harder to reach the end and narrow down on that end goal in sight.”