Asheligh Marshall awarded scholarship by Amy Gillett Foundation to conduct important PhD research

Victoria University is partnering with the Amy Gillett Foundation (AGF) to support PhD research into positive career transitions for female athletes, beyond sport.

Ashleigh Marshall was awarded the AGF’s Research Scholarship for her study into how national sporting organisations can maximise opportunities for elite female athletes who suddenly need to transition into a new career.

“I am extremely honoured to receive this scholarship from the Amy Gillett Foundation and Victoria University, and excited to be able to further Amy’s vision of improving and enhancing support for female elite athletes,” said Ashleigh.

Research aims to improve policy & practice

Lead supervisor of Ashleigh’s PhD, Professor Clare Hanlon, said “opportunities are increasing for women to become professional athletes; unfortunately, these women may experience a sudden career transition away from playing elite sport.

"The unique aim of this research is to guide the improvement of policy and practices within national sport organisations towards female athletes who have unexpected transitions away from playing sport.”

Ashleigh is a sport-administration and event-management professional who has worked at Mountain Bike Australia, Sport Australia, and Badminton Queensland and holds a Master of Science from the International Olympic Academy (University of Peloponnese).

During her study, Ashleigh will also work part time as a research assistant at AGF assisting with research and policy.

“We are excited to welcome Ashleigh to the AGF team, and we are delighted to be able to support this essential research. Women are underrepresented in cycling, and Ashleigh’s research will illuminate new ways of supporting women who pursue professional sporting careers,” said AGF CEO, Dan Kneipp.

Titled, ‘Maximising opportunities for elite female athletes who suddenly need to transition into a new career’, Ashleigh’s study will be co-supervised by VU Associate Professor Camilla Brockett and Professor Murray Drummond of Flinders University.

About the Amy Gillett Foundation

When Amy Gillett, a cyclist and rower who represented Australia, was tragically killed in a preventable crash 15 years ago, she had commenced her own PhD under the supervision of Professor Drummond to investigate how women transitioned and adjusted to life after sport.

Amy Gillett’s family, teammates and the cycling community understand what it’s like for female athletes when a crash takes a life. Her teammates suffered major injuries and trauma and these women spent months and years recovering. In the aftermath of the crash, these women were prematurely propelled into life beyond the sport they loved.

The scholarship is the third PhD to be funded by the AGF. Research from these studies is vital for the AGF’s evidence-based approach to develop policy positions, campaigns and education programs in pursuit of safe cycling for all Australians.  

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Frances Atkinson
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