Trio of students grateful for SSAA bursary program

The SSAA has once more weighed in with financial backing for university students involved in courses relating to recreational shooting. The SSAA Academic Bursary Program worth $10,000 annually was originally set up in 2014 to support deserving scholars who submitted their applications to take advantage of the SSAA initiative.

The SSAA’s helping monetary hand is aimed at people studying a range of topics such as Game management, Law, Psychology and Journalism. As Australia’s foremost hunting and sports shooting body, the SSAA has forged strong links with the academic and conservation communities. For instance, the Association actively works with The University of Queensland on its Red Deer Research Project and has assisted various researchers to produce pioneering publications about quail and waterfowl.

Continuing this benevolence, the SSAA has added three more outstanding talents to its list of recipients. James Farrugia, 21, is in his second year as a Law undergraduate at La Trobe University and enjoyed previous contact with the SSAA after penning an article entitled ‘Promoting the shooting sports’ in issue 13 of The Junior Shooter. Now James wants to take his passion to the next level via his Law curriculum. “I will aim to further the community’s understanding of conservation, hunting, recreational shooting and the push for logical and factual legislation to govern law-abiding gun owners,” said James. “But to also be effectively represented to prevent laws that discriminate law-abiding gun owners on the fact that they were based on extreme minorities and formed by people with little understanding of firearms from occurring.”

James also credited shooting with broadening his educational outlook. “I acknowledge the impact of shooting towards me and how it has been of great benefit to my academic achievement,” he said. James was handed a sum of $1200, which he will use to cover the costs of books and equipment necessary for his modules as well as university expenses that occur during the year.

Sarah Jane Jacob will be able to purchase a laptop computer and digital camera with her SSAA bursary of $2000 as she fashions her Master of Communication course at Deakin University. The degree involves the completion of a specialisation, which in Sarah’s case is Journalism, along with elective units in Visual Communication Design and Digital Media. “I am passionate about educating the Australian public on the reality of the shooting community’s culture, including the social, economic and health benefits of participating in a shooting sport,” said Sarah.

In her spare time, Sarah, 40, has established a blog called Gun Girl Down Under, dedicated to celebrating and promoting target shooting as a fun, safe and welcoming sport for Australian women. “I intend to continue contributing articles to the SSAA’s print publications and promoting the sport of target shooting, including SSAA disciplines through my Gun Girl Down Under blog and other publications,” said Sarah.

Chris Davies’s focus is the behavioural study of sambar deer in Victoria. The 30-year-old has been able to put the $2000 bequeathed from the SSAA bursary fund towards the purchase of capture drugs and other necessary equipment for chemical capture to use in his PhD project investigating the home range and movement patterns of sambar deer. This constitutes the core element of his Postgraduate degree in Ecology/Game Management, which he is undergoing at Federation University Australia.

“Determining the home range and habitat use of sambar deer in Victoria would provide great insight into how these animals utilise the landscape,” said Chris. “This information could be used by land managers to design effective management strategies and help model future dispersal and distributions, allowing deer to be controlled in areas where they are likely to cause problems (high conservation value, agriculture, horticulture and forestry)… These control measures (ground shooting) and contracts are likely to be offered to recreational hunters and organisations including the SSAA.”

It is clear that all three beneficiaries share a zeal for their respective subject matter, each of which is aligned with recreational shooting. They have each demonstrated compelling cases to fittingly utilise the SSAA endowments. Long may their fruitful research continue.

Meanwhile, any tertiary student who thinks they may be eligible to apply for a SSAA Academic Bursary Program grant or needs further information, should contact our Logistics and Support Officer.

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