The Royal Life Saving Society WA's Jessica Cruickshank has been awarded the Dr Heather MacGowan OAM Scholarship, Sport and Recreation Minister Mia Davies announced today.
Ms Davies said Ms Cruickshank was chosen for the annual scholarship because of her proposal to research the popular Swim for Fruit program currently being rolled out in the Pilbara.
"Jessica will receive $9,500 to research this program and will share her results so all sports in the region can benefit from her work," she said.
The Minister, who is Vice Patron for the Royal Life Saving Society WA (RLSSWA), said the program would increase water safety awareness in communities where it was most needed.
"Water safety awareness and the ability to swim are central to our Western Australian lifestyle, whether you live on the coast or swim at your local pool," Ms Davies said.
"It's important that everyone can swim and is safe around water."
Swim for Fruit is delivered by RLSSWA in seven pools in the Pilbara region, including a number of remote Aboriginal communities.
It aims to encourage children aged five to 17 to participate in regular physical activity at the pool by providing participation incentives such as a healthy afternoon tea.
As part of her scholarship work, Ms Cruickshank will travel to the World Conference on Drowning Prevention in Canada to engage with international leaders in the aquatic industry and compare and contrast her findings to various international organisations.
"Jessica will report her findings back to our local industry and offer recommendations, including how to best use an incentive-based model when engaging Aboriginal youth from the Pilbara region into sport and recreation," Ms Davies said.
A recent university graduate, Ms Cruickshank works as an inclusion officer for swimming and water safety at RLSSWA.
The annual scholarship is in memory of the late Dr Heather MacGowan OAM
Dr MacGowan had a distinguished career in sport and recreation
The scholarship is administered by the Department of Sport and Recreation
Minister's office - 6552 5500