Aiming to be ninja, top mum and doctor
AMY Stephenson is a devoted mum, a nursing student and an Australian Ninja Warrior semi-finalist - so it's no surprise she knows a thing or two about juggling her priorities.
The Hervey Bay woman is the first Fraser Coast student to qualify for the University of the Sunshine Coast's High Performance Student Athlete program, which assists athletes in balancing the demands of training and competition with their studies.
The 28-year-old, who started gymnastics when she was four, aims to become a doctor and is scoring outstanding university results while training up to 13 hours a week to compete against some of the nation's best athletes.
"I am definitely putting my hand up for another attempt at the next season of Australian Ninja Warrior,” Amy said.
She relied on her gymnastics background to reach the semi-finals of the challenging obstacle course competition last year.
Amy is also preparing for four other state and national gymnastic competitions this year.
"This includes the Queensland Masters Gymnastics Championship in which I placed first overall in 2017, and third last year, and trying to better the second place overall I gained in the Australian Masters Games in 2017,” Amy said.
She was working as a Wide Bay gymnastics coach when she decided to enrol in the Bachelor of Nursing Science at USC's Fraser Coast campus as a stepping stone to a medicine degree.
"Becoming a doctor is my ultimate goal. I don't know how long it will take me but I am determined and motivated enough to get there,” Amy said.
"I could not imagine a more rewarding career than one that positively impacts the lives of other people on a daily basis.”
Just as balance, strength and timing are vital for gymnastics, those skills are also important in every other aspect of Amy's life.
"Being the mother of two young girls, the secret to staying on top of everything is keeping my priorities in order,” she said.
"This year I will also have access to academic, financial and sports-related services through USC's High Performance Student Athlete Program.”
She said being a good role model for her daughters was her inspiration.
USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the program had assisted more than 150 elite and emerging athletes since it started in 2017.
"We're building the ultimate environment where high performance and emerging athletes can flourish supported by world leaders in coaching, performance development and sport and exercise science research,” he said.