The 2023 Minerva Scholarship Program

Minerva wings


ABOVE: Jules Kirkpatrick. BELOW: Peter Parr, Director of Football,Newcastle Knights with 2023 Newcastle Knights Minerva Scholarship recipient,Jules Kirkpatrick.

NRLW squad member and proud Hunter Valley product Jules Kirkpatrick has been awarded the third annual Newcastle Knights Minerva Scholarship.

Hailing from Singleton, Kirkpatrick becomes the first Knights player to be awarded the scholarship, which recognises not only her football exploits, but also her dedication, leadership and commitment to both academic and community excellence.

The $10,000, 12-month scholarship will enable Kirkpatrick to progress her Bachelor of Education (Secondary) Studies at The University of Newcastle while continuing her contractual commitments with the Newcastle Knights NRLW side.

She follows in the footsteps of previous scholarship recipients, Central Coast ironwoman Jemma Smith and Maitland-based para-athlete Aimee Fisher, in taking out the prestigious honour.

A member of the Women’s Under 19s NSW State of Origin Team in 2022, Kirkpatrick was named Tarsha Gale Cup player’s player in the same season before graduating to the NRLW squad in 2023.

She has her sights set on pushing for a debut in the top grade in 2024 after missing much of the 2023 season due to a knee injury.

Jules Kirkpatrick said, "I am grateful to be a part of the 2023 Newcastle Knights Minerva Scholarship. I am proud to be a role model on and off the field for the next generation of female athletes. I can't wait to get involved in this powerful initiative created by the Minerva Network."

Philip Gardner, Chief Executive Officer of the Newcastle Knights, congratulated Kirkpatrick on receiving the 2023 Newcastle Knights Minerva scholarship.

“The Newcastle Knights Scholarship isn’t solely focused on athletic achievements; it places a strong emphasis on academic leadership and leadership qualities” Mr. Gardner said.

“Jules has long demonstrated an impressive balance between her sporting pursuits and academic responsibilities.

“Her dedication to maintaining high academic standards showcases a well-rounded approach to both sports and education, and our organisation believes that these qualities will not only contribute to the team’s success but also makes Jules a positive influence in the wider community”.

Christine McLoughlin AM, Chairman and Co-Founder of Minerva Network, says Jules Kirkpatrick was the fifth young Australian athlete and first NRLW athlete to be awarded a scholarship under the Minerva Network Scholarships Program, launched in September 2020.

“Our Scholarships Committee undertake a robust process to award this scholarship to an athlete where the scholarship will make a significant difference to their life. Jules Kirkpatrick has displayed incredible drive and ambition, recognising the importance of an education that will set her up for “life after sport”.

“In recognition of her resilience, determination and drive, we’re proud to offer Jules Kirkpatrick the Newcastle Knights Minerva Scholarship, which will enable her to compete and train while she completes her studies. The scholarship serves as a testament to Jules’ outstanding achievements and we are confident Jules will continue to be a positive role model for aspiring athletes and community members alike”.

The Minerva Network currently supports 700 athletes from more than 70 sports. The Minerva Network is the only organisation of its kind – offering elite sportswomen an opportunity to regularly network with other athletes from all sports and access to mentoring from some of the most senior professional women in Australia. Minerva provides a link between sport and business for elite sportswomen to navigate their career while competing, and to prepare them to lead in their careers after they retire from sport.

The Network includes 300 mentors from a diverse range of experiences across Australia’s corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors, from industries including media, financial services, agriculture, legal, tourism, technology, science, resources, education, retail, FMCG and health.

Minerva Director and Company Secretary Annette Wargon is Chair of the Minerva Network Scholarship Committee, which also includes Gabrielle Curtin, Group Executive, Snowy Hydro; Frances Drummond, Principal IP Advisory, Deloitte Australia and Kate Aitken, Minerva Network Co-Founder and Vice-President Human Resources at Optus. The committee assesses all scholarship applications while inspiring athletes to set their long-term career goals.

Minerva athletes include Australian Women’s Cricket captain Alyssa Healy; Australian Diamonds netballer Sarah Klau; Paralympic Champion Madison de Rozario OAM; Rugby 7s Gold Medallist and NRLW player Emma Tonegato OAM, Olympic swimmers Cate Campbell OAM OLY and Bronte Campbell OLY; and Ellie Carpenter from the Matildas.

Jules Kirkptrick-Peter Parr-scholarship-Minerva-2023

For more information, please contact Robyn Danzey: