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The Australian Rugby League Commission has congratulated Canterbury-Bankstown’s Corey Payne on being awarded a prestigious 2012 Churchill Fellowship to research programs that inspire disadvantaged youth to continue their academic studies.

A University of Sydney Alumni Medal winner who this week was named in the NRL-RLPA Academic Team of the Year for the second time, Payne was today presented with his Fellowship at a ceremony at Government House in Sydney.

The presentation followed a charity lunch Payne today held in support of his Future Direction Network, a not-for-profit organisation he founded to help disadvantaged children go to university.

Payne’s Churchill Fellowship project will “research culturally diverse ambition and aspiration building programs that inspire youth of low socio-economic status or disadvantaged backgrounds to continue their studies”.

As part of his research, Payne will have the opportunity to travel to Brazil, South Africa, Spain and England to examine similar project concepts.

“The nature of Corey’s research, which aims to provide opportunities for others to pursue their academic dreams, is inspiring,” ARLC Interim Chief Executive, Mr Shane Mattiske, said today.

“Corey is an outstanding example of the education philosophy that is growing in Rugby League and highlights how many of our players are achieving success both on and off the football field.

“On behalf of the ARLC and everyone in the game, I wish to congratulate Corey on his Fellowship and wish him well with his research project.”

In conjunction with an NRL career that has so far included 123 first grade games and an appearance for the City Origin team, Payne is studying a Masters of Commerce (Finance and Entrepreneurship) at the University of Sydney and has completed a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Commercial Law), also from the University of Sydney.

He was awarded the University of Sydney Young Alumni Achievement Award in 2011 and is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

He is the Chair and Founder of the Future Direction Network and last year received the NRL-RLPA Education and Welfare Award.

Payne is also an NRL Education Ambassador.

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, which funds the Fellowship program, was established in 1965 and aims to provide an opportunity for Australians to travel overseas and conduct research in their chosen field that is not readily available in Australia.

It also rewards proven achievement of talented and deserving Australians with further opportunity in their pursuit of excellence for the enrichment of Australian society.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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