Centre Staff

The National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education is home to a diverse group of researchers, students and professional staff

Prof. Sue Trinidad

Director and Program Leader

Prior to becoming the NCSEHE Director, Professor Trinidad was Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Humanities at Curtin during 2007-2012. Her role included overseeing the academic programs and leading the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Programme (HEPPP) for a large faculty with many Low SES, Indigenous and regional students. Professor Trinidad is an established scholar and researcher in the area of higher education and currently leads the NCSEHE team and various research projects.

Prof. John Phillimore

Program Leader and Executive Director JCIPP

John is the Executive Director of the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy (JCIPP) at Curtin University, and works on a range of public policy issues including federalism, higher education policy, public sector management, innovation and technology policy, and the Australian welfare state.

Dr Nadine Zacharias

2016 Equity Fellow and 2017/18 Senior Research Fellow

Dr Nadine Zacharias is Senior Research Fellow at the NCSEHE and was an inaugural Equity Fellow in 2016. Nadine’s research interests and expertise are at the intersection of equity research, practice and policy at institutional and national levels. She has led applied research projects in the fields of equity policy and program management, inclusive teaching and learning and gender equity in employment. Nadine was Director, Equity and Diversity at Deakin University from 2011 to 2016 where she led one of the most integrated and effective Equity teams in Australian higher education.

Mr Paul Koshy

Research Fellow

Paul’s research has covered areas in labour and education economics, economic impact analysis, competition policy, and national student equity policy and the drivers of higher education policy in Australia. He has published in a number of academic journals including Economic Record, Australian Journal of Education, People and Place and Australian Universities’ Review. In 2015, Paul completed a project for the Australian Government Department of Education and Training to develop a framework for measuring equity performance in Australian higher education.

Dr Diane Costello

Research Officer

Diane has been involved in higher education research and teaching for over 14 years. This involved lecturing in the field of psychology and applied research with Indigenous and regional and remote communities within a social justice framework. Diane is currently undertaking research-related activities in the area of student equity in higher education.

Mr Paul Farnhill

Policy Analyst

Paul is an Economist and Policy Analyst with wide experience in policy issues in government and industry. Paul worked for the Financial Times newspaper in London before joining the Western Australian Government in a range of roles in economic development and policy analysis. He has also been a political speech writer and advisor to Ministers and Premiers.

Mr Ian Cunninghame

Research Assistant

Ian has a Masters degree majoring in professional writing and publishing and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Internet Communications. He is currently assisting the NCSEHE with the cataloguing of its past and present research to a referencing database, and assisting in gathering research relating to social mobility through higher education.

Dr Lyn Vernon

Post Doctoral Fellow

Prior to her current appointment, Lyn worked as Project Manager for a Murdoch program which aims to widen access and improve participation in higher education. Her Doctor of Philosophy is in Psychology leading to research interests in the developmental implications of using technology at night. Lyn has a Bachelor of Science from UWA and Diploma in Education from Edith Cowan University. She has taught for the Department of Education for over 20 years, and while teaching completed her Graduate Diploma in Psychology at Charles Sturt University. In 2009 Lyn completed her Honours in Psychology at Murdoch University, and has also tutored at Murdoch in program evaluation.

Ms Nina Thomas

Media and Communications Officer

Prior to her current position, Nina worked as Web Editor for 'Westerly' Magazine, based at the University of Western Australia, and as Brand and Marketing Manager for Challenger Veterinary Hospital, Western Australia. Alongside her role in media and communications, Nina is responsible for managing the production of the Centre's print and online publications. She is presently studying Professional Writing and Publishing with a Photography minor at Curtin University.

Ms Marcia Schneider

Web and Graphic Designer

Marcia is currently completing her Bachelor of Arts majoring in Creative Advertising and Graphic Design with a minor in Internet Design. She is responsible for the numerous print publications produced by the Centre annually and assists with the NCSEHE website. Marcia also works part-time as a Research Assistant with the Hub for Immersive Visualisation and e-Research (HIVE) facility at Curtin University.

Mr Don Boyd

Doctoral Student

Don has extensive experience in school education with a focus on regional and remote delivery, in particular policy development associated with equity issues, distance education and the use of ICT to overcome geographic disadvantage. Don’s research interests include the use of technology as a means of building teacher and school leadership capacity in non-metropolitan locations, attracting and retaining quality teachers to country schools, and access and participation by regional and remote residents in higher education.

Mrs Jenny de Vries

Doctoral Student

Jenny is a PhD Student who has recently completed a Bachelor of Education (Hons) and works as a relief teacher in the primary education sector, both independent and government systems. Her previous research related to the integration of technology into the classroom following in-service teacher training. Jenny has presented her Honours research at the Association for the Advancement of Computers in Education EdMedia 2013 Conference. She is also working as a Research Assistant on a combined universities research study.

Ms Rebecca McKenzie

Administrative Assistant

Rebecca has many years of administrative experience and more than 10 years operational and project management experience in Western Australia’s Agriculture/ Biosecurity public sector working on a nationally significant pest incursion project. Rebecca is currently assisting the centre in various administrative and research related activities including the centre's valuable project work in areas such as Equity Scholarships, Fellowships and the Equity Performance Framework in Australian Higher Education project.

Dr Cathy Stone

2016 Equity Fellow and 2017 Visiting Fellow

Dr Cathy Stone is a Conjoint Associate Professor in Social Work with the University of Newcastle, Australia. She has a longstanding interest in, and commitment to, student equity, widening participation and improving the student experience for increasingly diverse university student cohorts. She has worked for many years in developing and managing student support and success programs in both on-campus and online university environments, as well as researching ways these can be improved. Cathy's key research interests and publications focus particularly on improving the experiences of mature age, First-in-Family and online students.

A/Prof. Erica Southgate

2016 Equity Fellow and 2017 Visiting Fellow

For over 20 years, Dr Erica Southgate has conducted social research on the impact of disadvantage and marginalisation, in the fields of education and health. She has worked in a range of community, subcultural and institutional settings, demonstrating an ability to inspire multi-disciplinary research that is inclusive of practitioner and stakeholder perspectives. She is particularly adept at building collaborations between researchers and policy makers, and in engaging people experiencing disadvantage and their advocates.

A/Prof. James Smith

2017 Equity Fellow

Associate Professor James Smith was the Program Manager for the HEPPP-funded Whole of Community Engagement initiative within the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Indigenous Leadership at Charles Darwin University 2015-2016. Prior to his current appointment, James worked in a variety of executive and senior management roles in the Northern Territory in both the health and education sectors and has developed a strong background in health promotion and community development. He is a Fellow of the Australian Health Promotion Association and Associate Editor of the Health Promotion Journal of Australia and a Consulting Editor for the Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, as well as an Adjunct Research Fellow with the Collaboration of Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health (CERIPH) at Curtin University.

Mr Matt Brett

2017 Equity Fellow

Prior to his appointment as an Equity Fellow, Matt was Senior Manager of Higher Education Policy at La Trobe University where he provided policy advice to the University executive and supported La Trobe’s engagement with public policy processes. Matt has extensive experience in higher education across a variety of roles including policy adviser, services manager, practitioner and researcher. Matt is also a PhD Candidate at the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne.

Ms Louise Pollard

2017 Equity Fellow

Prior to her appointment as 2017 Equity Fellow, Ms Pollard was the Manager of Aspire UWA, The University of Western Australia’s nationally recognised widening participation program that works with 65 schools in Perth and regional Western Australia to raise aspirations for higher education. Ms Pollard is also a member of the Equity Practitioners in Higher Education Australasia (EPHEA) Executive Committee and was previously the peak body’s representative on the NCSEHE Advisory Board. Prior to joining UWA, Louise was a teacher and Student Services coordinator at a WA Department of Education secondary school. She also has extensive community development and education program management experience, having worked and volunteered in a range of international contexts, predominately in Timor Leste.

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