Researcher biography

I am a recipient of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Early Career Industry Fellowship 2023 and currently a Research Fellow at the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI-UQ) and Life Course Centre (LCC-UQ). I previously held a post-doctoral research fellow position (2019-2022) at the Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR). I am a behavioural economist with a strong background in conducting economic, natural experiments (program and policy) and randomised control trial (RCT) evaluations. My research focuses on improving educational and well-being outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (First Nations) students, and I work closely and collaborate with social organisations to achieve these goals.

My research is grounded in prior experience living and working in regional and remote Indigenous communities in Far North Queensland (Aurukun, Cairns and Hope Vale), where I worked as a program designer and coach addressing community-based financial literacy. This gave me first-hand experience of the community strengths but also systemic barriers to health, education and social inclusion faced by First Nations peoples as specified in the Closing the Gap reform targets. This experience shaped my subsequent research agenda. I am applying my training in behavioural economics to improve student learning and redress social inequity. My focus is education as a mechanism to disrupt disadvantage. I apply experimental design methodologies to identify intervention points across the education pathway where support programs can best enable positive education outcomes. I have an 8-year track record of engagements with industry organisations in designing and evaluating education programs to support First Nations students.

These industry engagements have contributed to my receiving the ARC Industry Fellowship that supports successful educational pathways for First Nation students. The fellowship aims to develop strategies to prevent the steep drop in educational outcomes and disengagement of First Nations students as they transition from primary to secondary school. In collaboration with Indigenous communities, Former Origin Greats (FOGS) Achieving Results Through Indigenous Education (ARTIE) Academy and the Queensland Department of Education (DoE), the fellowship seeks to generate effective culturally embedded support strategies to avert this steep drop.