Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and Environmental Education Research Group

Re-imagining futures in STEME

Associate Researchers

Associate Professor Peter Hubber

Peter was Associate Professor of Science Education at Deakin University. He spent 22 years in the classroom as a science (Physics) and mathematics teacher before coming to Deakin University in 2000. He has researched and written extensively on student learning in science particularly around the role of representation in reasoning and learning, and pedagogy and teacher and school change. He has a strong record in professional development, working with teachers and schools in local, state and federal initiatives. He has led major professional learning initiatives for the Victorian Government, such as the Switched on Secondary Science Professional Learning (SOSSPL) program and Secondary STEM Catalyst Professional Learning Program. He has had experience in the role of VCE Physics Examiner and Assessor for the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA).

    Professor Vaughan Prain

    Vaughan has a strong international record in science education research including the role of writing for learning in science, and more recently in how this mode relates to other modes, such as visual, mathematical and embodied modes in constructing understanding of scientific concepts and processes. His current research focus includes the development of STEM education, and how constitutive subjects in this multi-disciplinary approach to curricular renewal can support quality applied learning within and across these disciplines. He is also researching how learning in science can be enhanced by incorporating strategies and approaches used in other subjects, including visual arts. He currently participates in ARC-funded research to reform science education in primary and secondary schools, with a particular focus on schools with low SES profiles.

    Dr. Brian Doig

    Brian has worked for many years in the field of teacher education, mainly with Primary and Pre-school aspirants. He has also worked as a psychometrician, particularly in large-scale international assessment programmes such as TIMSS and PISA. More recently he, along with Professor Julian Williams of the University of Manchester, completed the edited book Interdisciplinary Mathematics Education: The state of the art and beyond which canvassed an international range of STEM research and practices. Currently he is writing up research results from the Modelling Motion: Developing mathematics concepts through STEM activities, an Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers and Australian Academy of Science-funded research project.


    Recent publications:

    • Doig, B., Williams, J., Swanson, D., Borromeo, R., & Drake, P. (Eds.). (2019). Interdisciplinary Mathematics Education. Cham: Springer.
    • Ompok, C., Doig, B., & Tambagas, M. (2018). Patterns of Young Children’s Number Sense Development as Assessed by How Many Hidden Game. Journal of Cognitive Sciences and Human Development, 4(2).
    • Widjaja, W., Vale, C., & Doig, B. (2019). Nothing like planning and reflecting together to build trust. In G. Lloyd (Ed.), International Handbook on Mathematics Teacher Education 2019 (Vol. 3).

    Jorja McKinnon

    Jorja joined Deakin University as a lecturer in 2008 and has occupied a variety of teaching roles primarily within the Science Education field with a special focus on Environmental Education. Jorja is current completing her PhD titled “Student Ethical Inquiry into Human Induced Climate Change Using Film”. This project looks specifically at VCE Environmental Science curriculum objectives and considers the development of new methodologies to assist students. Jorja’s supervisory panel includes Dr Peta White, Associate Professor Mary Dixon and Dr Robin Bellingham. In addition to Jorja’s teaching roles she is currently an Associate Research on the Girls as Leader is Stem (GALS) program and was the Project Manager on the highly success STEM Catalyst joint DET/Deakin project. ​

    Nathan Nguyen

    Nathan is currently a technical officer working in science education laboratory at School of Education. Nathan’s background is a physics lecturer and his research interest is in improving teaching and learning science education at secondary school and tertiary levels.

    Christopher Speldewinde

    Chris is a primary school teacher, anthropologist, doctoral candidate and teacher educator at Deakin University. His doctoral research examines teacher pedagogy and creativity in the Australian bush kinder movement. He is currently involved with multi-university research teams investigating issues in early childhood, primary and secondary school education, particularly outdoor education, digital literacy, STEM and Humanities education. He also has research interests in transitions between early childhood services and primary schools; the use of robotic devices in early childhood education; the implications of teachers teaching out of field; and the role of educators in early childhood and primary school education. He has recently published in the emerging context of Australian bush kinders and early childhood STEM education.


    Recent publications:

    • Campbell, C., Speldewinde, C., Howitt, C. and MacDonald, A. 2018, STEM Practice in the Early Years. Creative Education, 9, 11-25.
    • Campbell, C & Speldewinde, C., 2018, Bush kinder in Australia: a new learning ‘place’ and its effect on local policy, Policy futures in education, 0(0) Published online DOI. 10.1 177/1478210317753028.
    • Campbell, C & Speldewinde, C. 2018, Teaching science in Australian bush kindergartens: Understanding what teachers need. Journal of Emergent Science Vol.15.  37-45.
    • Vale, C., Campbell, C., Speldewinde, C. and White, P. 2019. Teaching across Subject Boundaries in STEM: Continuities in beliefs about learning and teaching, International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education Accepted for publication.​

    Maria Vamvakas

    Maria began her career teaching Science and Biology, having completed a Bachelor of Science and Graduate Diploma of Education at Monash University. Progressing to the position of Head of Science from 2007, her primary responsibilities included staff and curriculum leadership. Her roles have enabled her to act as a facilitator in developing students’ scientific literacy, critical thinking and passion for science.

    From 2017 Maria has been working at Deakin University as a Teaching Associate and Research Assistant and recently completed a Graduate Certificate in Education Research at Deakin University, culminating in a Research Paper investigating “Contemporary Science practice in the Classroom”. She is currently enrolled to undertake PhD candidature in the Degree program, Doctor of Philosophy – Education investigating how scientists’ practices can be best represented in the classroom

    Dr. Mifrah Ahmed

    Mifrah is currently involved in a research assisting position and multiple sessional lecturer positions across schools of design, IT, and business at Deakin University. Teaching across faculties since 2013 (Malaysia) enabled her to bring a sense of adaptive, transformative, and experiential learning across schools at Deakin (since 2018). Her focus of research involves unpacking educational game design through a software lens and recently, it has refocused a more educational view of ‘experiential learning’ across games and educational game design processes. She has numerous published papers to outreach communities with research interest in bridging education and game design through qualitative and participatory research approaches. Her interest is to explore the possibilities of participatory design approaches and co-designing techniques across experts to examine and connect an innovative and creative bridge between fields.

    Dr. Shelley Hannigan

    Shelley is a Senior Lecturer in Art Education who has worked as an academic at Deakin University since 2006. As a researcher she is interested in the value of art in education and arts-health and wellbeing approaches. Shelley’s education-focused research investigates arts-health and wellbeing crossing over with psychology, arts education and creative interdisciplinary approaches for teaching and learning (including STEME and STEAM). Methodologies  most practiced in include: Arts led research, arts practice-based research, A/R/Tography (the overlaps of Art practice, Research and Teaching), autoethnography, CABAE, narrative inquiry and phenomenology.  Shelley has researched and published in environmental science and art projects, aesthetics in education – especially in the art-science area and in 2022  was invited to deliver a keynote on Art and Mathematics education at the Victorian Maths Teachers conference. Her arts practice includes community arts and my own studio practice (painting and experimental textile/fibre art installations). Shelley’s most recent project was to curate and exhibit in an experimental textiles exhibition of 8 artists, which was funded by Geelong’s Arts and Heritage grant and explored heritage and archival materials in the Geelong area.

    Melinda Kirk

    Melinda’s experience in education, primary school teaching, research and teacher education extends over 25 years. Her school experience includes regional, metro, public and private systems as a primary science specialist, class teacher, creative arts teacher and Gifted Education Mentor (GEM). In 2017 Melinda completed her Master of Education (Leadership) at UOW, where she was awarded the Education Alumni Award (2018) in recognition of her contribution to education research and school and university partnerships. Since 2018 she has been a Research Assistant at Deakin, including the Australian Research Commissioned (ARC) Interdisciplinary Maths and Science (IMS) Learning Project, and a sessional lecturer. Melinda’s PhD research focuses on meaningfully and generatively supporting students’ “general capabilities” – critical thinking, creative thinking and collaborative thinking, within a guided inquiry, interdisciplinary (STEAM) primary classroom context. Her other interests include curriculum, pedagogy, differentiation, semiotics, interdisciplinarity, classroom culture, student voice, and agency.

    Adam Masri

    Adam holds a double bachelor’s degree in science and education, as well as a postgraduate diploma in education from Alexandria University, Egypt. With a professional teaching career spanning 20 years, he has taught various STEM subjects across four countries in the Middle East and Australia. After settling in Australia, Adam developed a keen interest in STEM research, particularly concerning gender and social inequalities. He pursued a master’s degree from the University of Adelaide and recently completed his doctoral degree at Deakin University in 2023. His doctoral research focused on exploring girls’ physics identity, while his broader research interests revolve around identifying patterns within social and educational contexts that contribute to social inequality. Presently, Adam works as a Research Fellow, investigating the impact of COVID-19 on girls’ STEM education, and also teaches Science Education and a research unit at Deakin University.

    Dr. Lam Pham

    Dr Lam Pham is a former pharmacist and pharmaceutical scientist/lecturer who has moved from the discipline of pharmacy and pharmaceutical science to the field of science education research. His interest is research on science education. His PhD focuses on student learning in chemistry through representation construction. Dr Pham has worked as a research fellow for some ARC projects that includes: 1- Enhance the quality of science learning using a representation-intensive pedagogy (CRISP)”; 2-“Develop digital pedagogies in inquiry science through a cloud-based teaching and learning environment (iSTELR)”; and 3-“Multiliteracies for enhancing learning and assessment outcomes in senior secondary science – M3S”.

    Bronwyn Sutton

    Bronwyn is an  activist, artist and researcher with  over 25 years’ professional experience in public sphere and community based environmental leadership settings. She uses embodied, arts-based and collaborative approaches in her practice and research. Active in community leadership roles throughout her career, Bronwyn completed Master of Education (Adult and work-based learning) in 2016 which supported her transition to education and ignited her curiosity about embodied and affective dimensions of learning. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional Writing) from Deakin University and is an accomplished writer across a range of professional and creative genres. Bronwyn has a particular interest in environmental learning and leadership that occurs in informal, non-formal, community, and beyond school places and spaces and is currently exploring these and professional and practice transformation through her PhD at Deakin University.

    See our other members: