Research team

Core Research Team   

Dr Marg Rogers (Lead)

Marg is a senior lecturer in early childhood education at the University of New England with research interests in military families, family wellbeing and support, narratives, professionalism and technology in early childhood. Marg’s PhD study looked at 2-5 year old’s understanding and experiences when their parent deployed (Young children’s understandings and experiences with parental deployment within an Australian Defence Force family). She published a Recommendations Report for policymakers, educators, family workers and Educational Development Liaison Officers from that study. Marg grew up with cousins who lived in military families. Four of her cousins served in the Army. She had two uncles who served in Vietnam, and her Grandfather served in WWII. Marg is a Postdoctoral Researcher with the Commonwealth-funded Manna Institute that seeks to build the capacity of regional, rural and remote mental health research in these communities.

Dr Amy Johnson (Co-lead)

Amy is a lecturer in journalism and public relations at Central Queensland University. She researches ADF families and social media, with a particular interest in how ADF families use social media to navigate the challenges of Defence life. Amy has lived experience as the partner of a Navy sailor and parent of two young sons.

Emily Small 

Emily is a qualified early childhood teacher (UNE) with more than 15 years of experience, specialising in inclusion programs for children of military families. She is passionate about encouraging all early childhood services to respectfully acknowledge and develop an understanding of the challenges military families and children face, with a focus on embedding age-appropriate, sustainable programs. Coming from a military family herself, Emily has genuine insight into the issues these children face. She currently runs a consulting company Small Hands Early Learning. Prior to this, she worked as a director, an international consultant and, most recently, an inclusion professional for the NSW/ACT Inclusion Agency in a role where she supported many military families.​ Emily has also independently founded education projects, both in Australia and internationally.

Tegan Kanard

Tegan is an arts-based Therapist and Counsellor. Tegan was the Manager for NSW Legacy Club Services Family Support Program from 2019 – July 2023.  Tegan worked to support the families of veterans who had passed away or who suffered from ongoing, debilitating mental health issues. Tegan’s background is in counselling and child protection and she operates in a person-centred, strengths-based and trauma-informed capacity. Based on her experiences working for Legacy Club Services, Tegan decided to up-skill and is currently studying to specialise in children and family grief and trauma therapy.

Specialist Research Team

Professor Navjot Bhullar

Navjot is a Professor in the School of Medicine at Charles Sturt University.  Her research examines various psychological and environmental influences on mental health and well-being. She is especially interested in exploring risk and resilience profiles and how these are associated with mental health outcomes and designing and evaluating targeted messaging to support people in distress. She also has extensive experience in conducting survey-based research, program design and evaluation, and advanced statistical analyses. A list of her publications can be found here.

Dr Anwaar Ul-Haq 

Anwar is a senior lecturer and deputy leader in Machine Vision and Digital Health Research at the School of Computing, Mathematics, and Engineering, Charles Sturt University. Anwaar holds a PhD (Artificial Intelligence) from Monash University, Australia. He has completed the Professional Certificate Program in machine learning and artificial intelligence from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  His research interests include artificial creativity, deep learning, data analytics, and computer vision.

Associate Professor Einar Thorsteinsson

Einar Thorsteinsson

Einar is a Professor in Psychology, at the University of New England, Australia. His research focus is in the area of health psychology including adolescent mental health and coping. His publications can be found here. .

Previous Core Research Team members

Associate Professor Ingrid Harrington

Ingrid Harrington

Ingrid is an Associate Professor of Inclusive Education. Within this team, she specialises in classroom behaviour management, inclusive educational practices and educational psychology.

Dr Jo Bird    Until June 2023

Jo Bird

Jo is a senior lecturer and course coordinator in early childhood education, with research interests in children’s technology-supported learning, especially supporting educators to include digital technology in their play programming, play and early childhood leadership. She was part of the team that developed ‘Rose’s Story‘ digital app for young children from defence families to improve children’s agency and allow their voices to be heard.

Professor Penelope (Pep) Baker  Until June 2023

Penelope (Pep) Serow

Pep is the Project Leader of the Nauru Teacher Education Project at the University of New England. Pep teaches Mathematics Education to pre-service and in-service teachers within primary, secondary, and post-graduate programs.

Dr Vanessa Bible Until 2020

Dr Vanessa Bible is a casual lecturer in Peace Studies and History at the University of New England. Her research interests are diverse but revolve primarily around social and environmental justice issues and peace cultivation methods. In addition to her academic career, Vanessa has worked in community advocacy, research assistance, project management, writing, and community volunteer roles. She is also currently undertaking a Master of Teaching (Primary).

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