Research team

Research team   

Dr Marg Rogers 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). From that study, she published a Recommendations Report for policymakers, educators, family workers and Educational Development Liaison Officers. Marg grew up with cousins who lived the military family life. 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 Research Fellow with the Commonwealth-funded Manna Institute.

Dr Jo Bird 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.

Jo Bird

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

Ingrid Harrington

Associate Professor Penelope (Pep) Serow 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.

Penelope (Pep) Serow

Dr Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson 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.

Dr Vanessa Bible

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).

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.

Professor Navjot Bhullar

Navjot is a Professor in the School of Psychology at Edith Cowan 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

Yumiko Coffey (Research assistant/project officer)

Yumiko Coffey the Research Assistant and Project Officer for the Early Childhood Defence Programs project. Yumiko is currently a Master’s (Research) candidate in Psychology at the University of New England researching ecological emotions in young people.  

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