Professor Joanne Porter


Joanne is the Director of the Collaborative Evaluation & Research Centre (CERC). She leads a multidisciplinary team of researchers and evaluators, over a wide range of projects working with industry partners, government departments, local government, organisations, agencies and community groups to shift thinking in evaluation research by empowering communities to grow through evidence-based innovation.

Joanne is an experienced emergency nurse having worked in metropolitan, rural and remote emergency care centres. Joanne is a Fellow with the College of Emergency Nursing Australasia (CENA) and is a board member on the Victorian branch of CENA. She brings with her a career of clinical, research and leadership expertise.

Professor Joanne Porter leading multidisciplinary evaluation and research to improve local communities

Megan Simic

Research Fellow

Deputy Director - Operations

Megan completed with Distinction a Bachelor of Nursing at Federation University in 2016, followed by an Honours degree in nursing in 2019. Megan is now undertaking a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at Federation University, with a research project exploring the lived experience of emergency department nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Megan has a range of clinical nursing experience in areas such as oncology, intensive care, emergency and women’s health, ensuring a diverse skill set. Megan has gained comprehensive research experience throughout her work with CERC, where she assists in grant writing, report writing, project management and publishing academic literature. Megan undertakes sessional tutoring within the Aboriginal Education Centre at Federation University, supporting Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander students in their studies within health professions.

Nicole Coombs

Research Fellow

Deputy Director - Research

Nicole is an early career researcher with a Masters of Nursing and is currently completing a PhD on public health messaging in Australian emergency departments during disaster. Nicole has several publications in the area of patient education, nurse education and primary health.

Nicole is an award winning nurse academic who is passionate about expanding student focus from clinical nursing to one of health promotion and illness prevention. She has facilitated many student-led community health check clinics, providing students opportunity to practice skills and gain confidence within public health.

Dr Sambath My

Research Fellow

Sambath completed his PhD in Development Studies, winning the SSPS Best PhD Award 2020 from the School of Social and Political Sciences (SSPS) at the University of Melbourne, Australia. His PhD fields of research covered gender relations, studies of men and masculinities, social policy, and socio-economic development. He also completed his master’s degree in Development Studies (Gender & Development), gaining First Class Honours at the University of Melbourne.

Academically, Sambath has published papers in the areas of caring masculinities, and critical policy analysis from a feminist transformative ethics of care perspective. His academic works and some of his action research can be accessed here.

Luis Antonio T. Hualda

Research Fellow

Luis is a researcher with international experience in the areas of agriculture development, poverty reduction in rural communities, food security, and gender in agriculture. In his research activities, he has been part of multi-disciplinary teams that employed both quantitative and qualitative methods using a systems approach. He has educational backgrounds in community development and urban and regional planning.

Prior to joining CERC, he held research and teaching positions at the University of the Philippines and was involved in action research projects that aimed to improve efficiencies of agribusiness systems involving rural farmers. Luis also had experience working for an international organisation in developing policies to create an enabling environment for agriculture to address food insecurity in parts of South and Southeast Asia.

Dr Libby Miller

Research Fellow

Libby completed a Bachelor of Nursing in 2017 with high distinctions and received the University Medal for outstanding achievement. During that year, she participated in a hospital nursing placement in Nepal, igniting a passion to explore carer roles and the hospital environment for people with palliative and end-of-life needs through an honours research project in 2018.

Libby’s love for research continued, and she commenced a full-time PhD in March 2020. Libby’s PhD is investigating environmental factors within the acute hospital setting - the natural, built, social (behaviour and language), and symbolic environments where people may receive bad news about their life-limiting illness.  As well as research expertise, Libby has medical, palliative, surgical and hospital in the home clinical experience.

Dr Daria Soldatenko

Research Fellow

Daria is an experienced researcher who holds two PhDs. She has 12 years of research experience across tourism, education, and ecology. She completed her first PhD in tourism in Russia in 2013 and graduated with her second PhD in Australia in 2022. Daria’s main research interests are regional tourism development, tourism motivational factors, and culture.

Daria has worked as a Research Associate and Assistant, both in Russia and Australia. She has strong quantitative, research, statistical and data interpretation skills. Her main publications, including the monograph and papers in peer-reviewed journals, can be found in her Google Scholar account here. Being a member of CERC, Daria is very passionate about doing research and strives to contribute further to local and international communities.

Natalie Bransgrove

Research Fellow

Natalie completed her Bachelor of Nursing Practice with Monash University in 2015, followed by a graduate year with Latrobe Regional Hospital. She started working in a regional emergency department for changing direction to work in aged care as a unit coordinator.

In 2021 Natalie went on to complete her Master’s in Public Health with Monash University, specialising in Health Promotion. While studying Natalie filled a maternity leave position as the Health and Wellbeing Coordinator of the Loy Yang B Power Station. She then went on to work with Latrobe City Council as a community engagement officer focusing on community safety and gender equality. Natalie has recently been accepted to undertake a PhD at Federation University with CERC, where she will focus on the DELIVER project, exploring innovative access to care for older Australian's. Natalie brings with her previous health care system knowledge and experience, passion for gender equality, and strong community connections.

Kaye Borgelt

Research Associate

Kaye has many years of experience working in health information and executive roles in Victorian public rural and remote health services. She has also spent time working with partners in developing Pacific Island countries to improve health information and data sharing, most recently assisting with the roll-out of a digital health system in Nauru.

Kaye holds a Master of Health Science majoring in Health Information, assisting CERC within project data management and analysis, report writing and editing. Kaye brings a wealth of knowledge regarding health and health systems globally.

Jodie Parkinson

Research Project Coordinator

Jodie commenced working at the Mt Helen Campus of Federation University in 2012 and has gained extensive specialist administration skills in research administration, finance and project coordination.

Having worked across a wide range of departments and research centres, Jodie has developed excellent working relationships with many of the researchers, external stakeholders and partner institutions within the University community.

Jodie assists CERC and its members to navigate external research funding processes, management of project timelines and administration of internal and external communications.

CERC Members

The CERC has over 50 members across Federation University from a variety of disciplines who provide their expertise on various projects. For information about our members, their expertise and collaboration with CERC, please visit our CERC Members page.


To engage CERC's evaluation services, collaborate with us or ask about our research, please get in touch via the Contact page.