Project Team

Project Team

L-R: Danielle Vervenne, Professor Martin Nakata, Lisa Loban, Kerri Hill and Kevin Hemmett

Professor Martin Nakata

Chief Investigator

professor Martin Nakata

Chief Investigator Professor Martin Nakata AM, Pro Vice Chancellor (Indigenous Education & Strategy), Indigenous Education and Research Centre at James Cook University (JCU) leads the Tagai STEM Project.

Professor Nakata has worked in the field of Indigenous education in Australia for over thirty-six years and continues to challenge the established ways of understanding the contemporary position and possibilities for Indigenous Australians. His areas of focus have included higher education curriculum areas, the academic preparation of Indigenous students, and Indigenous knowledge systems. He is an internationally recognized published scholar for learning, teaching and research.

Professor Nakata has delivered invited keynote and plenary addresses at professional conferences in PNG, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines, South Africa, Norway, Scotland, Greece, Iceland, Peru, New Zealand, United States, Canada, Thailand, Japan and throughout Australia.

Kerri Hill

Curriculum Development Officer

“Hard work beats natural talent when natural talent forgets to work hard”

Kerri Hill

With qualifications of a Bachelor of Science, a Diploma in Education and a Master of Science (Mathematics Education), Kerri’s experience plays an integral role to the team. Kerri has taught Mathematics in ACT, NT and QLD for over 40 years and was the Head of Faculty (Mathematics) at Townsville Grammar School for 23 years.

Kerri’s involvement in the team is to work collaboratively with the Mathematics staff at Tagai State College to write their Years 7-10 assessments and to provide feedback for the new QCE Year 11-12 assessments. With careful consideration of the Australian Curriculum content descriptors, Kerri ensures all required concepts are covered in assessments, giving students the exposure they need to study in Mathematics, Science and Engineering fields at university.

“These Tagai students deserve to have the same opportunities to reach their potential as every other Australian student” – Kerri Hill.

Danielle Vervenne

Curriculum Developer

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go”

Danielle Vervenne

Hailing from Canberra, Dani moved to Townsville in 2013 to study at James Cook University – and to enjoy the sunshine. Since completing a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Management and Ecology Conservation), Dani has been involved in various aspects of the project including project support and filming, but is now heavily focused on curriculum development.

Dani’s role consists of the auditing, mapping and assessment development of Primary (Prep – Year 6) Maths, Science and Technology subjects, while working with the Tagai State College team to ensure their curriculum aligns with the Australian Curriculum achievement standards.

“The Tagai STEM Project is engaging students in the Torres Strait with the sciences, maths and technologies and broadening their skills for the future. The project aims to open up a whole new generation of professionals in the STEM areas” – Danielle Vervenne.

Jermaine Chong

Research Assistant

“If you knew better, you’d do better”

Originally from Mount Isa, Jermaine knows first-hand the challenges remote areas have on learning opportunities. His family moved to Townsville when Jermaine was young to expand his and his brother’s education prospects.

Since completing his schooling, Jermaine has worked as a Research Assistant at the University of Queensland and James Cook University, and has completed multiple internships with the Queensland Government’s Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation.

While simultaneously undertaking a Bachelor of Arts at James Cook University, Jermaine’s involvement in the project includes media production and the research and delivery of activities within the STEM Roadshow, held on Thursday Island.

Jermaine hopes that one day, this project will be implemented in other remote schools across Queensland.

“Inspiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to think big is where my passion lies. Whether it be through the media I create or being present in the classroom, I want to show our students that their futures can take them wherever they choose” – Jermaine Chong.

To make this project possible, the Tagai STEM Project Team have collaborated with a range of other contributors.

  • Vicky Nakata  – Primary mathematics and science curriculum and language advice
  • Lisa Loban -  Curriculum Developer
  • Dr Daniel Grainger – Audit and assessment development of Primary maths
  • Dr Haidi Beard – Initial audit of science resources in the classroom
  • Merwez Whaleboat – Preliminary science audit
  • Lizzie Roche – STEM Roadshow development and implementation
  • Jena Stephens – STEM Roadshow assistance
  • Dr Leah Daniel – Secondary mathematics advice
  • Associate Professor Shaun Belward – Secondary mathematics advice
  • Kaylene Chippendale - Head of Department: Curriculum; Teaching and Learning
  • Cherie Cefai – Curriculum Specialist; Teaching and Learning
  • Toni Gorman – Head of Maths, Secondary
  • Adrian Jeloudev – TBC
  • Judy Ketchell – Executive Principal (retired 2019)
  • Stephanie Savage – Executive Principal (current)
Danielle Vervenne

Research Topic: “Indigenous students and mathematics education in primary school: An investigation into the professional preparation of teachers for teaching mathematics to Torres Strait Islander children"

Adrian Jeloudev
Research Topic: TBC

Contact Us

For more information on the Tagai STEM Project please contact:

Danielle Vervenne

Curriculum Developer