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Our Transitions Project team

The Secondary to Tertiary Transitions Project research team includes staff from the University of Otago, Otago Polytechnic, Ministry of Education Dunedin office, NZ Red Cross, and Dunedin schools.

Project researchers and advisers

Associate Professor Vivienne Anderson is the project leader. She is Associate Dean at the University of Otago College of Education, and a former primary school teacher and teacher educator.

Sayedali (Ali) Mostolizadeh is an Assistant Research Fellow and Youth Mentor on this project. He co-develops and co-runs the workshops with Vivienne. Ali is also a documentary filmmaker and doctoral candidate at the University of Waterloo, Canada.

Dr Jo Oranje is an Assistant Research Fellow in the Division of Health Sciences at the University of Otago. She has a PhD in intercultural communication. Jo provides academic support for refugee-background students studying health science subjects.

Amber Fraser-Smith is an ESOL lecturer at Otago Polytechnic. She has recently completed an MEdPsych through Massey University. Her research focused on effective ESOL teaching for refugee-background students.

Pip Laufiso is Senior Adviser Priority Learners at the Otago/Southland Ministry of Education. She is an adviser on our project.

Angela Watts is a registered teacher based at Carisbrook School, Dunedin. Formerly, she had oversight of the Dunedin school ‘clusters’ — schools that enrol refugee-background students. While Angela is on maternity leave, Penny Kershaw, the current Dunedin secondary school cluster coordinator, has joined our project team in an advisory role.

Jarrah Cooke is the Dunedin-based Pathways to Employment National Programme Manager at NZ Red Cross. Jarrah is an adviser on the project.

Dr Rachel Rafferty is a lecturer in Sociology at the University of Derby, UK. Formerly, she was a lecturer at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago, and a youth worker for NZ Red Cross. Rachel is an external adviser on the project.