Social Science and Visitor Research Officer
Michelle is a social scientist working for Parks Victoria in the Conservation directorate. Residing on Gunaikurnai Country in the Strzelecki Ranges, Victoria, Australia, Michelle’s beginnings in research were focused on young Australians’ future planning/decision making, and the influence of education, career, and marriage. While completing her studies, Michelle worked in various roles in a park agency and was able to see the impact of nature on people’s mental, physical, and social health, and the effects (positive and negative) that visitors have on the environment. Michelle wanted to protect the environment by endeavouring to understand the connection between people and nature, such as motivations behind behaviour, to assist in influencing environmental management and policy.
Her work now focuses on the connection between people and the environment under a range of research themes, including but not limited to; social licence, social benefits, behaviour change and stewardship and advocacy. Her program also conducts significant longitudinal monitoring studies to track trends in park management, visitation, and visitor profiles. With a background in psychology and social sciences, Michelle is passionate about better understanding drivers of behaviour and interventions to reduce harm on flora and fauna and preserve nature for future generations.
Michelle is actively involved in cultural change in her organisation, contributing to the development and implementation of a Gender Equality Action Plan, which promotes the ways that gender equity serves the workforce, community, and partners. She also acts as a mentor to emerging female professionals, and students at Monash University through their Alumni to Student Mentoring Program, to assist them in transitioning to the workforce, foster professional development and explore career paths/goals.
In her personal time, Michelle is a passionate gardener and artist. She loves to paint landscapes and florals and enjoys spending as much time outdoors as she can manage.