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Our people

Embedding cultural competence nationwide

Meet our team of academic leaders and professional staff changing the cultural competence agenda at the University and beyond.

Academic Director

Associate Professor Gabrielle Russell

Associate Professor Gabrielle Russell leads the Centre’s work in progressing a deeper understanding of the theory and practice of cultural competence and has been instrumental in creating effective resources and research to cultivate cultural competence at the personal and organisational level.

Associate Professor Russell undertakes multi-disciplinary research which explores how to develop cultural competence from diverse perspectives and positions and how to facilitate a deeper and sustainable understanding and practice of individual, systemic, and organisational leadership, and transformative change.

Academic staff

Amy McHugh Cole

Academic Facilitator

Amy McHugh Cole is an Academic Facilitator for the National Centre for Cultural Competence. Working towards her PhD in Curriculum, Instruction and the Science of Learning through the University at Buffalo, Amy also teaches intercultural communication online for the State University of New York at Oswego.

Amy brings her years of teaching experience and research in the area of Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) and its effects on (inter)cultural competence to the NCCC. She is interested in how technology and motivation play a role in our ongoing journey towards cultural competence.

Dr Matthew Tyne

Academic Facilitator

Dr Matthew Tyne is an  Academic Facilitator at the National Centre for Cultural Competence (NCCC). He comes to cultural competence following 20 years of working in international community development, especially in South East Asia and the Pacific, and sexual health promotion with diverse communities in Australia. 

He previously worked at the NCCC as a project officer. He has recently completed his PhD, a performance ethnography that investigates how gay men in Colombo, Sri Lanka, might use theatre as a mode of advocacy and site of discussion for issues important to them.

Professional staff

Erin Sreejayan

Erin is the Business Program Manager at the National Centre for Cultural Competence and works across the NCCC and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Strategy and Services portfolio. Erin supports University strategic efforts towards commercialising the NCCC and related intellectual property.

She brings a wealth of experience in the areas of finance and program management from the faculties within the University. Erin seeks to develop, deliver, and advise to position the NCCC as a leading provider of cultural competence education and research with industry partners.

Through her work she plays a part in reframing the cultural narrative of Australia including coordinating the implementation and delivery of activities and tasks in order to meet established milestones and deliverables. She also works collaboratively with the portfolio on the One Sydney, Many People strategy.

Nadia Elkholy (on leave)

Nadia is the Senior Administration Officer with the National Centre for Cultural Competence, working across the team to manage administrative support for the centre. Prior to joining the NCCC, Nadia worked across various portfolios at the University of Sydney, as well as in the not-for-profit sector.

Nadia has long been passionate about social justice and human rights, and she is keen to support and grow the important work being done at the NCCC. She is looking forward to continuing her professional development and is proud to work in an environment that fosters real change.

Aimee McKenzie

Aimee is the current Sr. Administration Officer for the National Centre for Cultural Competence, supporting the team and the centre administratively. Prior to joining the NCCC, Aimee was the Executive Assistant to the Head of School at the School of Psychology at the University of Sydney. Aimee brings over 15 years of administrative experience to the table specifically within the tertiary, medical, and finance sectors. 

Aimee is passionate about human rights, social cultures, history, and the arts. She is looking forward to supporting the important work that the NCCC is known for and is interested in further professional development opportunities. 

Adubi Plange

Adubi is a Project Officer with the National Centre for Cultural Competence, working alongside the team to support the delivery of cultural competence workshops and programs. She comes to the NCCC with experience in educational project support, previously working at ANU’s Institute of Climate, Energy & Disaster Solutions to support the organisation and delivery of professional short courses for government, NGO, and industry workers. 

With a passion for Indigenous environmental justice and climate action, she brings her experience and passions to the NCCC and is excited to support projects that focus on the importance of cultural competence in education. She is especially interested in the importance of cultural competence in the sharing and co-existence of Indigenous and western knowledge forms in the context of environmental sustainability and care. 

Elif Sahin

Elif Sahin is the Educational Designer for the National Centre for Cultural Competence. In addition to her graduate certificate in Learning Design, Elif holds a Bachelor of Education and Master of English Studies. She is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

‌Elif brings with her over fifteen years of teaching and course design experience to contribute to the important work of the NCCC. She is interested in combining instructional theories with innovative educational technologies to enhance the learning experience while creating culturally safe learning spaces.

Isabella Nahon

Isabella is a Project Officer with the National Centre for Cultural Competence, working with the team to support external engagement and the development of cultural competency resources. With a social work and policy background, she is passionate about structural change and starting conversations that challenge our worldviews. Bringing her prior experiences as a program coordinator in various social justice focused communal non-profits, case worker and policy intern for the Australian Council of Social Service, she approaches the NCCC’s work from a unique perspective.

Isabella views the work of the NCCC as an exciting way to interrupt and challenge social structures by working directly with the educators of the next generation of leaders.  She is particularly interested in how social justice education and initiatives fit into the narratives and missions of non-cause based institutions. 

Header image: Gadi tree and University of Sydney logo (by Iman Irannejad).