Asia-Pacific Australia

Faculty and Staff

Soenke Biermann, Director, Faculty, and Advisor,
Soenke holds a Bachelor of Indigenous Studies, a B.A. (first-class honours), and a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (Teaching and Learning) from Southern Cross University (SCU) where he was awarded the University Medal in 2009. He is currently in the final year of a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies at SCU, and his thesis explores the ways in which academics in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand decolonize their pedagogical practice. As a researcher, Soenke has presented his work on pedagogy, decolonization, social justice, and human rights at more than 20 national and international conferences. He has been invited to give guest lectures at institutions such as the University of Barcelona, McGill University, UC Berkeley, and Humboldt University, and has published articles in a range of scholarly journals. Soenke is a passionate and dedicated teacher who has won a number of institutional and national Australian teaching awards over the past few years. He also has set up and been involved with a series of initiatives and projects focusing on student equity, social justice, and cultural diversity, and has led a yearlong participatory action research project on the sources of resilience in high-achieving students from poor backgrounds. Soenke has been with the Australia Program since 2010.

Nigel Hayes, Adjunct Faculty and Advisor,
Nigel holds a B.A. (first-class honours) degree from Southern Cross University where he received the University Medal in 2008. Nigel is an experienced university teacher (both online and face-to-face) and has project leadership expertise in effective assessment and feedback. He has been teaching in the Environmental Humanities for Southern Cross University and LIU Global College since 2008. Nigel’s research interests revolve around theories of embodiment and subjectivity, the cultural controls on perception, especially as they involve food, and the ethics of eating. He has published several scholarly articles in academic journals and has presented his research at a number of national conferences. Nigel has been with the Australia Program as an adjunct since 2013.

Kerry Mitchell, Director, Faculty, and Advisor (Thailand only),
Kerry Mitchell oversees the Thailand section of the Asia-Pacific Program in the fall semester and the Capstone Program in New York in the spring. Serving with Global since 2007, he is an experienced teacher with particular skills in social scientific approaches to the study of religion. Kerry received a B.A. from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with research interests focused on spirituality and the secular in contemporary American life. His forthcoming book, Spirituality and the State: Managing Nature and Experience in America's National Parks, is slated to be published by NYU Press in 2016. 

Teresa Tomassoni, Assistant Director of the Asia Pacific Programs and Coordinator of the International Internship Program,
Teresa holds a master’s degree in journalism from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from LIU Global with a focus in international health and social work.  As an alum of the LIU Global program, Teresa has lived and studied in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Peru, China, Thailand, India and Turkey and has independently traveled extensively through Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam. Teresa joined the Asia-Pacific program as Assistant Director in January 2016. Prior to joining the program, Teresa spent several years working as an advocate for human trafficking survivors in New York City and Washington, D.C. In her most recent role in this field, she served as the director of programs at the international nonprofit, FAIR Girls. There, she was responsible for managing all emergency response, court advocacy and housing services for survivors of human trafficking, as well as training law enforcement, legal officials and healthcare practitioners on the issue of human trafficking. Teresa has also worked as a journalist for The Washington Post and NPR as a Stone & Holt Weeks Fellow. In 2015, she led a month-long “Photojournalism for Social Change” experiential learning trip to Argentina for high school students through The Experiment in International Living. Teresa is also a trained yoga teacher and Theater of the Oppressed facilitator.

Marcelle Townsend-Cross, Adjunct Faculty and Advisor,
Marcelle is a mixed heritage Indigenous Australian woman of Biripi, Worimi, and Irish descent. She has 16 years’ experience teaching Indigenous Studies in Australian Universities. Marcelle graduated from the University of Technology, Sydney, in 2009 with a Master of Education in Indigenous Studies, and from Southern Cross University in 1995 with a B.A. in Contemporary Music. Her research and professional activities have concentrated on defining and engaging Indigenous Australian philosophy in relation to pedagogical theory and praxis in past, present, and future contexts, and in engaging Indigenous Australian values in mainstream Australian social policy and practice. Specifically, her research pursuits focus on exploring critical Indigenous Studies pedagogical theory and practice in the vocational, higher education, and community adult education sectors. Marcelle has been with the Australia Program since 2012.