Meet the Project Team Members

Dr Sarah O’Shea
University of Wollongong

Dr Sarah O’ Shea is a Senior Lecturer in Adult, Vocational and Higher Education at The University of Wollongong, Australia. She has focused all her research on student access and participation within the university sector, with particular reference to those students from identified equity groups. These groups include but are not limited to students from low-SES backgrounds, indigenous students, those who have accessed university from alternative entry points, mature aged students and students who are the first in the family to come to university. Sarah has published widely in this area, with peer reviewed journal articles on higher education participation, book chapters and also a co-authored a book on the experiences of mature age female returners (Stone & O’Shea, 2012).
Further details about Sarah's research and publications can be found at: https://uow.academia.edu/SarahOShea

Visit Sarah's blog here

Dr Cathy Stone
Represented Open Universities Australia on the research team

Dr Cathy Stone is a Conjoint Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Newcastle, Australia and also works as a private consultant in the higher education sphere. Cathy has had many years’ experience in developing and managing programs and strategies to improve student success and retention for both on-campus and online students in the Australian higher education sector, most recently at Open Universities Australia where she was the Director of Student Success until the end of 2014. Cathy's research interests are in the field of student experience, with a particular focus being the experiences of first-in-family mature age students, an area in which she has a number of publications.
For more details go to: http://www.newcastle.edu.au/profile/cathy-stone, or https://www.linkedin.com/in/stonecathy

Dr Josephine May
University of Newcastle

Associate Professor Josephine May iis an award-winning university teacher and educational historian specialising in qualitative methods, history of Australian education and enabling education. Jo is particularly interested in gender, class, age, race and ethnicity and how they affect the lived experience of education. Her numerous research articles have appeared in leading journals including History of Education Review, Journal of Australian Studies and Paedagogica Historica. As well as collaborating on this OLT funded project on First in Family students, Jo is currently investigating the history of women educational leaders in New South Wales Australia for a co-authored book to be published by Information Age Publishers (Georgia, USA). Jo is on the Editorial Board of History of Education Review, Associate Editor of Historical Encounters, a journal of historical consciousness, historical cultures and history education, and foundation Chair of the Editorial Board of the Dictionary of Educational History in Australia and New Zealand (DEHANZ). Jo is also proud to be the first in her immediate family to attend university.

Current Position

Deputy Director and Associate Professor, Teaching and Learning, English Language and Foundation Studies Centre

Online Profile


Dr Janine Delahunty
University of Wollongong

Dr Janine Delahunty is on the Teaching Development Team in the University of Wollongong’s Learning, Teaching and Curriculum Unit, working within the unit’s diversity portfolio. Her interests lie in improving the learning experience of students, particularly those from diverse and less advantaged backgrounds. Her recently completed PhD thesis focused on the TESOL online learning space, particularly on the complexities of forum discussion and the effect on the teaching-learning experience. Although not ‘strictly’ first in her family to attend university, her own venture into university study began later in life, studying part-time for many years and doing the family-study-work balancing act.
Her publications and other information can be found at https://uow.academia.edu/JanineDelahunty