Key Researchers

Associate Professor Rebecca Wickes

Rebecca Wickes is the Program Leader of the Population, Migration and Social Inclusion Focus Program. She is an Associate Professor in Criminology and Deputy Director of the Centre for Social and Population Research (CSPR) at the School of Social Sciences (SoSS), Monash University.

Her research focusses on demographic changes in urban communities and their influence on social cohesion and the concentration of social problems. She is the lead investigator of the Australian Community Capacity Study (ACCS), a multi-million, multi-site, longitudinal study of urban neighbourhoods.

Associate Professor Marie Segrave

Marie Segrave is a Researcher with The Border Crossing Observatory (BOb) and Monash Gender and Family Violence. She researches in a wide range of areas but her work is primarily concerned with migration, regulation, exploitation, and criminalisation. 

Marie’s current research projects are focused on temporary migration & labour exploitation in Australia, temporary migration and family violence and human trafficking and modern slavery.

Associate Professor Dharma Arunachalam

Dharma is Director of the Centre for Population and Urban Research, and Acting Head of the School of Social Sciences at Monash University. He received his PhD in Demography from the Australian National University in 1992 and was a Rockefeller Postdoctoral Fellow at the Population Studies Centre, University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, USA) from 1991-1994.

Before joining Monash University in January 2006, he taught at the Department of Societies and Cultures, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand from 1995-2005.

Dr Helen Forbes-Mewett

Helen Forbes-Mewett is Senior Lecturer in Sociology and interdisciplinary researcher in the School of Social Sciences at Monash University. She leads the Migration and Social Cohesion research hub in the Centre for Social and Population Research (CSPR). Helen was ARC Research Postdoctoral Fellow 2010-2014 and undertook a major study focusing on International Student Safety from Crime. In 2014, Helen was commended by Monash University for her contribution to social justice and inclusion.

Helen’s interdisciplinary work focuses on human security, migration, cultural diversity, international education and social cohesion.


Dr Jonathan Smith

Jonathan Smith is a Research Fellow in Sociology at the School of Social Sciences. He leads the ‘Communities and Infrastructure’ Research Hub in the Centre for Social and Population Research (CSPR). He also coordinates the ‘Social Futures and Life Pathways of Young People (‘Our Lives’) Project, which is a longitudinal ARC Discovery Project tracking the emerging values and life pathways of young Australians.

Jonathan’s research explores the influence of globalisation and social change in key domains of young people’s lives, including their attitudes towards diversity and social institutions; their engagement with digital media; and broader inequalities in their career and housing pathways. 

Dr Kathryn Benier

Kathryn Benier is a Lecturer in Criminology in the School of Social Sciences. Her research focus is urban criminology and the neighbourhood ecology of crime. with a particular focus on hate crime, hate speech, social exclusion and prejudice. 

Prior to joining Monash University, Kathryn worked at the Australian Institute of Criminology, and also has experience in Queensland Government’s Youth Justice Performance and Reporting team. She completed her PhD at the University of Queensland, where she also completed Honours (1st Class) in Criminology, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.

Rebecca Powell

Rebecca Powell is the Research Manager of PMSI and the Managing-Director of the Border Crossing Observatory. She has worked as a senior researcher on a number of irregular migration research projects hosted by the Border Crossing Observatory and has previous experience working as an international research consultant on trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Asia Regional Trafficking in Persons Project.

Rebecca is currently completing a PhD by publications part time titled ‘‘I still call Australia home’: The deportation of convicted non-citizens from Australia and the impact of policy and practice from a criminological perspective.’

Dr Lesley Pruitt

Lesley Pruitt is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Monash University, where she is based at Monash GPS (Centre for Gender, Peace and Security).  Her books include The Women in Blue Helmets: Gender, Policing & the UN’s First All-Female Peacekeeping Unit (University of California Press) and Youth Peacebuilding: Music, Gender & Change (State University of New York Press).

She is also an author of Young People, Citizenship and Political Participation: Combatting Civic Deficit? (Rowman and Littlefield).

Dr Samanthi J. Gunawardana

Samanthi J. Gunawardana is a Lecturer in Gender and Development in the International Relations section of Faculty of Arts, and a member of the Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre. 

Samanthi’s research examines the impact of development policy on employment systems, labour, and livelihoods among rural women in South Asia, with a particular emphasis on gender, development and labour in Sri Lanka. Key topics explored include labour migration, export processing zone employment systems, freedom of association, labour organizing, and connections between the political economy of households and development policy. Samanthi is the Course Director for the Master of International Development Practice.