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Personal profile

Personal profile

Associate Professor Lena has been recognised nationally for her outstanding contributions to learning and teaching where she was awarded an Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) Teaching Excellence Award. She has also received an ALTC citation for teaching excellence. Lena previously worked as a teacher in both Australia and the United Kingdom.

Lena is experienced in working on large-scale research projects that involve cross-institution collaborations. Lena was a Chief Investigator and the nominated Post-Doctoral Fellow on the Australian Research Council Linkage Grant Space to Grow that investigated the impact of conducting real science projects in schools on students’ knowledge outcomes and their experiences in school science and on their teachers’ professional learning and the pedagogies they employ in science. In 2016, Lena was contracted by the Northern Territory Department of Education to conduct an evaluation of distance education pedagogy in three Northern Territory Government distance education centres.

Currently, Lena is the chief investigator on a two-year project at Kinross Wolaroi School funded by the Association of Independent Schools focused on collaborative approaches to programming and teaching primary school science. Lena is also collaborating with colleagues from CSU and Swinburne Universities in the evaluation of the federally funded program Little Scientists. Lena currently supervisors six PhD students within the Faculty of Arts and Education.

Research Interests

Research Interests

  • Science and Technology Education in the primary and secondary school and in pre-service teacher education. In particular: student engagement in science; teachers' confidence and competence in teaching investigative science; Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Astronomy education.

Research Grants

  • 2017-2018: Danaia, L. Collaborative approaches to programming and teaching primary school science: Opportunities and impacts. Kinross Wolaroi School. Project Manager: Cameron, S. School Investigators: Whiteley, R. & Bylsma, E. [Association of Independent Schools funded Project $141,000]
  • 2017-2018: Highfield, K., MacDonald, A., Danaia, L. & Sikder, S. Evaluation of the Little Scientists Program: Research in practice [$82,154]
  • 2017: MacKenzie, N., Danaia, L., MacDonald, A., Edwards-Groves, C., Working Above Standard Project (WASP): St Mary's School, Myrtleford and CSU Research Collaboration [$37,312]
  • 2016: Danaia, L. Evaluation of distance education pedagogy in three Northern Territory Government distance education centres [$19,891]
  • 2016: Danaia, L. Collaborative approaches to programming and teaching primary school science: Opportunities and impacts Pilot Project [$11,734]
  • 2012-2013: McKinnon, D., Danaia, L. Indigenous Sky Stories [$110,000]
  • 2009-2012:Parker, Q., McKinnon, D.H., Hedberg.,J., Danaia, L., DeCourcy, J. Australian Research Council Linkage Grant Linkage Grant Space to Grow: The Faulkes Telescope and improving science engagement in schools. LP0989264 [ARC funded amount $346,092]
  • 2008-2009: McKinnon, D., Danaia, L. Pulse @ Parkes Evaluation [$15,000]
  • 2008: Danaia, L. Faculty Seed Grant Science in Regional Schools [$2969]

Project Collaborations and Consultancies

  • 2016 onwards: Fitzgerald, M., McKinnon, D.H. & Danaia, L. Our Solar Siblings Pilot project underway.
  • 2015: Sky Stories - HEPP funded through Future Moves. Role: Educational Consultant
  • 2007: Wildflowers in the Sky Australian School Innovation in Science, Technology and Mathematics (ASISTM) funded project [$75,000] Role: Educational Consultant
  • 2004-2006: The Eye Observatory Remote Telescope Project: Practical Astronomy for Years 7, 8 and 9. Department of Education, Science and Training [$216,000] Role: Project Manager


Lena currently supervises six PhD students within the Faculty of Arts and Education. Lena predominately teaches Science and Technology and Mathematics Curriculum Subjects within the Early Childhood and Primary and K-12 Bachelor of Education degrees and within the Bachelor and Master of Teaching Courses. Lena has also taught Quantitative Research Methods. In 2013, Lena was a Transition Coordinator within the School of Teacher Education.

Teaching Awards

  • Faculty of Education Award for Academic Excellence. Danaia, L. (2014)
  • Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) Award for Teaching Excellence for Social Sciences (including Education) in recognition of outstanding contributions to learning and teaching in education. McKinnon, D.H. & Danaia, L. (2008) [$25,000]
  • Faculty of Education Academic Excellence Award for teaching and research. Danaia, L. (2007)
  • Carrick (now ALTC) Citation for “Building innovative primary science classroom practice through pre-service teacher immersion in a problem based, collaborative learning experience”. Team Award McKinnon, D.H., Danaia, L. & Parkes, V. (2006) [$10,000]

Professional Information

Lena has delivered a number of teacher professional learning sessions and school-based science workshops. She has also facilitated a number of primary school science days. Lena has presented at public events such as the Annual Just Add Science Fair held at the Australian Fossil & Mineral Museum.

Lena delivers STEM-based workshops throughout the year to primary and secondary students as part of the Future Moves program at Charles Sturt University. Lena has also facilitated STEM workshops for the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group.

Lena has served on a number of internal and external advisory panels for candidates presenting their PhD and Masters Research Proposals. Lena has also served as a member on Initial Teacher Education Accreditation Panels for BOSTES. Lena serves on the Board of Reviewers for the Journal of Astronomy & Earth Sciences Education. She is also member of the Australasian Science Education Research Association.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education


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