VSSEC Staff

Michael Pakakis, AM

Director

Michael has a BSc in microbiology and biochemistry from Latrobe University and a Dip Ed from Monash University. He has directed VSSEC since 2006. He was awarded the Latrobe University Deans Medal for outstanding service to Science and Engineering, 2007.

Luca Bertolacci

Strategy and Partnership Manager

Luca has a BSc in Biomedicine and a Graduate Diploma of Education from Victoria University. Responsible for strategic and operational planning at VSSEC, he also teaches and works in a coaching capacity as a Learning Specialist at Strathmore Secondary College.

Mark Gleeson

STEM Learning Specialist & Curriculum Manager, Teaching & Learning

Mark has a BSc and a Master of Teaching, with industry expertise in the disciplines of Science and Engineering. His role is to explore development of current and emergent curriculum areas across a wide audience. He continues to work in academia, supporting pre-service teacher programs. Mark loves a good pun.

Vicky Scicluna

Administration Manager

Vicky is the first point of contact for all enquiries relating to VSSEC. She manages our front office, bookings, events and general finance. Vicky is friendly, organised and has a bubbly personality. She has
been a staff member with VSSEC for over 12 years.

Ian Christie

Finance Officer, Curriculum Developer and Special Projects

Ian has a Bach Sci. and Dip. Ed. from Latrobe University. His duties include developing programs, organizing special projects and financial officer. Ian is the author of The Australian Bicycle Book.

Danielle Shean

Laboratory Manager, Curriculum Developer

Danielle has a BSc in geology and MSc in palaeontology from Monash University. Danielle is responsible for the operation of the laboratory, and development of VSSEC programs. Danielle was once stuck in a cave for six hours.

Stephen Gray

IT Manager

Stephen has a degree in Information Technology from Federation University. He is responsible for maintaining the technology in VSSEC, ensuring the best experience for students who participate in our programs. Stephen is the one who keeps the lights on in the literal sense.

Peta Kenny

Lead Educator

Peta has a BEng in Environmental Engineering from RMIT. She leads the day-to-day delivery of VSSEC programs, is responsible for new educator training and contributes to the development of new programs. When not at work, Peta hikes whenever she can.

Emma Barnett

Astronomy Enrichment Programs Coordinator

Emma has a BSc in physics from the University of Melbourne. With a deep enthusiasm for STEM outreach and education, they coordinate the Invisible Universe and VSSEC STEM Club programs. Emma once filled in for a kids entertainment show as a clown named Wally.

Aba Soleman

Robotics Enrichment Programs Coordinator

Aba has a Bachelor in Aerospace Engineering from RMIT. His duties at VSSEC include the Robotics Mission to Mars and the CanSat project. He has a deep love for aircraft and spacecraft. In his spare time, Aba likes to partake in community service and paint.

Dr Chris Kladis

Curriculum Developer

Dr Chris Kladis has a PhD in physical chemistry and spectroscopy from RMIT. He is currently developing new STEM curriculum. Chris has survived flaming sodium shrapnel and unruly chemical rockets.

Dr Brett Biddington AM, PhD

External Relations Advisor, Chair, Advisory Group

Dr Brett Biddington has a PhD in space security from UNSW; he serves as VSSEC’s external relations and grants advisor. In 2012, Brett was admitted as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). Read More.