Dr Mann is a proud Darumbal woman and South Sea Islander, who has forged a career advocating for equitable and accessible education. She draws on her professional experience in community education and training and development; her lived experiences as an Aboriginal and South Sea Islander woman and her upbringing in small regional and rural towns.
Melinda is now an Adjunct Professional Fellow at CQUniversity, after many years as a full-time staff member. She is the chair of the Rockhampton Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Education Working Group. In 2019, Melinda obtained a Ministerial appointment as a school advisor on the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education and Training Advisory Committee (QATSIETAC) where she provides expert advice on school education to the Minister for Education and Training and Minister for Small Business and Training. Melinda is also a member of the Oceania Working Party for the Australian Dictionary of Biography.
In 2019, Melinda became the first CQUniversity graduate to complete a CQUni Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) on Country. Melinda’s research focussed on the experience of young people connected to Darumbal Country as either Traditional Custodians or members of other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups who relocated to the area. Her research investigated their transition from year 12 into work or further study, and family and community roles.
Thesis title: Speaking up and speaking back to high school and post-school transition experiences: An Indigenised narratology exploring education for the life success of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living on Darumbal Country