I am the Head of College - Psychology within the School of Health Medical and Applied Sciences at CQUniversity. I held the role of Head of Department of Psychology and Public Health from Dec 2016 to July 2020 and my new role is a natural realignment within the new University structure. I am also an Adjunct Research Fellow on the South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute faculty, aligned with the Wellbeing and Resilience Centre.
I am an Executive committee member of the Heads of Department and Schools of Psychology Association (HODSPA) and hold the office of Treasurer.
I supervise research students across CQUni's Psychology and Science Honours courses, Masters of Clinical Psychology, Masters of Health Science and PhD programs. My primary research interests concentrate on the links between physical and psychological health, and the promotion of resilience and well-being in adjusting to adverse life events. My research is focussed across a diverse spectrum of social activity – from the impact and role on individuals in specific circumstances, to the understanding of how organisational, social and community level impacts can influence health and well-being. My goal is to foster preventive health strategies and promote more efficient and targeted management of individuals, families and groups facing lifestyle changes forced by their experience of challenging and adverse events.
Karena is an Associate Professor in Psychology and was appointed Head of College - College of Psychology in July 2020.
Karena completed her doctoral studies at the University of Tasmania in Launceston where she also held positions as an Associate Lecturer and Junior Research Fellow within the School of Psychology. Her PhD project examined the adjustments made by police officers when they enter the police profession.
Karena completed a postdoctoral fellowship at CQUniversity between 2008 and 2011 intially as part of the Healthy Communities Initiative, then within the Institute for Health and Social Science Research (IHSSR).
Karena started as a Senior Lecturer in Psychology in August 2011, and coordinated the Psychology 4th Year Honours and Graduate Diploma programs in Psychology until mid 2016.
Karena undertook a research secondment from July 2016 to February 2017 with the Wellbeing and Resilience Centre (WRC) at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), as the WRC Research Lead.
Karena was the Head of Department of Psychology and Public Health from December 2016 to July 2020. Initially based at CQUni's Rockhampton campus, Karena relocated to CQUniversity's Adelaide campus in May 2018.
Karena holds the position of Treasurer on the Executive committee of the Heads of Departments and Schools of Psychology Association (HODSPA).
Associate Member - Food and Behaviour Research (www.fabresearch.org)
Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
International Association of Applied Psychology
International Positive Psychology Association - Health Division, Organisational Division
Member of the Australian Psychological Society - Interest Groups: Positive Psychology, Remote & Rural, Military & Emergency Services, Trauma, Coaching Psychology
Head of College
I am currently accredited for supervision in the following:
At the level of Principal Supervisor
Human resources and industrial relations - Workplace wellbeing and quality of working life
Specialist Studies in Education - Educational Administration, Management and Leadership
Specialist Studies in Education - Teacher and student wellbeing
Health services and systems - Mental health services
Public health - Health equity
Public health - Preventative health care
Public health - Social determinants of health
Applied and developmental psychology - Child and adolescent development
Applied and developmental psychology - Industrial and organisational psychology (incl. human factors)
Clinical and health psychology - Health psychology
Cognitive and computational psychology - Learning, motivation and emotion
Other psychology - Other psychology not elsewhere classified
Positive Psychology, Wellbeing and Resilience
Social and personality psychology - Community psychology
Social and personality psychology - Social psychology