Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies
Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies

Current Staff

rhondaevansRhonda L. Evans

Director and Associate Professor of Instruction 

Rhonda Evans has directed the Edward A. Clark Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies and served as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Government since 2012. She was previously an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at East Carolina University. Dr. Evans holds a Ph.D. in Government from UT-Austin, a J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, and a B.A. in Political Science from Kent State University’s Honors College, graduating phi beta kappa. As a lawyer licensed to practice in her home state of Ohio, she served as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Tuscarawas County and as a Staff Attorney with Southeastern Ohio Legal Services. Dr. Evans is a principal investigator for the Australian and New Zealand Policy Agendas Projects. Her research is interdisciplinary in nature and reflects her training in law and political science. Current projects examine the Australian Human Rights Commission, the apex courts of Australia and New Zealand, and partisanship in the Australian Senate. Dr. Evans is especially interested in how apex courts set their agendas as well as the roles that they play in policymaking processes. In addition to contributing to a number of edited volumes, Dr. Evans has published in the Australian Journal of Political ScienceCongress and the PresidencyOsgoode Hall Law Review, and Journal of Common Market Studies. She is co-author of Legislating Equality: The Politics of Antidiscrimination Policy in Europe with Oxford University Press (2014).  She teaches undergraduate courses on Australian politics and human rights.


christinebirdChristine Bird

Graduate Research Assistant | Webmaster

Christine Bird is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. Due to her legal training and background, Christine’s research interests lie at the intersection of law and politics. She specializes in constitutional law, civil rights, and judicial politics. She also holds a graduate research fellowship with the Policy Agendas Project. Christine holds a J.D. and a license to practice law in her home state, Oklahoma. During law school, Christine held a position on the Law Review and internships with the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the Equal Opportunity Commission, and in private litigation. She earned a M.A. in Government at the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Oklahoma. 
Outside of academia, Christine enjoys live music, yoga, and Texas barbecue. She is also an avid sports fan, following NCAA Football and NBA Basketball. You can follow her on twitter, @ChristineCBird or on her professional website,


andrewgibbonsAndrew Gibbons

Postdoctoral Fellow 

Andrew Gibbons is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Edward A. Clark Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies. He holds a PhD and BA (Hons) from the University of Melbourne. Dr. Gibbons' research focuses on comparative public policy and political communication, with a focus on Anglo-American and advanced parliamentary democracies. His research interests lie at the intersection of these fields and include election reporting, election campaigning, policy/political journalism, election promises, and the public policy process. Dr. Gibbons' recent work examines the way politicians and media communicate policy issues during elections, the communication and fulfilment of election promises, the policy agenda of legislative and media institutions, and bipartisanship/collaboration on policy problems in legislative settings. Prior to joining the Clark Center, Dr. Gibbons was previously a sessional lecturer in Australian Politics at the University of Melbourne where he taught undergraduate and postgraduate subjects on Australian politics, campaigns and elections, strategic political communication, politics and the media, and social research methods. From 2013 to 2015, Dr. Gibbons served as a research officer on the Australian Policy Agendas Project. 
You can follow him on twitter @DrAndrewGibbons or on his professional website,


sierraSierra Rowe

Graduate Research Assistant

Sierra is a graduate student at The LBJ School of Public Affairs. Her involvement with the Clark Center began while she was pursuing at BA in Government at UT. Initially working as a Research Intern, Sierra was named a Clark Scholar for the 2017-18 academic year. As a Clark Scholar, she built datasets to evaluate the extent to which decisions of the New Zealand Supreme Court receive media coverage. After graduating in 2018, Sierra moved to Shanghai where she worked as an ESL teacher until the COVID-19 pandemic sent her back to Texas, whereupon she rejoined the Clark Center as a Research Assistant. Sierra manages several projects concerning the Australian Human Rights Commission. She admits to spending too much time on Twitter and too much money on Austin’s culinary scene.

  • Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies

    The University of Texas at Austin
    300 W 21st St STOP F1900
    HRC 3.137
    Austin, Texas, 78712