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SDES TRiO Center
Hours Mon-Fri: 8am - 5pm
Phone 407-823-4165
Fax 407-823-5597
Location Howard Phillips Hall 2018


SDES TRiO Center
University of Central Florida
Student Development and Enrollment Services
Howard Phillips Hall 208
P.O. Box 161920
Orlando, Florida 32816-1920

Mailing Address

TRiO Center
4297 Andromeda Loop N.
Suite 208
Orlando, FL 32816

Rebekah McCloud, Ed.D.
Executive Director, SDES TRiO Center

Dr. Rebekah McCloud is currently the Executive Director of the SDES TRiO Center at the University of Central Florida. Dr. McCloud has been active in the TRiO Community for a number of year. She has written over $15 million in TRiO grants including the first TRiO grant at UCF (McNair) and the current seven TRiO grants: PRIME STEM and Project BEST (Student Support Services); Project PACE and Project REACH (Talent Search); and Project ACE, Project EDGE and Project RISE (Upward Bound). Additionally, she was the Director of the UCF’s first Upward Bound program and is the past president of the Florida Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (FAEOPP), the Florida TRiO organization. Dr. McCloud is passionate about student access and retention efforts. She created the Research and Mentoring Program (RAMP) and served as the Director of Minority Programs in Education (College of Education and Human Performance). A former school principal and classroom teacher, Dr. McCloud came to UCF (College of Education) in 1995 to work with pre-service and veteran teachers. She was also the Associate Director of the Office of Diversity Initiatives. She is currently on the editorial review board for three national peer-reviewed journals: Opportunity Matters: The Journal of Access and Opportunity in Education, the Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, and Signal Journal (International Reading Association). She occasionally reviews articles for AERA Open (the journal for the American Educational Research Association).

Courtney Hart, B.S.
Graduate Assistant (PRIME STEM)

Courtney graduated from the GREAT Bethune Cookman University, receiving her BS in Chemistry. She is currently in the Nanotechnology PSM program. Courtney comes from a huge family. She loves to read, travel and work with children.

Diana Negron-Reyes
Director Project REACH/Talent Search

Diana I. Negron-Reyes is a Ph.D. candidate in the College of Education at the University of Florida where she developed and established a parent engagement model while working as a College Readiness Liaison in partnership with several public schools districts in the state of Florida. More recently, Ms. Negron-Reyes served as the Talent Search Director for a consortium project between Santa Fe College, Florida Gateway College and the College of Central Florida. In this role, she was responsible for the overall development, implementation, and supervision of the program. Along the way, Ms. Negron-Reyes has produced scholarship parental involvement and K-12-university partnerships and presented that research at scholarly gatherings at the national e international level. Her practice is based on an asset-based model that focuses on changing the language of deficit into a language of assets and potential for students and their families. Her professional interests include college access, culturally responsive education, parent engagement, and creating opportunities for first-generation, underrepresented students.

Latrecia Rice
Coordinator Project PACE/Talent Search

Carmen Afonso
Office Assistant Project PACE/Talent Search

Carmen has been resuscitated back to life after have been retired for one year. Previously, she was with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for 13 years in the capacity of Executive Secretary and Coordinator for the Leadership Enhancement Program. While she enjoyed her one year hiatus (you can do just so much reading and TV watching (forget cleaning, please!!!) she is thrilled to be back among the working living

Keenan Ball
Student Assistant

Keenan Ball is originally from a small town in Georgia. He is majoring in Health Sciences here at UCF. His goal is to be a Nurse Anesthetist and to work in a Level I Trauma Center. Some of his hobbies include volunteering, traveling, 3D modeling, and graphic design. He has a strong interest in space, politics, music, cars and sports (Go Knights and Go Steelers!).

Yahima Perez
Student Assistant

Yahima Perez is an International and Global Studies major, with a minor in Anthropology in Multicultural Studies, and a certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. She plans on being an Ambassador and traveling the world.

Rachel Clarke, BS
Graduate Assistant

Rachel Clarke is a proud UCF Alumna, graduating with her Bachelors of Science in Biotechnology in 2014. Growing up for many years in a home located just minutes from UCF, you could say it was destined for her to be a Knight! Rachel lived in this area for many years, long before UCF had its own stadium and a decent football team! Rachel is currently pursuing her Professional Science Masters in Biotechnology with plans to work on translational/clinical research project management on neurodegenerative and/or metabolic disorders with business consulting firm specializing in pharmaceutical/healthcare innovations.
Rachel loves college football! Her favorite teams to cheer for are the Florida State Seminoles and the Auburn Tigers. Other hobbies include cooking, baking, reading and spending time with family and friends.
One of her favorite quotes is: “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”- Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Hector Fernandez
Student Assistant/Student Support Services

Hector Fernandez is a senior pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering here at UCF. Currently he is conducting research concerning the fundamental failure physics of current day nanotech with Jiang’s research group in the material science department. He also enjoys playing drums and paintball in his free time.

Project BEST
Rita Simpson, M.A.
Assistant Director (Project BEST)

Rita Simpson has been employed at the University of Central Florida for over ten years. She began her career in the Registrar's Office and progressed to the Sophomore & Second Year Center as an Academic Advisor. In her current role as Assistant Director, Mrs. Simpson oversees the Project BEST program. Her responsibilities include program development and the implementation of the program. As a first generation student herself, she is passionate and dedicated to the future success of our students while in college and after graduation.

She has served on various boards and committees throughout the university in supporting the Vision, Mission, and Goals of UCF. She served as the 2016 Region 4 NACADA Conference Chair and has served in multiple positions on the Black Faculty and Staff Association. She holds an Associate in Arts degree from Columbia College. She received a Bachelors of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (Psychology/Education) with a minor in Hospitality Management and a Masters of Arts in Career & Technical Education from the University of Central Florida. A native Floridian, Rita enjoys spending time with her family and shopping. One of her favorite quotes is "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter"-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lauren Murray-Lemon, Ph.D.
Coordinator (Project BEST)

Lauren is originally from Philadelphia and received her B.A. from Arcadia University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from UCF. In her spare time, Lauren loves to watch football (Go Knights! Go Eagles!), Food Network, cooking, drinking coffee, traveling, reading, and taking her dog, Jade, to the dog park.

Johnathon (Johnny) Fabrizio
Peer Tutor/Mentor

Johnathon is a senior biology major at UCF pursuing a career in the medical field. He plans on becoming a plastic surgeon dedicated to the reconstruction of facial and body defects due to birth disorders, trauma, burns, and diseases. He works as a tutor for Project BEST tutoring sciences such as Organic Chemistry, Statistical Methods, Biology, General Chemistry, and others. In his free time he enjoys hanging out with his friends, playing video games, and binge watching comedies on Netflix.

Sebastiana (Sonny) Halpin
Academic Coach

Sonny received her B.A. in psychology and sociology from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2016 and is currently pursuing her M.A. in marriage and family therapy. She plans to work with children and families in transition, with a focus on co-parenting, before returning to school for her PhD, so she can someday teach future counselors. She is the Academic Coach for Project BEST and has a passion for helping students enhance their study skills, improve time management, and plan for life after graduation. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, painting, and Netflix!

Perla Jimenez Herrera
Peer Tutor/Mentor

I’m a biomed major with a minor in Psychology in my 3rd year. I’m also a colead at a Neurolinguistics psychology lab here are UCF. I love food, Grey’s Anatomy, and puns.

Katsiaryna (Katia) Khatskevich
Peer Tutor/Mentor

Katia Khatskevich has worked for Project BEST since fall 2016 and will be graduating with a bachelors in Biomedical Sciences in spring 2018 with hopes of going to medical school. In addition to the Biomedical Sciences major, she is also working on a Russian Studies minor and a Studio Art minor. Katia tutors all maths up to Calc 2 as well as most biological sciences classes and general chemistry. In her free time she enjoys drawing, skating, drinking tea and eating chocolate, and has recently become a huge fan of Netflix. She also enjoys talking to people probably a bit too much so stop by to chat!

Kayla Harding
Graphic Designer

Kayla Harding is from South Florida. She is a senior majoring is Graphic Design with a minor in Marketing. Her hobbies include: sleeping, watching Marvel and DC movies, and designing on her computer. She loves all things arts and crafts, and most importantly spending time with her friends and family!

Rasha Daniel, M.Ed.
Assistant Director

Rasha Daniel received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and Master of Education degree in College Student Affairs from the University of South Florida. She has worked at the University of Central Florida for 10 years and is currently the Assistant Director of Student Support Services – PRIME STEM. Prior to working at UCF, she was a Counselor/Advisor for the Student Support Services Program at USF. She enjoys helping students reach their full potential.

Cayla Bartley, BS

Cayla Bartley received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida in Psychology and is obtaining a Master’s in Marriage, Family and Couples Therapy at the University of Central Florida. Currently she is the Coordinator of PRIME STEM in the SDES TRiO Center and previously worked as the Academic Coach of the program. Her passion is assisting others in comprehending their optimal potential, and envisioning & accomplishing their professional and personal goals. One of her favorite quotes is “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” –Neale Donald Walsch-

Rhonda Stossel, BA
Academic Coach

Rhonda Stossel is from Pittsburgh, PA and received her bachelor's degree in Business Leadership & Management at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. After taking a few years off from school, she decided to start her master's degree in school counseling at UCF this past January 2017. She is the academic coach for PRIME STEM and she helps the students with time management, study kills, preparing for graduate or professional school, connecting them with organizations on campus, and referring them to outside resources that prepares them to be academically successful. In her free time, she enjoys staying active by running and spending time outside as well as traveling.

Weilin Zhang
Peer Tutor/Mentor

Weilin Zhang has been with PRIME STEM since the summer of 2017. She will be graduating in spring 2018 with a Bachelor's in Graphic Design and a Bachelor’s in Emerging Media Management. During her free time she loves doing an array of things such as Arts and Crafts, watching the latest movies with my family, and occasionally browsing MEMEs on 9gag.

Houng Dang
Peer Tutor/Mentor

Huong Dang is a third-year student pursuing a bachelor degree in computer science. She is the peer mentor and tutor for PRIME STEM. Huong tutors various subjects including pre-calculus, trigonometry, calculus 1 and 2, introduction to C programming, computer science 1 and discrete mathematics. She is knowledgeable about on-campus resources and student opportunities. In her spare time, Huong enjoys reading, listening to music, and attending group exercise classes at RWC. Her motto in life is: "Be someone you needed when you were younger."

Minh-Chau Le
Peer Tutor/Mentor

Minh-Chau Le is a junior at the University of Central Florida. She is majoring in Mechanical Engineering, and double minoring in Music and Materials Science and Engineering. In the UCF community, Minh-Chau is active as the President of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), a writer for the Sparks Magazine, and a mentor for the Elevation Fellows Program. In her spare time, Minh-Chau enjoys singing, learning guitar, playing percussion, playing badminton, and especially, trying out new restaurants with friends.