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SDES TRiO Center
Hours Mon-Fri: 8am - 5pm
Phone 407-823-4165
Fax 407-823-5597
Location Howard Phillips Hall 208


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
Director, SDES TRiO Center

Dr. Rebekah McCloud is currently the 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 $10 million in TRiO grants including the first TRiO grant at UCF (McNair) and the current TRiO grants PRIME STEM and Project BEST (Student Support Services). Additionally, she was the Director of the UCF 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 two national peer-reviewed journals: Opportunity Matters: The Journal of Access and Opportunity in Education and Signal Journal (International Reading Association).

Melissa Gillis
Office Manager (SDES TRiO Center)

Melissa is from the Washington, DC area and made the Orlando area her home in 2014. A busy wife & mom of 3 daughters (also 1 rottie and 4 cats), she spends any time she can at the beach or watching one of her favorite sports teams. She loves ALL music and will catch any concert she can. Way to her heart… Coffee and chocolate!

Amy Bickel, M.A.
Assistant Director (PRIME STEM)

Amy Bickel received two Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Central Florida in Sociology and Psychology and her Master’s in Educational Leadership with a focus in Higher Education. She will begin a doctoral program in Higher Education Administration at the University of Alabama in Fall 2016. Currently she is the Assistant Director of PRIME STEM in the SDES TRiO Center. Previously she has worked in the College of Graduate Studies with Interdisciplinary Graduate Program development, external relations, and communication projects. Her first professional role was in the Office of Undergraduate Research as a Coordinator for the L.E.A.R.N. program- an NSF-funded research living-learning community and undergraduate research programs. Her previous research has focused on mentoring and other high-impact practices such as undergraduate research and learning communities. Her professional passion is to impact the persistence and graduation of first generation and low-income students through the development of programs and policies that create a support system and campus climate that fuels their success.

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.

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.

Yaridma Tejada
Student Assistant (SDES TRiO Center)

Yaridma has been with SDES TRiO since Spring 2014 as a student assistant. She is majoring in Social Work and will be earning her Bachelor’s in Social Work by the end of the 2017 spring semester. She is interested in working with the underserved population and is still trying to determine what social area she would like to work in. She enjoys reading, listening to music, taking care of her pets, and group discussions about interesting topics.

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.

Adasha Elmore
Coordinator Project REACH/Talent Search

Adasha Elmore is a coordinator for the TRiO Talent Search program, housed at the University of Central Florida. For eight years, Adasha has victoriously served, trained, and developed K-12 students in the public, charter, and alternative school sectors. Hence, she has a boundless passion for low-income/first generation students; pursuing excellence in every endeavor! In her spare time, Adasha enjoys live music, karaoke, and shopping.

Debra Daly
Program Assistant Project REACH/Talent Search

Debra was previously employed at UCF for eight years as an Administrative Assistant and as an Accountant. She left UCF in 2014 for another opportunity and she is very excited to return to join SDES TRiO - Project REACH. Her responsibilities include maintaining administrative records, financial records and providing administrative support to staff.

Andrew Allen
Student Designer

Andrew Allen is a first generation college student at the University of Central Florida majoring in Graphic Design and minoring in Marketing. He will be earning his Bachelors of Fine Arts in the fall of 2018. Allen is active in the UCF community as a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS), the Graphic Design Student Association (GDSA), and is a Project BEST Scholar. Having held positions both in Graphic Design and in Social Media Marketing, he has a passion for branding, illustration, and advertising. In his free time, Allen enjoys a myriad of activities such as volunteering, hanging out with friends, and traveling.

Josie Condon
Graduate Assistant

Josalie (Josie) Condon received a bachelor's degree in both Psychology and Sociology from Kent State University, in Ohio, and she is currently working on her Masters in Sociology at the University of Central Florida. Afterwards, Josie intends to obtain her PhD and work in academia. Josie has 4 siblings, has lived in 4 different states, and she loves to read, listen to music and learn new things.

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

Ariel Ramjass-Chotoo
Student Designer, Project BEST Student Support Services

Andia Ruiz Payne Narcis
Peer Mentor Project BEST Student Support Services

Jonathon Fabrizio
Peer Tutor, Project BEST Student Support Services