Dr. Sejal Barden
Dr. Sejal Barden
Dr. Sejal Barden is the Executive Director of the Marriage and Family Research Institute and Principal Investigator for Project Harmony. Dr. Barden earned her doctoral degree in Counselor Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and completed her masters and education specialist degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Florida. Dr. Barden’s primary research interests include: supporting healthy relationships for individuals and couples from underserved populations and improving quality of life for chronically ill persons. Her favorite part of her job is mentoring students and working with our team to make data driven decisions to most effectively provide services grounded in strengthening relationships for participants in Project Harmony. She loves that every day allows us the ability to think outside the box and learn from one another. She loves to be outside, often spending free time with her family at the beach, in the pool or at the park. She is a lifelong learner and loves trying new foods, reading books from a variety of genres and traveling to new places.
Dr. Dalena Dillman Taylor
Dr. Dalena Dillman Taylor
Dalena Dillman Taylor, PhD, LPC, LMHC, RPT is the Co-Principal Investigator and Senior Implementation Director at Project Harmony. Dalena Dillman Taylor, PhD, LPC, LMHC, RPT, is an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida. She graduated with from the University of North Texas with a Master’s in Community Mental Health, specializing with children in 2010 and with a doctorate in Counseling, specializing in play therapy in 2013. Dr. Dillman Taylor is the Mental Health Track Coordinator, the play therapy certificate coordinator, Senior Implementation Director of the Marriage and Family Research Institute, and the Director of the Center for Play Therapy Training and Research at UCF. She is a certified child-centered play therapist supervisor, a certified child parent relationship therapist supervisor, and a trained Adlerian play therapist. Her favorite part of her job is witnessing the impact each team member has on the community through providing services or connecting participants with needed resources. It is great to see the MFRI as an integral part of the central Florida community. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her family, traveling, and engaging in home improvement projects (HGTV Fixer Upper is her inspiration).
Bridgette Toussaint is the Project Director for Project Harmony. Mrs. Toussaint holds a B.S. in Business Administration, M.S. in Public Administration and brings over 10 years of applicable experience (specifically in non-profit management and strategic planning) to the Institute. She previously served as the Training and Workshop Coordinator for the MFRI’s Project TOGETHER (2012 – 2014) and offers an array of program leadership and marketing skills to support Project Harmony. Bridgette enjoys the opportunity to work with a talented team and make a positive impact on the lives of low-income families through service – The reward for Bridgette is exponential, knowing the community and society as a whole will benefit from the programs and services provided at the Institute for generations to come. Bridgette enjoys spending quality time with her husband, family and friends as well as shopping, traveling to remote places, and experiencing new cultures through food.
Maria Riccardi is the Assistant Director of Recruitment at Project Harmony. Maria holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and has more than 15 years of recruitment experience specifically working with low income at risk populations. Maria has worked at the MFRI since 2007 and previously held a position at Healthy Families Orange County. Maria loves to serve and work with the community and enjoys establishing connections with individuals and organizations. She also loves to spend quality time with her family, enjoys traveling and trying new dishes from different cultures.
Nicole Silverio is the Family Case Manager Lead at Project Harmony. Nicole obtained her Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Central Florida in 2011. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and has been a part of Marriage and Family Research Institute team since 2013. Nicole’s favorite part of working at the MFRI is seeing and hearing the impact that Project Harmony has on the families that attend our workshops. Nicole’s favorite hobbies include cooking, hiking, and reading.
Nakita Carroll is a Family Case Manager at Project Harmony. Nakita came to the MFRI as an intern in 2011 while earning her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at the University of Central Florida. She is currently a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern working towards licensure. In addition to her work at the MFRI, Nakita owns and operates a private practice in the Lake Nona area. Nakita most enjoys providing the relationship education in the workshops. She says, “There is something very special about joining in with the couples and individuals who come through our doors on their journey to improve their relationships. It is my absolute favorite part of my role.” Nakita loves spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys singing and hanging out at local poetry spots.
Ada M. Diaz is a Recruitment Specialist at Project Harmony. Ada obtained a B.S. in Psychology from Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2015. Her professional background includes Customer Service, and Human Resources. Ada’s favorite part of recruiting is making connections with families and providing them with resources. Ada loves spending time with her husband and three children. She enjoys learning new things, reading and travel.
Eliseo Elias is a Family Case Coordinator at Project Harmony. Eliseo has worked in the mental health field as a Targeted Case Manager assisting clients obtain services from community resources. He graduated from UCF with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and minor in leadership studies. Eliseo enjoys seeing participants implement the tools learned from the workshops and assisting them with obtaining additional resources that will help participants reach their individual and relationship goals. Eliseo enjoys spending time visiting new places in Florida and watching Netflix.
Nataly Larenas is the Operations Manager at Project Harmony. Nataly previously worked in the UCF College of Education for 6 years and with the Marriage and Family Research Institute for the last 6 years. Currently she is working on a Bachelor’s degree in Event Management with UCF Rosen College. Nataly loves all the moving pieces that come with her position. She finds it exciting and rewarding that she gets to help create an experience that enriches the lives of our participants. When Nataly has free time, she loves to spend it with her family. She enjoys anything that involves being creative or learning something new.
Kenny earned his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Central Florida in 2006. Kenny also earned a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Nova Southeastern University in 2008. Before starting his journey with the MFRI, he worked as a family therapist for at risk youth in Lake County, Florida. Kenny also worked with couples and individuals in private practice. Kenny enjoys providing support, empowering lives and witnessing the positive changes that participants make during relationship education workshops. One of Kenny’s favorite part of being a Family Case Manager and a relationship educator is listening to testimonies of how Project Harmony has greatly enriched the lives of participants. It brings Kenny joy to be an agent of hope and change. Kenny loves spending time with his wife and twin baby boys. Kenny enjoys traveling, hiking, soccer, and baseball.
Rosa V. Quintero Mora
Rosa V. Quintero Mora
Rosa V. Quintero Mora is a Recruitment Specialist at Project Harmony. Rosa obtained her B.A. in Psychology at the “Universidad Rafael Urdaneta”, Venezuela. Her professional background includes Human Resources, Recruitment, Training and Cultural Corporative Change in a Fortune 500 company (USA). Rosa’s favorite part of her job is getting to know people that can take advantage of the program and interact with a lot of children. She loves reading, dancing, baking and going to the beach.
Angel L. Ramos is the Research and Programs Coordinator at Project Harmony. Prior to joining the MFRI, Angel worked as a Data Manager for the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI) and Student Services Coordinator for the nursing program at Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) where he also obtained his Master’s in Business Administration. He also has a B.S. in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Education and Commerce. Angel attributes his success to relying on a hard-earned skill-set of critical thinking, complex problem solving, management, marketing, and program development. Angel’s favorite part of the job is working with such an amazing team that values building relationships. He also likes the ability to solve complex problems and help people. Angel enjoys spending time with his family and exploring Central Florida. He also likes creating graphic design projects in his spare time.
Jamie Santos is a Family Case Specialist at Project Harmony. Jamie earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Central Florida in 2015. She joined the Marriage and Family Research Institute during a previous grant under Project TOGETHER. Before rejoining the Institute with Project Harmony, she worked within a private agency helping children in the foster care system. Jamie takes joy in knowing the work she does has the potential to inform research that will impact future couples and individuals. Working closely with her participants is her favorite part of her role in Project Harmony. Jamie enjoys spending time in art museums discovering new artists. She also enjoys spending quality time with friends and family.
Megan Whitbeck is the Graduate Research Assistant at Project Harmony. Megan is originally from Upstate New York and received her B.S. in Psychology from SUNY Cortland in 2016 before moving to Orlando to continue her education in Counseling. She is currently a graduate student in UCF’s Counselor Education Program on the Mental Health Track with a certificate in Marriage, Couples, and Families. Megan loves being involved in research and supporting all of the teams at the MFRI. Most of all, she enjoys connecting with participants and having the opportunity to make a difference in their lives. In her free time, Megan enjoys cooking, listening to country music, and spending time with friends and family.
Socialize with MFRI