We Are Family!
Jacinda K. Dariotis, Director
What I do at FRC is... work with amazing people intersecting across diverse research, community, service, outreach, and teaching interests and expertise to envision AND make thriving the norm. How? By co-researching, co-learning, co-teaching … collaborating in as many ways as possible.
I am skilled in... asking challenging questions and thinking outside the box. I study risk-taking decision-making (or the lack thereof) from biosocial perspectives and explore how different practices (e.g., mindfulness and mindful movement) facilitate alignment of intentions with behaviors.
FRC is family because… we are putting the PH into PHamily (PH = public health). 😊 Being a team means stepping up, supporting each other, and doing what is needed to make progress toward the mission and vision (yes, that includes collecting saliva, fecal samples, stories, statistics, and so much more). FRC is a community of members committed to optimizing the lived experience, with and by others .
My hobbies and interests outside of FRC are… yoga, disco music, crossfit, and non-academic reading and writing.
Brenda Davis Koester, Associate Director
What I do at FRC is... support and engage in research, policy, and outreach efforts of the center that will help ensure that thriving becomes the norm for everyone.
I am skilled in... co-designing and conducting transdisciplinary mixed-methods research that addresses complex public health challenges; research translation and dissemination; and working with participants and communities to co-develop communication materials..
FRC is family because… everyone is willing to pitch in and help each other.
My hobbies and interests outside of FRC are… working in my garden, cooking for family and friends, needlepointing, and traveling the world (my favorite destinations are the ones where my adult children live).
Ye Rang Park, Research Assistant Professor
What I do at FRC is... I work as a research assistant professor to support the transdisciplinary, participatory research at the Family Resiliency Center, building strong partnerships with communities and families through cross-discipline collaboration.
My skills and interests as a researcher and scholar are... My overarching research goal is to promote positive child development through supporting protective family processes using a strength-based approach. To achieve this goal, I have worked on numerous community-based, family-focused preventive interventions that can meet the needs of socioeconomically and racially/ethnically diverse families, with interdisciplinary teams of researchers such as economists, health scientists, and psychologists. I especially value co-creating adaptive interventions with communities and families that can lead to sustainable change.
My impressions of the Champaign-Urbana community and surrounding area are... Coming from a similar college town where I went to graduate school in Madison, Wisconsin, I appreciate close-knit communities such as Champaign-Urbana, where members of the community help each other and work together to build their own community. I also like that compared to bigger cities, there are more local organizations and businesses in the community that can foster a strong sense of belonging.
My interests and hobbies outside of FRC are... I enjoy spending time outdoors, doing activities such as hiking, being at the beach, fishing, and having picnics. I love exploring local coffee shops and new restaurants, so I'm very much looking forward to exploring the food scene in Champaign!
Stephanie Sloane, Senior Research Associate
What I do at FRC is... all things qualitative. I conduct interviews, develop coding manuals, manage data, code data, write manuscripts, write reports, work with undergrads and train others on qualitative software and methods. I work on many different projects at the center and can find interest and excitement in almost any topic. I love what we do at FRC because it has a positive impact on the real world.
I am skilled in... interpersonal communication, creating order out of chaos, multitasking, philosophizing, toddler wrangling, and laundry.
FRC is family because... I’ve been working here since 2012. I started as a grad student and never left! It was love at first Ecocultural Family Interview 😊
My hobbies and interests outside of FRC are… being a stellar dance mom to two daughters who dance competitively and one that just knows how to move and groove. I can’t do the splits, but I can do a mean ballet bun. I love sushi, scones, Sauvignon Blanc, and good conversation. In my “free time," I assist my husband on photography shoots and occasionally clean my house.
Dana Eldreth, Senior Research Associate
What I do at FRC is... data management, data analyses, assist with manuscript preparation, and mentor talented graduate and undergraduate students.
My skills and interests will benefit FRC because... I can provide a neurocognitive and emotional-regulation perspective on understanding risk behaviors and decision-making throughout the life course. I also have extensive experience in project management for multiple intervention studies in children and older adults who are at risk for adverse behavioral and health outcomes.
I am excited to be at FRC because... of the opportunity to work with a talented team of investigators and students who are dedicated to improving resiliency in children and promoting public health.
My hobbies and interests outside of FRC are... spending time with my family and making art with my 4-year-old daughter.
Jenny Barton, Postdoctoral Research Associate
What I do at FRC is… lead, collaborate, educate, and disseminate transdisciplinary research on child nutrition and health within the family context.
I am skilled in… developing and implementing research protocols working with parents of young children, quantitative data analysis, advanced research methods, and scientific presentation design.
FRC is family because… we all support and assist each other in our research, education, and outreach endeavors.
My hobbies and interests outside of FRC are… cooking and baking, crafting and DIY projects, watching interior design and renovation shows, hiking, and spending time with my partner and our fur children.
Brianna Vargas-Gonzalez, Research Specialist
What I do at FRC is... support the execution of innovative research projects. I lead participant tracking and communication and undergraduate research assistant training and supervising for the STRONG Kids2 Research project.
I am skilled in... implementing research protocols for data collection and participant communication by adjusting instructions and language as needs arise. I strive to nurture and expand the curiosity and knowledge of our undergraduate research assistants to promote learning and understanding.
FRC is family because… we understand that listening and learning from each other is the key to productive communication. We share our work and ideas to promote collaboration and curiosity about our research, and the research to come.
My hobbies and interests outside of FRC are… playing hide and seek with my cat, watching movies, trying new recipes, and reading and writing.
Isabel Wojcik, Undergraduate Research Assistant
What I do at FRC is... I work as an undergraduate research assistant with Drs. Jenny Barton, Jacinda Dariotis, and Ye Rang Park. I help with all things qualitative such as article research and the review on the mindful eating project with Dr. Barton. I also recruit participants and work on the mindfulness study as well as with the COVID-19 study within the STRONG Kids Program, working with Dr. Dariotis and Professor Park.
My skills and interests as a researcher and scholar are... to expand my experience in research, outreach ability, and education, especially regarding mindfulness intervention programs toward individuals with obesity.
What I'm most looking forward to by assisting FRC is... learning more about nutrition, research protocols, and quantitative analysis. Additionally, I am looking forward to providing helpful and effective work for the center while continuing the promotion of the collaborative environment and curiosity for research.
My interests and hobbies are... running, cooking, trying new recipes, trying new restaurants, and traveling.
Sal Nudo, Communications Specialist
What I do at FRC is... assist with the development and execution of research translation and dissemination of FRC-based research projects. Coordinate the development of printed, electronic, and Web-based communication to promote the work of the center.
I am skilled in... online content development, newsletter writing, podcasting, social media dissemination.
FRC is family because… we don't believe in hierarchy and work together as a team every day.
My hobbies and interests outside of FRC are… reading, writing, and spending time with family and friends.
Diane Davis, Office Support
What I like about working at FRC and the University of Illinois is... the work that is done here is helping to improve people's lives in this community.
I am skilled in... Assisting the needs of the team at FRC with administrative duties.
My hobbies and interests outside of FRC are... being with family, reading, listening to music, cooking, and I love to travel.
The Autism Program (TAP)
Jeanne Kramer, Director
What I do at The Autism Program at Christopher Hall is... I am the director of The Autism Program (TAP) at the University of Illinois and an assistant teaching professor in the college of HDFS. TAP has a fully staffed and operational resource room here in the Family Resiliency Center that connects children and family with autism supports throughout the community. I also interface with Illinois students to teach courses on autism, supervise clinical experiences, and support university students on the autism spectrum through our new program, the Illinois Neurodiversity Initiative (I-N-I).
I am skilled in... teaching! Trained as a doctor of speech language pathology, I have expertise in the support and remediation of executive function difficulties. This expertise allows me to be effective teaching individuals, families, students, or classrooms about issues of neurodiversity.
TAP is family because… we come alongside families of all types to learn, grow, and support the development of each individual. Within this organization, we have each other's backs; we celebrate one another's victories and work hard to help one another be the best they can be.
My hobbies and interests outside of TAP are… my husband and four adult children, who are the main priority in my life! I love flowers, cooking, and singing in my church choir. But most of all, I love to love people.
Adrienne Shockley, Assistant Director and Instructor
What I do at The Autism Program at Christopher Hall is… I am the assistant director of The Autism Program (TAP) and an instructor of autism and neurodiversity in the Department of Human Development & Family Services. I oversee TAP’s Resource Room and student interns who help staff it. I also provide community support and training on autism and neurodiversity, primarily in early childhood settings.
I am skilled in… coaching and modeling best practices for helping children with autism spectrum conditions. I have training in early childhood special education as well as in PLAY (Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters). I worked as a teacher at Head Start for several years. Later, I worked in early intervention, providing evaluations and developmental therapy services. I was also the director of the Child Development Center at Parkland College. I have a brother on the spectrum, so I have worked with autism in multiple settings — parents, teachers, administrators, and providers from all over Champaign County. I love collaborating with other agencies to help support communities’ needs.
TAP is family because… you can turn to TAP when you need support. Each “family member” brings a unique background and perspective. We work together to not only support each other but to support the community.
My hobbies and interests outside of TAP are… I enjoy being outdoors, preferably surrounded by trees and/or water. I love to camp, hike, kayak, fish, and swim. I’m also a sucker for a good game night: board games, video games, card games, especially Euchre! I also enjoy cooking for friends and family with my husband and spending time watching my daughter learn and grow.
Linda Tortorelli, Resource Specialist
Anne Pollard Hall, Resource Specialist