Jacinda K. Dariotis, Director

Jacinda K. Dariotis, Director

What I do at the 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.

The 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 the FRC are… yoga, disco music, crossfit, and non-academic reading and writing.


Nathaniel Underland, Associate Director

Nathaniel Underland

What I do at the the FRC is... keep the center humming while ensuring that all of our work to connect campus and the community is visible and its impact felt.

My skills and interests will benefit the FRC because... I am expert at taking sophisticated scientific ideas and distilling them into plain language. My past professional experience was at a neuroscience research institute, but my academic training is in the humanities. I thrive at that nexus of complexity, curiosity, and creativity.

I am excited to be at the FRC because... the collaborative culture of the center is real! I'm thrilled to be part of a team that's enthusiastic about sharing their work and open to others' strengths and suggestions.

My hobbies and interests outside of the FRC are... running, road-tripping, and resting with my daughters and spouse.


Stephanie Sloane, Senior Research Associate

Stephanie Sloane, Research Specialist

What I do at the 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.

The 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 the 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

Dana Eldreth

What I do at the the FRC is... data management, data analyses, assist with manuscript preparation, and mentor talented graduate and undergraduate students.

My skills and interests will benefit the 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 the 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 the FRC are... spending time with my family and making art with my daughter.


Rachel Jackson-Gordon, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Rachel Jackson-Gordon

What I do at the FRC is… collaborate with researchers/evaluators, practitioners, and community members to conduct mixed methods and community-engaged research that can be useful for communities.

My skills and interests will benefit the FRC because… I care deeply about using my research and evaluation training to work with communities on issues they (those who are most impacted) identify as important. My specific focus on violence prevention program implementation has become relevant as communities grapple with increases in firearm violence and ongoing sexual violence.

I am excited to be at the FRC because… the strategic plan allows us to work across disciplines to address the shared risk and protective factors at the foundation of many problems communities face (like violence). The FRC sits at the intersection of academia and community-level work – my happy place.

My hobbies and interests outside of the FRC are… hiking with my dog (Mozzie) and exploring new places with my partner! I also dabble in the worlds of vegan cheese sauce, swimming, and trying to (one day!) be fluent in Spanish.


The Autism Program (TAP) & Illinois Neurodiversity Initiative (INI)

Jeanne Kramer, Director

Jeanne Kramer

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 at TAP

Adrienne Shockley

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.


Kim Patton, Assistant Director at INI

Kim Patton

What I do at the Illinois Neurodiversity Initiative is… provide academic, social and job-readiness supports to U of I students in the INI program and assist parents of these students. I also work with TAP to provide consultations, resources, and supports to individuals and families in C-U and surrounding areas.

My skills and interests will benefit INI because… I can use my skills and knowledge to support U of I students in the INI program throughout their college journey to reach their employment goals. I have my Ph.D. in Special Education with a research focus on the transition to employment and family involvement in the transition process. As an instructional assistant professor at Illinois State University, I taught many classes focused on the transition to adulthood and helped prepare future special education teachers. 

I am excited to be at INI because… I was a special education teacher in Champaign for ten years and decided to pursue my Ph.D. because I saw how difficult the transition process was for my students and their families when they exited the school system. The opportunity to work at INI is bringing me back to my passion—helping students transition from high school to college and from college to desired employment.

My hobbies and interests outside of INI are… cheering on my children in their various sports and spending time with my friends and family. I also enjoy being outdoors, traveling, and engaging in various arts and craft activities.

Students on Our Team

Hong Li

Hong Li is a PhD student in Human Development and Family Studies. She is excited to be at the Family Resiliency Center because is participating in a Mindfulness Movement project that involves teachers, young children, and their families.

Daniela Markazi

Daniela Markazi is a PhD in Informatics. She is excited to be at the FRC because of its commitment to addressing complex, transdisciplinary challenges. She is eager to play a part in the center’s mission of tackling the intricate, wicked problems.

Yuliana Soto

Yuliana Soto is a fourth year PhD student in Kinesiology and Community Health. She is excited to be at FRC because she will learn how to implement mindfulness programs for preschoolers and will work with teachers and parents in the Champaign-Urbana community.

Patricia Madel

Patricia Madel is an undergraduate student majoring in Intradisciplinary Psychology and Molecular and Cellular Biology. She is excited to be at the Family Resiliency Center because it offers a unique opportunity to contribute to groundbreaking research on family resiliency, helping to make a positive impact on families facing various challenges.

Sufiya Shazia

Sufiya Shazia is a third-year undergraduate student studying Psychology on the Pre-Med track. She is excited to be at FRC this year to help implement our curriculum in schools and further research the meaningful impacts YPAR can have on young students.

Taylor Talbert

Taylor Talbert is a third-year undergraduate student studying Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications. She is excited to be at the FRC because it allows her to see a new perspective of the resources offered here at the university as well as making a positive impact on the community.

Sloane Ward

Sloane Ward is a fourth- year undergraduate student studying Molecular and Cellular Biology. She is excited to continue her work at FRC because she is learning so much about research, how to code data, giving oral presentations, and meeting many great people!



Former FRC Directors

Barbara Fiese, former director of the Family Resiliency Center

Barbara Fiese, 2008 - 2020

Constance Shapiro, former director of the Family Resiliency Center

Constance Shapiro, 2007 - 2008

Laurie Kramer, former director of the Family Resiliency Center

Laurie Kramer, 2002 - 2007


Former FRC Team Members

Brenda Davis Koester, Associate Director

Brenda Davis Koester

Brenda served as the Associate Director of FRC for 16 years.  She was responsible for engaging in research, policy, and outreach efforts of the center to ensure that thriving becomes the norm for everyone

Brenda is the new Associate Director of the Center for Social and Behavioral Science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.


Ye Rang Park, Research Assistant Professor

Dr. Ye Rang Park

Ye Rang was a Research Assistant Professor at the FRC.  She supported transdisciplinary, participatory research at the FRC, building strong partnerships with communities and families through cross-discipline collaboration.

Ye Rang is now a Senior Research and Policy Associate at the Early Childhood Education Institute at The University of Oklahoma - Tulsa.


Jenny Barton, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Jenny Barton, postdoctoral researcher at the Family Resiliency Center

Jenny was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the FRC. She led, collaborated, educated, and disseminated transdisciplinary research on child nutrition and health within the family context.

Jenny is now an Assistant Research Professor in the Center for Childhood Obesity Research (CCOR) at The Pennsylvania State University. She will be working to support the on-going research at CCOR centered on improving child health through early intervention in both home and childcare settings.


Brianna Vargas-Gonzalez, Research Specialist

Brianna Vargas-Gonzalez

Brianna was a Research Specialist at the FRC. She was involved in participant tracking and communication and undergraduate research assistant training and supervising for the STRONG Kids2 Research project. She also helped manage a Mixed Methods Covid Study.

Brianna is now at the Office of the Registrar at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


Diane Davis, Office Support

Office extra-help assistant Diane Davis

Diane served as an office assistant at the FRC.  She is now enjoying her retirement.





 Annie Bruno, Consulting Specialist

Annie Bruno, consulting specialist at The Autism Program

Annie was the consulting specialist at The Autism Program. She worked with individuals, children, and families to provide resources and referrals to get connected to community supports. She facilitated the New Diagnosis Orientation for families to assist in their understanding of autism and how to best support their child. Further, she provided training to community members on autism, facilitate support groups, and work collaboratively with community stakeholders.