October 23, 2019

The TRT Team

The TRT Program leverages the knowledge and skills of many professionals to inform the best research and training. Learn more about our team below.


Dr. Mindy Shoss, TRT Director

Dr. Mindy Shoss is the director of the Targeted Research Training Program as well as an Associate Professor of Psychology in the Industrial-Organizational Psychology doctoral program at the University of Central Florida. Dr. Shoss has led research projects on several topics germane to the TRT program, including projects on precarious work, occupational illnesses and injuries, and workplace aggression. Dr. Shoss’s research has published in top outlets, including Journal of Management, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Journal of Business and Psychology, and Journal of Business Ethics. She is an editor of the Cambridge Handbook of the Changing Nature of Work (2020, Cambridge University Press), and serves on the editorial boards of six leading journals in the fields of organizational behavior, industrial-organizational psychology, management, and occupational health psychology (Journal of Business and Psychology; Journal of Organizational Behavior; Journal of Occupational Health Psychology; Journal of Vocational Behavior; Occupational Health Science; Stress and Health). In recognition of her work, Dr. Shoss was named Honorary Fellow of Australian Catholic University. She is also a fellow of the Global Labor Organization. Dr. Shoss’s research has received funding from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Army Research Institute, the National Science Foundation, and the Society for Human Resource Management Foundation, among others. She has built successful collaborations with colleagues in the fields of hospitality, medicine, medical education, and information systems. Additionally, Dr. Shoss has led and been involved with a variety of health and safety interventions, including in hospitality, hospital, university, and emergency services settings. Dr. Shoss, with assistance from the other core TRT faculty, provides leadership, direction, management, and administration of the program.


Dr. Deborah Breiter-Terry, TRT Deputy Director

Dr. Deborah Breiter Terry is a Professor in the Tourism, Events and Attractions Department at the University of Central Florida’s  Rosen College of Hospitality Management and deputy director of the Targeted Research Training program. She earned her B.A. from Bennington College in politics and economics, her M.P.S. from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, and her Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in Educational Administration for Higher Education.  Dr. Breiter Terry’s research focuses on hospitality and event management, including work on quality management, hotel management practices, and convention management. Her publications have appeared in leading academic journals in hospitality and tourism management including Tourism Management, Event Management, The Journal of Hospitality and Tourism ResearchDr. Breiter was been awarded the Professional Achievement Award for Education by the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) in 2007, the Professional Achievement Award by the Greater Orlando chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) in 2009 and the Stevenson Fletcher Award by the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education in 2005 for her development of convention and conference education.  She has conducted research for the Orange County Convention Center, Kissimmee Convention and Visitors Bureau, PCMA and MPI.  Prior to teaching in higher education, she worked in the hospitality industry for 12 years in positions ranging from wait staff to hotel general manager and she continues to work with.


Dr. Kristin Horan, TRT Core Faculty

Dr. Kristin Horan is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Industrial and Organizational Psychology Program at the University of Central Florida. Dr. Horan coordinates the Workshops provided through the TRT program, including development of content, organization of speakers, promoting attendance, and evaluating impact. Dr. Horan earned her Bachelor of Science in psychology from Georgia College & State University and earned her Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in psychology from Bowling Green State University with a concentration in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. Her research interests relate to interventions that promote employee health, safety, and well-being, stressors and outcomes in high-risk occupations, and the relationship between work and health behaviors. She has mentored approximately 30 graduate students in the practical application of Industrial-Organizational Psychology research through her one-year appointment as the Director of Performance Solutions at the University of Central Florida. Additionally, she served as the graduate research coordinator of a two-year grant funded by the State of Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation that delivered and evaluated a work stress intervention in another high-risk occupation, nurses and nurse aides in long term care settings. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals specializing in workplace health management and behavioral interventions and her work has led to over twenty conference presentations at national conferences.


Dr. Steve Jex, TRT Core Faculty

Dr. Steve Jex is a Professor and the Director of the Ph.D. Program in I/O Psychology at the University of Central Florida. His research is broadly focused on workplace stress, with an emphasis on interpersonal mistreatment and abuse. Dr. Jex has a long history of interdisciplinary collaboration, holding Guest Scientist positions with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Walter Reed Army Institute for Research (WRAIR). He was recently Co-Principal Investigator on a 2-year grant from the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation investigating causes of workplace injuries, assault, and abuse among nursing assistants in long-term care settings. He has also received research funding from NIOSH, and the Army Research Institute. In regard to the TRT program, Dr. Jex is responsible for the advisory board, performing functions such as seeking input from advisory board members, and coordinating advisory committee meetings. 


Dr. Cynthia Mejia, TRT Core Faculty

Dr. Cynthia Mejia is an Associate Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Foodservice and Lodging Management at UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management. Dr. Mejia served as a faculty member in this department since 2013. She received her Ph.D. in Hospitality Administration from Texas Tech University, a Master’s degree in Hospitality Management from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California. In addition to this academic training, Dr. Mejia is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York. Dr. Mejia has over 20 years of industry experience in F&B, and hotel operations management, primarily working for luxury brands both in the U.S. and in Singapore. Her publications and areas of research include: human resource management, cross-cultural organizational management, technology acceptance in hospitality operations, green facilities management, empathy across the services industries, and hospitality education. 

TRT Trainees

Jenna Beltramo

Jenna Beltramo is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Industrial and Organizational Psychology Program at the University of Central Florida. Her current research interests include occupational health, recovery, and employee growth and development.


Katherine Ciarlante

Katherine Ciarlante is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Industrial and Organizational Psychology Program at the University of Central Florida. Her current research interests include counterproductive work behaviors, stress, and mistreatment.


Amanda Grinley

Amanda Grinley is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Industrial and Organizational Psychology Program at the University of Central Florida. Her current research interests include job stress, occupational health, and counterproductive work behaviors.


Summer TRT Trainees

Image previewMichael DiStaso

Michael DiStaso is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Industrial and Organizational Psychology Program at the University of Central Florida. He is interesting in studying both experienced stressful events and the simulation and prediction of future stressful events.


Justin Lee

Justin Lee is a first-year Masters student in the Industrial and Organizational Psychology program at the University of Central Florida. His current research interests include sleep, human factors, interventions, training, teams, and selection/recruitment.


Rebecca Pittman

Rebecca Pittman is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Industrial and Organizational Psychology Program at the University of Central Florida. Her current research interests include job stress among employees in stigmatized and hazardous occupations.


Moses Rivera

Moses Rivera is a first-year Ph.D. student in Industrial-Organizational Psychology at the University of Central Florida. His research interests include leveraging data science (particularly machine-learning) to study teams and performance, and helping people thrive at work and in life.



Advisory Board Partners 

Our research and intervention efforts are guided by advisory board partners that represent university researchers, government researchers, hospitality human resources professionals, and union representation.


For more questions about the Sunshine Education and Research Center and the Targeted Research Training Program, please contact Dr. Mindy Shoss at targetedresearch@ucf.edu.