Tiffany Cardona

I am a Marriage and Family Therapy master’s student at Mercy University. I am a New York native! Growing up as a second-generation Puerto Rican in East Harlem, I was surrounded by big love and lots of family. Everything was filled with passion! It can be challenging to feel centered and calm when growing up in such an energetic city, and family. My upbringing has inspired a life-long journey of self-differentiation, self-regulation, and calming my nervous system. However, I have a deeply rooted sense of wonder and adventure. I identify with a wild horse. For me, a wild horse represents beauty, freedom, endurance, and independence. These are qualities I deeply value and try to cultivate for myself.

My passion is to bring therapeutic services to my community and help destigmatize the negative perception of mental health struggles.

I have an adult daughter and a young, neurodivergent son. I connect with them through different forms of play. My daughter and I enjoy bonding over karaoke and trivia. My son and I connect through all sorts of play, including Roblox and pretending to be dinosaurs! Play can be used to relax and unwind, but I find the most powerful form of play is when it is used to connect and heal.

Rebeca Brau Martinez

I am a graduate student in the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Mercy University. As a Mexican American immigrant fluid cisgender woman, I know how chaotic it can be to find our own voice in the cacophony of conflicting messages about who we are and where we belong. Power and oppression touches some more than others, and my dream is to empower folks who have been oppressed to experience the ecstatic joy of living authentically, connected, and with purpose. 

I know that universal wisdom is always available in our bodies and around us, and I believe that play and openness are a great route to find it. I like to play by daydreaming of a magic reality where the cosmos and humans communicate constantly through intuition and our sensory intelligence. In my fantasy, all time is here and now, and we all have dormant superpowers hiding beneath the surface of our skin. This game becomes ever more fun when I see my dreams playing out in real life! 

If I was an animal, I would be the mystical phoenix, rising to the heights and reborn into a whole new me on each cosmic cycle.


Beverly Jensen 

I am a Marriage and Family Therapy master’s student at Mercy University. 


Monica Martinez

I am student of Psychology at Mercy College. 


Roua Eltayeib

I am a first-year Marriage & Family Therapy Master’s student at Mercy College. My dream is to open my Sudanese community to not only have more open conversations around mental health but to seek therapy as a normal option in their lives without there being a stigma or community backlash. I also aim to further open lines of communication between Muslim and non-Muslim therapists to better aid Muslim clientele.

If I were an animal I would be a kangaroo. I see them as a representation of strength, intelligence, and balance. If you’ve seen kangaroos fight, they have incredible power in their legs, intelligence in the way they protect their face from harm, and incredible balance in their tails which they use to keep upright. I’ve always found it fascinating the way all these qualities come together in the way they move. When I look at my future and where I want to go, I want to have these same qualities as I move through life in my personal and professional worlds.

I think play in life is talking about the simple joys with friends as we walk through/around nature. It isn’t those simple joys themselves that feel like play, but how the conversations about them naturally relax us, whether we’re talking about the beauties of walking through a park surrounded by city buildings in the distance or looking out at the water and wondering what animals are right below the surface observing an entirely different world. I think the appreciation and conversations of the really simple, almost invisible to our busy NY lives, can be a form of play.

Projects: Inclusion, PlayLab Website


Somer Saleh

I am currently working on my masters in Marriage & Family Therapy. My dream/goal is to learn and gain more experience in this field, build clientele, and hopefully bridge the gap between Muslims and the idea of what it means to go to therapy. I love reading, writing, and listening to poetry.

If I were an animal, I think I would be a hummingbird. Hummingbirds are known for being fast, and adaptable and I feel that it relates to my personality. I am a quick learner and adapt very well to different situations.

I view play as something that comes naturally from within. Play for me is everywhere, it comes out when I am conversing with friends, working with clients, and helping my students during my day job. Play for me is apart of my personality, and if I were to define it to you right now, then you would feel as if it does not pertain to you. So that is all I can give on how I play in life.

Projects: Inclusion, Pedagogical Inquiry

Jamie E. Olivieri

Jamie E. Olivieri is a graduate student in Mercy College’s Marriage and Family Therapy program. Currently, she is a clinical intern at the Center for Safety and Change, which offers domestic violence and sexual assault services to survivors. In the future, Jamie hopes to work with those experiencing family building challenges, specializing in birth trauma, PMAD, and perinatal grief and loss.

Although the topics that have called to her are heavier ones, Jamie holds onto a spark of mischief and whimsy. As a child, believing her home was the sea, she held her breath underwater hoping to transform into a mermaid. These days, she is accepting of her land-animal status while spending as much time as possible in, on, or around water and welcoming the everyday magic in whatever form it comes.

Projects: Lab, Pedagogical Inquiry

  • PlayLab Maintenace

Amos Wolff

Amos Wolff is currently in a second-year Masters candidate for Marriage and Family Therapy at Mercy College. He is a clinical intern at The Institute for Human Identity, in Manhattan, which has been providing LGBTQ+ affirmative care for over 40 years. Having spent most of his life as a professional actor, Amos completed his 200-hour Yoga Teaching Certification in 2014 in order to further explore the connection between the body, mind, and spirit. He hopes to continue to advocate for members of the LGBTQ+ community, and combine his passion for storytelling, movement, and mental health in his own private practice. He lives with his husband John, and his dog, HattieMae in Washington Heights, NY where they all look for opportunities to take life a little less seriously and to practice a bit more “irreverence.”

Projects: Pedagogical Inquiry

  • How to Be Human in Therapy Pedagogical Study