Mark Setton, D.Phil., is the co-founder and CEO of Pursuit of Happiness. He has studied and published works on East Asian philosophy and well-being for the past 30 years. He earned his B.A. and M.A. at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, and his doctorate at Oxford University. He has taught at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, the University of California at Berkeley, Oxford University, and presently, the University of Bridgeport. Mark and his team design and teach educational programs on the science and implementation of well-being for secondary schools, universities, and corporations such as Google, Mediamax, the China Accelerator, Dartmouth College, etc. He is especially interested in recent scientific discoveries on well-being, as well as the remarkable resonance between modern science and ancient wisdom.
Paul Desan, MD, Ph.D., is the co-founder of Pursuit of Happiness and the Director of the Psychiatric Consultation Service for Yale New Haven Hospital. He obtained an A.B. in psychology at Princeton University, a Ph.D. in neurobiology at Harvard Medical School and an M.D. at Yale University School of Medicine. His present research interests include mood disorders, particularly Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D., and how S.A.D. can be used as a model to measure the interaction of psychological factors such as stress and cognitive style, and biological factors including seasonal cues. One focus of interest is the question of how a resilient individual can regulate mood and maintain life satisfaction in medical illness and existential loss.
Marie Cooke PhD is COO of Pursuit of Happiness. She was previously the Further Education Programme Director at the Maryvale Institute, England, supporting hundreds of distance-learning, adult students from all over the world each year, studying theology and catechetics. She previously obtained a BA Div (Hons) and research MTh from Maynooth in Ireland, before completing a doctorate at the University of Glasgow. Marie successfully initiated and led a peer wellbeing support programme for University of Strathclyde students which utilised POH training and contributed to research. Born in Dumbarton, Scotland, Marie has lived and worked in ten cities from Berlin to Inverness. With decades of experience in youth work, chaplaincy and project management, Marie is currently the Ministry Development Staff Support Officer for the Church of Scotland in Glasgow Presbytery.
Tony Arciero, Ph.D. is Director of Research. He teaches educational psychology and human development at George Mason University. His research area of interest is life purpose as an asset for adolescents and emerging adults as they face challenging life transitions. He previously obtained a BS in occupational education and an MS in higher education.
Görkem Gençer, MSc, is the Digital Operations Coordinator of Pursuit of Happiness. During his master study in Stockholm School of Economics, he began to question the societal benefits and drawbacks of automation throughout history. Then, he worked as a Senior Industry Analyst at AIMultiple and authored over 100 essays on various aspects of the digital transformation and its impact on humans. His experience showed how out of control depression and anxiety problems have become worldwide, and how critical it is for people to develop habits that increase their happiness. Görkem now manages Pursuit of Happiness's digital initiatives and helps organization to reach a wider audience.
Laura Dallman, PhD, is a presenter, program organizer, and researcher who specializes in the powerful effects of care and social emotional interaction on human development, learning, and overall well-being. Her work and scholarship span multiple contexts and age ranges. She provides professional development to educators (K-University) about care in the classroom and its transformative effects on student development and learning. She has also developed programs, organized groups, and written essays to promote understanding and appreciation for the constitutive effects of caring connection. Her research and scholarship projects include a study of teacher emotional and cultural intelligences on classroom climate, an exploration of the relationship between emotional and self-regulation, and an analysis of the effects of participation in facilitated women's discussion groups and the content they generate. Laura serves as an adjunct professor at George Mason University's College of Education and Human Development. She was previously an elementary school teacher in American Public Schools, as well as, at international schools in Russia, Belgium, Haiti, and Georgia. She has her PhD from George Mason University, an MDiv from Yale University, and a BA from Augustana College, IL. She and her husband have four wonderful adult children.
Susan Katz, MSc, is the Creative Director of Pursuit of Happiness. She is a seasoned writer, producer, director, and creative leader with 25+ years of experience in serving Fortune 500 companies, marketing agencies, political campaigns, and more. She founded Katzing Creative Ways in 1985, specializing in full-service media production. Susan also has an impressive academic background, having chaired and taught at the University of Bridgeport and contributed to the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University. Her qualifications include a B.A. in Television/Radio from Brooklyn College, a Certificate in Filmmaking from NYU, and an M.S. in eMedia/New Media from Quinnipiac University. Notably, she has been recognized with numerous industry awards, including the Pollie Awards, Reed Awards, Telly Awards, and more. She has also served on the boards of the International Television Association and the Connecticut Association of Production Professionals.
William Chasseaud is the Senior Editor of PoH and a professional copy editor and proofreader. With a background in the study of art and English and American literature, he served an apprenticeship in graphic design in London, UK. He gained a qualification in magazine editorial (distinction) from the London School of Publishing and Public Relations and has designed and edited illustrated publications throughout his career. He has volunteered for nonprofit organizations dedicated to the homeless, as well as an over-fifties forum. In 2018 he published a volume of poetry, and is now preparing his own illustrated book on the poems and places of W B Yeats. His areas of interest include philosophy, psychology and religion, as well as verse drama, ancient civilisations and the arts and cultures of different societies. He joined the PoH team in 2012
Saira Qureshi, MA, LMHC, is a licensed mental health counseling clinician in RI. She has taught psychology, child development and education courses at community colleges and universities in North East and New England. She also has online teaching experience.
She holds a master’s degree in applied education psychology from NYU. She completed a post-graduate advanced counseling program and clinical internship in Rhode Island. In the past, she worked with a grant funded research project team at The Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University. Her research interests include: positive psychology correlates, life-span, character, and personality development, multicultural and gender studies topics, mindfulness, mind stimulation therapy techniques, creativity, intelligence andeffective teaching and learning, ecological psychology (psychological effects of minimalist and nature living and emotional wellbeing, spiritual health as a function of positive relationship with and caring for animal species), neuro-cognitive developmental disorders, evolutionary biology, psych therapeutic interventions for dual diagnosis /substance use disorders, and integrative health. She has been working with Pursuit of Happiness team since 2014.
After retiring from teaching high school psychology for 33 years, Debra Park, M.A., “graduated” back to college and taught undergraduate courses at Rutgers University, Camden NJ. As a Part-Time- Lecturer in both the Psychology department and the Institute for Effective Education/Teacher Prep, she taught Introduction to Psychology, Human Development, Psychology of Happiness and Well –Being and Behavior Management to both traditional and non-traditional students. Debra was past-chair of the Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools, a committee of the American Psychological Association and served on the Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education and APA’s National Standards Working Group, revising the high school standards for psychology. She served on APA’s Membership Board from 2009 – 2012 and was Division 2, Society for Teaching Psychology Membership Board Chair 2012- 2015. Debra was a consultant and instructor for Pursuit of Happiness and worked with psychology teachers through her participation in many conferences and professional development venues. Sadly, she died in 2023. Over the years, thanks to a big heart and agile mind, she often went the extra mile to guide us in the completion of many critical projects and thus contributed an enormous amount to the success of PoH. She is greatly missed.