Psychologists

Annie Ahn, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Annie Ahn, Ph.D.
Annie Ahn, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Counseling Psychology, UC Santa Barbara

Bio

Hello and welcome to the Counseling Center! College can be an exciting time personally, academically, socially and spiritually. I feel fortunate to be part of students’ journey of self-discovery and growth. I am passionate about assisting students overcome challenges and attain lifelong skills. Working at three UC counseling centers and being UC undergraduate and graduate alumni, I am familiar with the quick pace of the quarter system and invested in helping students lead a balanced life that fits their values and priorities. I have special interests in multicultural counseling, Asian American mental health, child-parent intergenerational conflict, identity, intimate relationships, trauma and resilience, family concerns, anxiety, depression, and mindfulness. 

Publications

  • Kim, B. S. K., Ahn, A. J., Lam, A. N. (2009). Theories and Research on acculturation and enculturation experiences among Asian American families. In N. T. Trinh, Y. C. Rho, F. G. Lu, & K. M. Sanders (Eds.), Handbook of mental health in Asian American families (pp. 25-43). New York: Humana Press.
  • Kim, B. S. K., Ng, G. F., & Ahn, A. J. (2009). Client adherence to Asian cultural values, common factors in counseling, and session outcome with Asian American clients at a university counseling center. Journal of Counseling and Development, 87, 131-142.
  • Ahn, A. J. (2008). Bridging Intergenerational Gaps among Korean American Families. Germany: VDM Verlag.
  • Ahn, A. J., Kim, B. S. K., & Park, Y. S. (2008). Asian cultural values gap, cognitive flexibility, coping strategies, and parent-child conflicts among Korean Americans. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 14, 353-363.
  • Kim, B. S. K., Ng, G. F., & Ahn, A. J. (2005). Effects of client expectation for counseling success, client-counselor worldview match, and client adherence to Asian and European American cultural values on counseling process with Asian Americans. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52, 67-76.

Anushree Belur, Psy.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Anushree Belur, Psy.D.
Anushree Belur, Psy.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Clinical Psychology, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles

Hello! I am glad to be part of the UCI community and serve the needs of students in my role as a psychologist at the Counseling Center. Therapy is a journey of self-discovery and self-improvement. I approach my role as a therapist with the goal of supporting you in this journey by creating a safe place for you to process your thoughts and emotions, and to help you explore and develop coping skills to change unhelpful patterns of behaviors. I have primarily worked with adults who have experienced anxiety, depression, academic concerns, relationship issues, trauma, and grief and loss. Additionally, I enjoy working with students exploring their identity from an intersectional and multicultural perspective. I integrate humanistic and cognitive behavior therapy approaches along with mindfulness practices, as mindfulness has been shown to be effective in reducing stress and depressive symptoms. I strongly believe that individuals are experts on themselves, and therefore, focus on tailoring therapy to meet my clients’ needs.

Liaison:  UCI Care Office

Publications and Presentations:

  • Balice G., Aquino S., Baer S., Behar, M., Belur, A., et al. (2019). A review of barriers to treating domestic violence for Middle Eastern women living in the United States. Psychology and Cognitive Sciences, 5(1), 30-36. doi: 10.17140/PCSOJ-5-146
  • Balice, G., Behar, M., Abughazaleh, T., Scheneman, K.A., Belur, A., & Baer, S. (September, 2018). Infidelity: A predictor of domestic violence. Poster Presented at Annual Summit International on Violence, Abuse & Trauma Across the Lifespan (IVAT) 2018, San Diego, CA. 
  • Belur, A., Balice, G., Aquino, S., Baer, S., Flitter, J., & Scheneman, K. (2018, July). #MeToo: Now what? Exploring the factors and impact of self-disclosure of sexual assault in a public domain. Poster presented the Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies & Counselling Conference 2018, Vienna, Austria. 

 

Cynthia R. Canul, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Cynthia R. Canul, Ph.D.
Cynthia R. Canul, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Counseling Psychologist, Washing State University

Bio

Hello and welcome to the UCI Counseling Center! I am a bilingual/bicultural licensed clinical psychologist and have worked with children, adults, and college students in community mental health and counseling center settings. I specialize in working with clients who have experienced various forms of trauma, PTSD, anger management, domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and couples counseling. Stop by and visit the Counseling Center and make an appointment. It always helps to speak to someone who will understand your adjustment on campus and/or struggles in your personal life related to family or other relationships. I try to create a place of warmth, acceptance and support where students can share and feel safe. I believe counseling should help you create your own personal empowerment and emotional wellness. I would like to learn more about you and how your experiences have made you the person you are today.

Recognition: Latina Business Woman of The Year –Recognized by the County of Orange, City of La Habra, and the Senate for the strong commitment to the Latina/o community.

 

Christine Catipon, Psy.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Christine Catipon, Psy.D.
Christine Catipon, Psy.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Clinical Psychology, American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University

Bio

Hello and welcome to the UCI Counseling Center! As a proud UCI alum, I am thrilled to be a part of the Counseling Center team and support my Anteater community to the best of my ability. I believe that personal growth and healing can be made possible through a supportive and trusting therapeutic relationship and in a safe and non-judgmental environment, so it is my intention to provide this for those whom I have the privilege to support. I work from a client-centered perspective that informs my integration of cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, and strength-focused interventions to meet the unique needs of each individual, and my identity as a Filipinx-American infuses a multicultural perspective into all that I do. My goal as a therapist is to help clients develop a solid sense of self, which will enable them to openly connect with themselves and others from a place of authenticity, confidence, and self-respect. My professional areas of interest include depression and anxiety, LGBTQ+ issues, diversity and intersectionality, AANHPI cultural concerns, mindfulness, self-esteem, spirituality and adjusting to life transitions. In my free time I love to sing, play the piano, watch movies, and spend time with my family, friends and beloved dog. I look forward to working with you!

Liaison: LGBT Rescource Center

Diana Chan, Psy.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Diana Chan, Psy.D.
Diana Chan, Psy.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Clinical Psychology, California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles

Bio

When working with a student, my goal is to understand how that student’s unique life experiences and past relationships have influenced the student’s overall sense of well being. My clinical interests include depression, trauma, relationships, self-esteem, identity, family or intergenerational conflict, Asian American mental health, multiculturalism, and the assessment of learning disabilities. I am bilingual in Mandarin Chinese/English, and enjoy working with students from diverse background.

Liaison: UCI Law School and Disability Services Center 

Nicole Chow, Psy.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Nicole Chow, Psy.D.
Nicole Chow, Psy.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Clinical Psychology, The Wright Institute

Hello and welcome to the Counseling Center!  I am incredibly excited to be working at UCI and with you all. I work from an integrated approach that is both collaborative and supportive.  College is an exciting time where students get to explore not only their academic interests, but personal and career interests as well.  I strive to create a warm and safe environment for my students as they strive towards their personal and academic goals.  I believe that each individual has their own unique story and experience, and as such, tailor each treatment to the individual based on their needs.  My clinical areas of interest include depression, anxiety, identity development, trauma, relationship concerns and Asian American mental health.  I look forward to meeting you!

Liaison: Student Success Initiatives 

Chun-Chung Choi, Ph.D. Director of Training/ Associate Director

Chun-Chung Choi, Ph.D.
Chun-Chung Choi, Ph.D.
Director of Training/ Associate Director

Counseling Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Bio

Welcome! It’s a privilege and honor to be part of your journey at UCI! Having been a first generation college student, an international student, and an immigrant, I have been exposed to the feelings of being uprooted and lost sense of belonging. While college and graduate school experiences are exciting and fulfilling, it can also be challenging and daunting. My work then is to provide a safe space for students to share their unique experiences, enhance self-awareness, and to build supportive resources and strengths from within while allowing the recognition and action taking of the impacts from the cultural and systemic level. Collaboratively, I work with individuals with a variety of challenges including but not limited to academic, relationships, cross-cultural, international, trauma, and various mental health issues. I am fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, Taiwanese, and English. I look forward to working with you!

 

Publications: 

Suh, H., Rice, K. G., Choi, C.-C., van Nuenen, M., Zhang, Y. M., Morero, Y., & Anderson, D. (2016). Measuring acculturative stress with the SAFE: Evidence for longitudinal measurement invariance and associations with life satisfaction. Personality and Individual Differences. 89, 217-222.

Rice, K., Choi, C.-C., Zhang, Y., Morero, Y., & Anderson, D. (2012). Perfectionism, Acculturative Stress, and Depression Among International Students. The Counseling Psychologist. 40, 575-600.
 
Oh, E., Choi, C.-C., Neville, H. A., Anderson, C. J., & Landrum-Brown, J. (2010). Beliefs about Affirmative Action Attitudes: A Test of the Group-Interest and Racial Beliefs Models. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. 3, 163-176.
 
Rice, K., Choi, C.-C., Zhang, Y., Villegas, J., Ye, H., Anderson, D., Nesic, A, & Bigler, M. (2009). International student perspectives on graduate advising relationships. Journal of Counseling Psychology. 3, 376–391.
 
Nesic, A., Choi, C.-C., & Anderson, D. (2009). Social connections for international students and spouses. In Evans, N., & Andrade, M. (Eds.), International students strengthening a critical resource (pp. 199-207). American Council on Education/Rowman & Littlefield.
 
Parker, M. & Choi, C.-C. (2009). Empathy training for ethnic and cultural awareness (ETECA). ​Tampa, FL: Microtraining Associates.
 
Choi, C.-C. & Lin, J.-c. G. (2008). Assimilation. In Leong, F. T. L. (Editor-in-Chief), Constantine, M. G., & Worthington, R. (Volume Editors), Encyclopedia of counseling: Volume 3. Cross-cultural counseling (pp. 1001-1004). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
 
Wann, D. L., Metcalf, L. A., Adcock, M. L., Choi, C.-C., Dallas, M. B., & Slaton, E. (1997). Language of sport fans: Sportugese revisited. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 85, 1107-1110.

 

Yuri Choi, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Yuri Choi, Ph.D.
Yuri Choi, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Counseling Psychology, Ball State University

Bio

Hello and welcome to UCI Counseling Center! I have had the honor of working with college students at several university counseling centers and community clinics across the U.S. as well as South Korea, and I am so excited about having the opportunities to be part of your journey at UCI. In psychotherapy, I use an integrative approach, combining client-centered, cognitive-behavioral, and interpersonal theories, within a multicultural framework. My professional interests include multiculturalism/social justice, acculturation, adjustment difficulties, identity development, eating disorders/body image concerns, training/supervision, group therapy, outreach programming, anxiety, trauma, depression, and career concerns. I very much enjoy working with international students, students of color, LGBTQ students, graduate students, and first generation students. In addition, I can offer clinical and outreach services in both English and Korean languages. For my self-care, I enjoy traveling, knitting, practicing yoga, painting my nails, watching movies, going to art museums, taking walks, and being connected with my family and friends.

 

Liaison: Graduate Division

 

Publications and Presenations 

Pillow, M., Bauer, C., Choi, Y., and Tallent, C. (2019, May). Creating and Maintaining Eating Disorders Treatment Resources on Campus: Navigating Challenges and Tips for Success, Panel Discussion at the Chicago Area College and University Eating and Related Disorders Symposium, Chicago, IL.

Bellare, Y., Michael, R., Gerstein, L. H., Cinamon, R. G., Hutchison, A., Kim, T., & Choi, Y. (2018). Future perceptions of U.S. and Israeli young male adults, Journal of Career Development https://doi.org/10.1177/0894845318763956

Sahai, N., Choi, Y., Hu, T., & Li, F. (2018, September). Considerations for working with international students in the current political climate, Workshop presentation at the 25th Annual Dennis H. May Conference on Diversity Issues and the Role of Counseling Centers, Champaign, IL.

Frances Diaz, Psy.D Director

Frances Diaz, Psy.D
Frances Diaz, Psy.D
Director

Clinical Psychology, Pepperdine University

Bio

Hello and Welcome to the Counseling Center! As a licensed bilingual psychologist I have had the opportunity to work with people from all walks of life through a number of settings. As an alumnus of UCI, I feel honored to return and have the opportunity to work with the diverse student population of this university. While I enjoy working with individuals facing a variety of challenges, my special interests are in addressing personal development, impact of family on academic achievement, first-generation college students, acculturation, international students, issues of adjustment, and Latino mental health. I recognize that higher education, whether it is undergraduate or graduate school, can be a difficult yet rewarding time in your life. Know that there are resources available to help you reach your full potential and goals. I look forward to meeting you!

Jessica Eldridge, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Jessica Eldridge, Ph.D.
Jessica Eldridge, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Clinical Psychology, California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles at Alliant International University

Bio

Hello and welcome to the UCI Counseling Center!   In my work with students, I believe that the therapeutic alliance that develops between the client and the therapist is very important. I put effort and energy into developing a relationship that is caring, trusting, and collaborative. In this way, I think the best work can be done and you can get the most out of your therapy experience.  I enjoy working with a variety of concerns, and my areas of special interest include multiculturalism, identity and interpersonal relationship concerns, the incorporation of art into therapy and self-care, managing stress, anxiety, and depression, LGBTQ issues, and adjustment to transitions and new circumstances. I look forward to meeting you!

Liaison: Interactive Screening Program Coordinator 

Jonathan Flojo, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Jonathan Flojo, Ph.D.
Jonathan Flojo, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Counseling Psychology, University of Oregon

Bio

I want to help us live with purpose and meaning. Students and I focus on developing understanding, acquiring pragmatic skills, and experiencing compassion. My work centers on the intersection of connection and belonging. I build spaces where we can live authentically in community. In those places, we reinvent our family’s cultural traditions for our evolving world. My interests include educational equity, career and talent development, supervision, mentoring, contemplative spirituality, mindfulness, first generation college students, the LGBTQIA+ experience, and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. I have experience teaching in a variety of settings from early intervention to graduate level and I have a background in large-scale implementation and policy research and evaluation. Outside UC Irvine, I am an indoor kid that spends time in mountains, forest, deserts, and tide pools.

Liaison: Middle Earth Residence Hall 

Meladee Garst, Ph.D. Director of Student Educational Programming and Outreach/ Assistant Director

Meladee Garst, Ph.D.
Meladee Garst, Ph.D.
Director of Student Educational Programming and Outreach/ Assistant Director

Welcome to the UCI Counseling Center! Working with the college student population has been my passion since graduate school. I have had the pleasure of working at several college counseling centers all over the United States, recently coming from Kansas! I am proud and excited to be in Califorinia and join the UCI Anteater family. My goal as a psychologist is to help clients reach their academic, social, and emotional goals by providing support, advocacy, coaching, and therapy. I find it very important to have a strong therapeutic alliance in working with clients and provide a space where they can feel safe and comfortable in exploring their presenting concerns. I enjoy working with a variety of presenting concerns but have areas of emphasis in working with LGBTQ identifed students, first-generation college students, students from diverse or marginalized backgrounds, identity development concerns, and relationship issues. I also have a special area of interest in providing outreach and educational programming to the campus community. I find it important to provide educational programming and outreach to our campus as a ways of prevention, but also in reaching students who are in need of counseling services. I look forward to working with you as a potential Counseling Center client or seeing you around campus at an outreach event! In my free time I love to craft by brining new life to old things, cook, hiking and biking, and playing with my nieces and nephews.

Shuchang Kang, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Shuchang Kang, Ph.D.
Shuchang Kang, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Counseling Psychology, University of Florida

Bio

As a former international student and a first-generation immigrant, I have always asked myself “Do the like me? Am I safe here? Do I deserve to be here?” when entering new spaces. These experiences have deeply shaped my professional practice as a psychologist. My goal as a therapist is to accompany individuals on their journeys of self-understanding through exploring moments of connection and disconnection while empowering individuals to make decisions based on their increased awareness of the interplay among self, social, and cultural factors. I am committed in providing culturally sensitive, evidence-based, individually tailored mental health services to diverse populations with various concerns (depression, anxiety, obsessive and compulsion disorder, disordered eating, posttraumatic stress disorder, and comorbid physical and mental conditions). I am skilled in mindfulness-based intervention with a focus on mind-body connection, trauma-informed therapy, and exposure and response prevention. I am dedicated in serving marginalized populations, including but not limited to members from LGBTQ+, ethnic/racial minority, immigrant, first-generation college student, and international student communities. I am fluent in English, Mandarin Chinese, and Cantonese. Outside Counseling Center, I enjoyed yoga (RYT 200), cycling, and training my two puppies to self-sooth.

Liaison: LGBTQ Mentoring Program Coordinator

 

Publications

Tucker, C.M., Kang, S., Williams, J.L. (2019). Translational research to reduce health disparities and promote health equity [Editorial]. Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 5 (4), 297-301. doi:10.1037/tps0000215

Tucker, C.M., Kang, S., Ukonu, N.A., Linn, G.S., DiSangro, C.S., Arthur, T.M., & Ralston, P.A. (2019). A culturally sensitive church-based Health-Smart intervention for increasing health literacy and health-promoting behaviors among black adult churchgoers. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 30 (1), 80-101. doi:10.1353/hpu.2019.0009

Wippold, G.M., Tucker, C.M., Smith, T., Ennis, N., Kang, S., Guasstello, A.D., Morrissette, T.A., Arhur, T.M., & Desmond, F.F. (2019). An examination of health-promoting behaviors among Hispanic adults using an activation and empowerment approach. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, 13 (1), 9–17. doi:10.1353/cpr.2019.0000

Tucker, C.M., Williams, J.L., Kang, S. (2017). A CBPR approach to promoting health and preventing obesity in Black communities. Prevention and Health Promotion, 10 (2), 15-23.

Tucker, C.M., Shah, N., Ukonu, N., Bilello, L., Kang, S., Good, A., & Arthur, T.A. (2017). Views of primary care physicians regarding the factors that influence promoting lifestyles and weight management among their patients. Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management, 24 (6), 259-266.

Kang, S., Tucker, C.M., Wippold, G.M., Marsiske, M., & Wegener, P. (2016). Associations among perceived provider cultural sensitivity, trust in provider, and treatment adherence among predominantly low-income Asian American Patients. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 7 (4), 295-304. doi:10.1037/aap0000058

 

Mary Pat Kelly , Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Mary Pat Kelly , Ph.D.
Mary Pat Kelly , Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Clinical Psychology, University of Utah

Bio

Greetings - I am excited to be on staff here because I know that your Counseling Center is an amazing resource for the campus community and for you as a student of the University of California, Irvine. I am privileged to have trained here as an intern at the very start of my career and now to be back working with this dynamic population of students among a team of incredible professional colleagues. I believe that the college years are among the best period in life to take advantage of counseling opportunities because there is so much change going on in your lives and so much potential for positive growth that serves you for a lifetime.

My approach to student concerns combines a cognitive-behavioral framework with a developmental perspective on how your challenges have come to be and how best to overcome them towards optimal personal satisfaction and capability. I work with students on a variety of concerns including academic, personal and relationships issues in a collaborative style where you and I work together to identify, practice and strengthen the understandings and skills that best work to relieve your concerns and remove obstacles in the way of your best life.

Jungeun Kim, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Jungeun Kim, Ph.D.
Jungeun Kim, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Counseling Psychology, University at Albany-State University of New York

Bio

My approach is warmly interactive, collaborative, supportive, and insight-driven. I strive to create a safe/comfortable/and transformative relational space where I am attuned to clients’ struggles as well as strengths. I place a strong emphasis on here-and-now processing and attention to the interplay and influence of cultural, contextual, and social factors on clients’ presenting problems. My clinical areas of interest include adjustment issues, perfectionism, depression and anxiety, identity development and cultural concerns (e.g., inter-generational and cross-cultural communications, bicultural identity, acculturation/enculturation, race, sexuality, social justice, etc.), relationships, trauma, and grief and loss. Bilingual counseling (English and Korean)

Liaison: Group Therapy and Workshop Coordinator 

Publications:

  • Miller, M. J., Kim, J., Chen, G. A., & Alvarez, A. N. (2012). Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis of the Asian American Racism-Related Stress Inventory. Assessment, 19, 53-64. DOI: 10.1177/1073191110392497
  • Miller, M. J., Kim, J., & Benet-Martínez, V. (2011). Validating the Riverside Acculturation Stress Inventory with Asian Americans. Psychological Assessment, 23, 300-310. DOI: 10.1037/a0021589
  • Hage, S. M., Mason, M., & Kim, J. (2011). A social justice approach to group counseling. In R. K. Conyne (Ed.), Oxford handbook of group counseling (pp. 102-117). NY: Oxford University Press.

 

Debbie Liu, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Debbie Liu, Ph.D.
Debbie Liu, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Counseling Psychology, University of Southern California

Bio

Welcome to the Counseling Center!  I feel it is a privilege to be part of my clients’ journey as I help students to develop coping skills to manage depression and anxiety, and to begin to live the life that brings them happiness.  I am trained as a cognitive-behavioral therapist and use tools from that framework specifically tailored to the needs of my clients.  My clinical interests include social anxiety, PTSD, identity issues and depression.  I look forward to working with you!

Stephanie Loftis, Psy.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Stephanie Loftis, Psy.D.
Stephanie Loftis, Psy.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Clinical Psychology, Pacific University School of Professional Psychology

Bio 

Hello and welcome to the UCI Counseling Center! Working with college students has been a passion of mine since graduate school, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work at several college counseling centers along the West coast. As a former UC undergraduate student, I am thrilled to now be a part of the Anteater community and look forward to possibly working with you on your collegiate journey. I believe a strong therapeutic alliance is central to one’s personal growth and healing process; therefore, I work hard to develop a relationship with each student that is trusting, non-judgmental, and collaborative. I work from a multicultural, client-centered perspective, combining cognitive-behavioral and interpersonal therapies with mindfulness-based strategies, tailoring my style to fit your needs and treatment goals. My approach to therapy can be described as compassionate, active, and gently challenging, utilizing humor and warmth to balance the difficulty of therapy. My professional areas of interest include anxiety, depression, trauma, grief/loss, relationship issues, identity development, life/role transitions, academic/career concerns, and assessment of learning disorders. I welcome all facets of diversity and identity into my practice. I believe our varied, intersecting identities have a profound impact on the way we view and interact with the world, and I also believe that we are innately programmed to strive toward personal growth and wellbeing. I welcome the opportunity to support you on your journey toward harnessing your inner strength and taking steps toward a happier, healthier you.

Liaison: Graduate Student Housing (Palo Verde and Verano); Sorority and Fraternity Life 

Pavaninder S. Mann, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Pavaninder S. Mann, Ph.D.
Pavaninder S. Mann, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Counseling Psychology, University of Kansas

Bio

Greetings and welcome.  In my work with students, I emphasize the importance of personal responsibility, the power of choice, and making informed decisions to improve one’s quality of life.  I believe university students are at an incredibly powerful and meaningful point in their lives, both personally and academically.  Through building of a therapeutic relationship that is based on trust and rapport, my hope is that students will learn how to identify potential road blocks on their journey to success, as well as identify and build upon their own personal strengths and coping skills.  I see my role as a psychologist as multifaceted.  Sometimes I teach students coping skills to manage depression, stress, and anxiety.  Other times I am there to listen to problems they are having in relationships and family issues.  I have experience working with treating depression, stress, and anxiety through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).  I also have experience with solution-focused, goal-oriented therapy, as well as therapy focusing on relationships and family dynamics.  My goal is to help students learn ways in which they can overcome obstacles and move forward with achieving the goals they set for themselves.  I look forward to working with you here at the UC Irvine Counseling Center.

Shruti Mukkamala, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Shruti Mukkamala, Ph.D.
Shruti Mukkamala, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Clinical Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Bio

Hello and welcome to the Counseling Center! I am a former international student who has been living in the U.S. since I came here more than a decade ago. I value education and the opportunities it brings, and look forward to helping students as they navigate their educational journey. My experiences of being a first-generation immigrant and a woman of color in the U.S. have deeply impacted my personal identity and professional interests. I have a particular interest in working with women of color in STEM fields, international and immigrant students, graduate students and Asian and Asian American students. While I enjoy working with a wide range of students related to their concerns, particular areas of experience include body image difficulties, relationships, acculturation, intergenerational communication, anxiety and stress related to discrimination. I work collaboratively within a Cognitive-Behavioral framework and am an advocate for my clients. Along with individual therapy, I enjoy conducting group therapy and engaging in outreach and consultation with the greater campus community. My research intersects with my clinical interests and is broadly focused on racial discrimination and its impact on mental health and lived experience. I look forward to working with you soon!

Liaison: Asian American Studies Program

Publications

  • Mukkamala, S., & Suyemoto, K. L. (2018). Racialized sexism/sexualized racism: A multimethod study of intersectional experiences of discrimination for Asian American women. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 9(1), 32-46. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/aap0000104

Jessica R. Ortega, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist/ C.O.A.C.H. Program Coordinator

Jessica R. Ortega, Ph.D.
Jessica R. Ortega, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist/ C.O.A.C.H. Program Coordinator

Counseling Psychology, Arizona State University

Bio

Bienvenidos! (Welcome!) I am delighted and privileged to be able to work with you amazingly gifted UCI students whether it be through therapy or community outreach, which may include teaching, workshops, and mentoring.  My work with students is guided by a multicultural lens that seeks to understand and honor their unique stories and intersectional identities within their social-cultural communities.  I feel that cultural humility is salient in my role as a therapist. As a first generation to college, Latina, I am mindful of my own story, how that has shaped my worldview and the importance of cultivating a space of inclusivity. I intentionally seek to facilitate opportunities for authentic expression from my clients and encourage them to honor their strength and resiliency. I too learn from my clients.  Although I work from a generalist approach, I do possess clinical interests that include working with issues related to college adjustment and academic persistence, Latin@/x mental health, the 1st generation and transfer student experience, eating disorder/body image concerns and spirituality in the healing process. I embrace an additional passion for leadership development, training and peer program coordination and supervision. Ultimately I see myself as an advocate to our students and seek to serve as a resource and bridge for them as they navigate the college experience. It brings me great joy serving our student community, and ultimately empowering them to own their stories, and strengthen their voice, spirit and leadership as agents of change. On a personal note, I have a passion for dance, teaching Zumba and enjoying quality time with my family and friends. Have a blessed day!  Zot Zot Zot!!!

Liaison: Mesa Court Residence Hall 

PUBLICATIONS

  • Dixon Rayle, A., Sand, J. K., Brucato, T., & Ortega, J. (2006). The “Comadre” group approach: A Wellness-based group model for monolingual Mexican women. Journal of Specialists in Group Work, 31, 1-20.
  • Ortega, J. (2019). Supervising paraprofessionals: A multicultural perspective. In T.R. Burnes & J. E. Manese (Eds.), Cases in multicultural clinical supervision: Models, lenses, and applications (pp. 97-113). Cognella, Inc.

Kanwarjit Pahwa, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Kanwarjit Pahwa, Ph.D.
Kanwarjit Pahwa, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Counseling Psychology, University of Tennessee At Knoxville

Bio

Hello and welcome to UCI Counseling Center! I am excited to be a part of the UCI community and provide quality psychological services to contribute to student’s mental health. As much as college can be exciting, it sometimes can be overwhelming due to various adjustment challenges. I am grateful to be at the Counseling Center to extend my unconditional support for those who want to bring change in their current situation. As a former international student and a woman of color, I recognize that culture and various identities play a vital role in our lives. My work centers around building meaningful therapeutic alliance with clients, while also practicing from evidence based approach. My work is embedded in principles of social justice and multiculturalism. In my career, I have been privileged to work with students from diverse backgrounds and identities. My professional area of interest includes, but is not limited to: working with international students, undocumented students, Asian American mental health, marginalized groups, traditional and non-traditional first generation students, adjustment to college, cultural adjustment, relationship problems, academic problems, career issues, anxiety, depression stress and time management.

Liaisons: International Center

Ylena D. Shayne, Psy.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Ylena D. Shayne, Psy.D.
Ylena D. Shayne, Psy.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Clinical Psychology, Biola University

Greetings and welcome to the Counseling Center! I am honored and privileged to have the opportunity to come alongside and assist UCI students as they work towards achieving their academic and personal life goals. I approach students’ concerns with benign curiosity, compassion and tenderness and encourage students to do the same. Using an integrative treatment approach, I facilitate deep, mindful reflection upon personal experiences and authentic expression of affect, with the intention of moving students toward greater insight, self-awareness and overall wellbeing. I also welcome humor into the therapeutic process, recognizing that levity can often provide relief from challenges and facilitate positive change. I work with a variety of concerns including depression, anxiety, self-esteem, grief/loss, partner relationship issues, adjustment to college/career, and personal/sexual/gender identity development. I also have a special interest in working through issues associated with the intersection of spirituality and mental health, sexuality and/or sexual identity; concerns related to diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder; and animal-assisted therapy as a health service psychology intervention.

Liaison: Disability Services Center 

Saimir Thano, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Saimir Thano, Ph.D.
Saimir Thano, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Clinical Psychology, Alliant IU/ CSPP - Los Angeles

Bio

Mirësevini (Welcome) to UCI Counseling Center. I feel fortunate to be part of the CC team and for the opportunity to give back to the UCI Community. I am dedicated to providing the support needed for students to live a more successful and healthier life. I have a holistic approach to working with students, which includes the mind, body, and emotions. I view individuals as whole beings who are made up of interdependent parts with each part playing an important role for optimal psychological wellbeing. I work with students to obtain physical, mental, and emotional balance. As a first generation immigrant I am also sensitive to issues of diversity, thus in my work I utilize a multicultural lens while focusing on the therapeutic relationship. My clinical areas of interest include acculturation related issues, adjustment to college, men's issues, first generation and/or transfer students, non-traditional and international students, and ethnic identity issues. My research focuses on multicultural/multiracial relationships, the impact of acculturation on psychological wellbeing and romantic relationship satisfaction, and ethnic identity as a protective factor. I look forward to hearing from you and working together to reach your goals.

Liaison: Arroyo Vista Residence Hall; PEER Educators Coordinator

Rodolfo Victoria, Ph.D. Director of Quality Assurance/Assistant Director

Rodolfo Victoria, Ph.D.
Rodolfo Victoria, Ph.D.
Director of Quality Assurance/Assistant Director

Counseling Psychology, Teachers College - Columbia University

Bio

Bienvenidos! (Welcome!) It is a tremendous pleasure to be part of the Counseling Center here at UC Irvine. As a first-generation college student, my personal experiences have influenced my research and clinical interests which have focused on racial & ethnic identity development as well understanding how individuals navigate through various, and often conflicting, cultural demands. Together, students and I work collaboratively in enhancing self-awareness and exploring how our personal and collective, cultural histories influence our present day-to-day functioning.

I strongly believe that each of us has the resiliency to work through life’s hurdles and I help students identify these inner strengths with empathic support & insight. While therapy can be a challenging process, I encourage students to challenge and identify potential psychological barriers & patterns that prevent them from achieving their personal/professional goals as well as developing meaningful relationships. I look forward to working with you!!!

Publications

  • Carter, R. T., Mazzula, S., Victoria, R., Vazquez, R., Hall, S., Smith, S, Sant, S., Forsyth, J., Bazelais, K., & Williams, B. (In Press). Initial Development of the Race-Based Traumatic Stress Symptom Scale: Assessing the emotional impact of racism. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, & Policy.
  • Kohatsu, E., Victoria, R., Lau, A., Flores, M., & Salazar A. (2011). Analyzing anti-Asian prejudice from a racial identity and color-blind perspective. Journal of Counseling & Development, 89(1), 63-72.

Vivian Yamada, Psy.D. Clinical Director/ Associate Director

Vivian Yamada, Psy.D.
Vivian Yamada, Psy.D.
Clinical Director/ Associate Director

Clinical Psychology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Bio

Welcome! College and graduate school can be so fulfilling, but can also lead to many stressors and challenges. I greatly value the opportunity to work with UCI students to help them navigate their roles as students and their additional relationships with family members, friends, romantic partners, colleagues and others. I enjoy working with students who have a variety of concerns and adapt my therapeutic approach to what a particular student needs. Most importantly, I believe a client needs to feel safe and understood given the vulnerability that can be present in counseling. In addition, I frequently find it helpful to explore how a client’s various relationships can function better in the client’s life as these relationships are often connected to their concerns. Some of my special interests are couples therapy, trauma and abuse, and multicultural issues including LGBT and multiracial/multi-ethnic issues.

Liaison: Student Health Center Primary Care; TransCare Team

Clinical Social Worker

Ilana Rosenberg, LCSW Clinical Social Worker

Ilana Rosenberg, LCSW
Ilana Rosenberg, LCSW
Clinical Social Worker

The University of Toronto

Bio

I am thrilled to be a part of the Counseling Center team and the UCI community! I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker originally from Canada and have also lived and worked in the mid-west.  As a Counseling Center social worker, I can advocate for UCI students and provide them with referrals, resources and support if required.  I hope I can help you thrive and succeed here at UCI!

Liaison: Campus Social Workers and Local Community Agencies 

Heather Schmidt, LCSW Clinical Social Worker

Heather Schmidt, LCSW
Heather Schmidt, LCSW
Clinical Social Worker

Cal State University Long Beach

Bio

It’s an honor to work at the UCI Counseling Center as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I have worked across Los Angeles and Orange County providing case management services to clients from a variety of personal backgrounds, including those struggling with severe and persistent mental illness as well as substance abuse. My passion is to help others get connected to services that can help support their life goals. I hope I can be of help and support to you in your time at UCI!

Liaison: Campus Social Workers and Local Community Agencies 

Psychology Interns and Postdoctoral Fellow

Jackson Hsu, M.A. Doctoral Intern

Jackson Hsu, M.A.
Jackson Hsu, M.A.
Doctoral Intern

Graduate Program: Clinical Psychology, Alliant International University

Bio

Welcome to the UCI Counseling Center! I am honored to be working as a Psychology Doctoral intern this year. I am deeply interested in working with people from various backgrounds and all walks of life. I believe what is shared within the therapy room is sacred and the work students do can be difficult at times, so I aim to foster an environment that is safe, open, empathetic, genuine, and thoughtful. My approach to counseling is integrative and strength based. I place an emphasis on the here-and-now process and explore the cultural, social, and other factors that have had an impact on the student. My clinical areas of interest include adjustment issues, identity development, relationship, multiculturalism, anxiety and depression. I have traveled and moved extensively within and outside of America, so I am aware of the challenges of studying and living in new environments. I am bilingual in English/Mandarin Chinese. I look forward to meeting you!

Liaison: International Center

Yuanhong (Nicole) Huang, M.A. Doctoral Intern

Yuanhong (Nicole) Huang, M.A.
Yuanhong (Nicole) Huang, M.A.
Doctoral Intern

Graduate Program: Counseling Psychology, University of Florida

Bio

Hello! Welcome to the UCI Counseling Center! As we navigate through college and graduate school, it is common for us to encounter challenges that are sometimes difficult to overcome by ourselves. In therapy, my goal is to support and facilitate you in gaining more self-awareness, recognizing your strengths that have carried you this far, and exploring new coping strategies that works for you. I strive to create a trusting and accepting environment where you can feel comfortable to process your concerns and emotions. As a first generation to college and an international student from Asia, I am interested in understanding your intersecting identities and unique cultural experience through a multicultural lens. My areas of special interest include but not limited to anxiety and depression, multicultural issues (such as cross-cultural adjustment, identity development, minority stress etc.), trauma, mindfulness, and working with international students and first generation students. I am fluent in English, Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese. I look forward to joining your journey towards wellness and self-growth!

Liaison: W-Hub and Cross Cultural Center

Nava Sedaghat, M.A. (she, her, hers pronouns) Doctoral Intern

Nava Sedaghat, M.A. (she, her, hers pronouns)
Nava Sedaghat, M.A. (she, her, hers pronouns)
Doctoral Intern

Graduate Program: Clinical Psychology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Bio 

Assalamu Alaykum (Peace Be Upon You)! I’m grateful to be serving the UCI community as a Doctoral Intern this year. I aim to build and foster a trusting therapist-client relationship, providing a safe space for clients to explore their concerns while working towards healing and fulfillment. My approach to therapy is integrative and strengths based, and my identity as a Muslim Persian American woman of color has rooted my work in multiculturalism and social justice. I look forward to being a part of each client’s unique journey towards self-actualization. As a proud Gryffindor, I echo Professor Albus Dumbledore: “Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic, capable of both influencing injury, and remedying it.”

Liaison: C.A.R.E. Office 

Yixun Zhu, M.A. Doctoral Intern

Yixun Zhu, M.A.
Yixun Zhu, M.A.
Doctoral Intern

Graduate Program: Counseling Psychology, Louisiana Tech University

Bio

Welcome to the UCI Counseling Center! I am excited about the opportunity to serve the highly diverse UCI community. My approach to counseling is humanistic, existential, and solution-focused. I trust in people’s potential to grow and often focus on clients’ strengths rather than their problems. I firmly believe that people are much more resilient than they think. While many clients come in for “guidance,” I often find myself playing the role of a cheerleader rather than a guide. I originally came from mainland China and have spent the last four years in Louisiana for my doctoral training. Being an international student myself, I am sharply aware of the unique challenges of learning abroad. Let’s work together to navigate through the darkness and make your time at UCI a satisfying and fulfilling experience! I practice kendo, play the ukulele, and recently try to pick up harmonica. I also love cooking and always excited about exploring new tastes. I look forward to working with you.

Liaison: Student Success Initiatives

 

Lupe Herrera, Psy.D. Postdoctoral Fellow

Lupe Herrera, Psy.D.
Lupe Herrera, Psy.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Graduate Program: Clinical Psychology, Rosemead School of Psychology

Welcome! It is an honor and privilege to be a member of the counseling center team and to work with UCI students. My therapeutic style is warm, non-judgmental, compassionate, and exploratory. I welcome and embrace diversity in treatment, as my work is guided through a multicultural lens. As a Mexican-American, Lesbian, cisgender woman, I understand the importance of creating a safe, supportive, and inclusive space. In treatment with me, I desire for you to come as you are and intentionally work towards providing a safe, supportive space. My clinical areas of interest include adjustment to college, women’s issues, grief/loss, anxiety, depression, sport performance, Latinx mental health, and LGBTQIA+ and multicultural issues. I also have a special interest in working through issues associated with intersectionality of identities. On my free time, I enjoy exploring the outdoors, quality time with family and friends, Crossfit, and playing soccer. I look forward to the possibility of working with you here at UC Irvine Counseling Center.

Liaison: UCI Athletics

Katie Ohene, Psy.D. Postdoctoral Fellow

Katie Ohene, Psy.D.
Katie Ohene, Psy.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Graduate Program: Clinical Psychology, Pacific University

Akwaaba! (Welcome!) I feel grateful and honored to be serving the exceptional UCI student population! I am passionate about college mental health, and believe that a collaborative approach in therapy can help take students from “surviving to thriving” during their undergraduate or graduate school experience. I work with students from an integrative approach combining cognitive-behavioral, process oriented, and strengths-based interventions to help meet the needs of the individual. Multiculturalism is also at the cornerstone of my therapeutic work, and provides an avenue for social justice, advocacy, equity, and inclusion to be part of the therapeutic process.

My goal as a clinician is to build a strong therapeutic alliance while providing a warm and inviting environment to help students feel empowered to discuss their concerns and build new goals. I enjoy working with a variety of presenting concerns, and my professional areas of interest include diversity, equity, & inclusion, social justice, interpersonal relationship concerns, anxiety, depression, life transitions, supervision & training, LGBTQIA+ experiences, racial/ethnic minorities; and more specifically, Black/African American communities. Part of my work also includes reducing mental health stigma in Black/African American communities through outreach and educational programming. Outside of UC Irvine, I enjoy cooking, baking, and dance cardio. I look forward to meeting you!

Liaison: CBCRR

Support Staff

Erika Anuskiewicz Management Services Officer

Erika Anuskiewicz
Erika Anuskiewicz
Management Services Officer
Bio
Hello Anteaters!  I am the Counseling Center’s Interim Management Services Officer and have been with UCI and the Counseling Center since September 2018.  The majority of my professional career has been in human resources, marketing, and administration, but I have also gained a lot of valuable experience through many years of volunteering for community organizations.  I am responsible for ensuring that the behind the scenes operations of the Center are running smoothly and providing human resources support to the Staff.  I also supervise the Administrative Staff so you will probably see me answering the phones and helping out at the front desk from time to time.  I value the importance of higher education and have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UC San Diego and a Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from San Francisco State University.  I look forward to helping the center help you!

Paris Armstrong Administrative Assistant

Bio

Welcome to the Counseling Center! I moved to California from the east coast, and as a recent graduate, I understand how difficult college may be, whether that involves difficult transitions or balancing work, school, and a social life. Here at the Counseling Center, we are here to help students thrive and offer support. I have a BA in Psychology and mental health is very important to me. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Counseling Center, so we can lend a helping hand as soon as possible! 😊

Linda Doan, MPH Credentialing Manager and Quality Analyst

Linda Doan, MPH
Linda Doan, MPH
Credentialing Manager and Quality Analyst

Bio

Hello and Welcome to the Counseling Center! I am devoted to improving the clinical workflow and daily operations of the center. I work predominantly in center wide quality assurance and process improvement initiatives including clinical audits, client satisfaction, and EMR technology. I currently hold a Master’s of Public Health in Healthcare Management and Policy. As a UCI alumna, I am excited to give back to the campus and ensure that students have access to quality services.

Jamie Jones Counseling Center Coordinator

Jamie Jones
Jamie Jones
Counseling Center Coordinator

Jamie Jones is the Counseling Center Coordinator and has been with UCI since 2004. She provides administrative support to the Counseling Center staff and is happy to assist students, staff and others with questions regarding the services offered by the Counseling Center. Jamie is also Green Dot certified and believes that UCI can be a leader in reducing violence on college campuses using proactive violence prevention strategies and good bystander intervention. Jamie also facilitates HealthRHYTHMS drum circles for various departments on campus for teambuilding and stress reduction. She has a B.B.A in Marketing from Texas Tech University and has many years of experience working in Academic settings here and abroad. She has also held positions working for large corporations and small businesses. She is happy to use her organizational, business and support skills to assist students and staff here at UCI.

Melissa Ramirez Administrative Assistant

Melissa Ramirez
Melissa Ramirez
Administrative Assistant

Bio

As a UC alum, I know the struggle is real. Y como Latina, también conozco las presiones adicionales que tenemos de ser estudiantes. Let us at the Counseling Center help make this time of life transitions and personal growth a little easier! During my time working for the UC system, I’ve had the privilege of assisting students through my position as a Senior Event Manager at UC San Diego, as well as onboarding new student volunteers through the Department of Volunteer Services at UC San Diego Health. And now, I’m excited to be a part of the UCI Counseling Center team! I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about our services in English, o en Español, and to schedule the best appointment for you on the phone or in person. So stop by our front desk, and listen closely! Chances are I’m playing Disney or Harry Potter instrumentals. 

Publications: Ramirez, Melissa. “Young at Heart.” Independent Bookstore Day Anthology, University of California, San Diego, 2016.

Victoria Tibbetts Administrative Assistant

Victoria Tibbetts
Victoria Tibbetts
Administrative Assistant

Bio

As one of the Counseling Center’s front desk staff, I enjoy getting to interact with all the students who call us or come through our doors, and to help them find the type of services that are right for them.  Feel free to reach out to us if you’re ever in need of a little help; that’s what we’re here for!

Faith George Womack Assistant to the Director

Faith George Womack
Faith George Womack
Assistant to the Director

Hello, welcome to the Counseling Center, a wonder place where you can be yourself. I am the administrative assistant to the Director. I hold a Master's in Health Administration and am excited to contribute to the smooth running of the UCI Counseling Center.