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Meet the Staff

Counseling Services Staff

Tania Gonzalez, Ph.D.



Dr. Gonzalez is a licensed Clinical Psychologist who has practiced within the Merced and Fresno community for the last several years. She completed her undergraduate studies at California State University, Hayward where she majored in Psychology with a double minor in Sociology and Criminal Justice. Her graduate degree in Clinical Psychology was earned at the California School of Professional Psychology with a focus in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and Forensic studies. During her professional career, she has had the opportunity to train and work with a wide variety of clientele in settings such as group homes, California Youth Authority, Boys and Girls Club, Unified school district, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, community private practice and the Veteran’s Affairs. She has held both management and supervisory positions and has discovered great rewards in assisting students, psychological assistants, and support staff through their professional and interpersonal growth. Through her own career endeavors, Dr. Gonzalez has gained practical experience and knowledge of issues involving socioeconomic aspects, cultural diversity, diagnostic considerations, and treatment modalities. Her clinical practice is influenced by attachment and object relations theory utilizing a psychodynamic approach. She has assisted clients with a variety of concerns including but not limited to: eating disorders, PTSD, relationship issues, depression, anxiety, LGBT, adjustment, and grief. She adopts a direct yet empathic approach to her work and is mindful of the unique multi-cultural needs of UC Merced. She strives to incorporate these ideologies while working with students in overcoming challenges to emotional wellness. Currently, Dr. Gonzalez is a member of the American Psychological Association and the San Joaquin Valley Psychological Association.

Laurel Ealy, Psy.D.


Staff Psychologist, Clinical Training Coordinator 

Dr. Ealy is a native of California and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her bachelor's degree from Humboldt State University and master's and doctoral degrees from Pacific Graduate School of Psychology-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium. She completed her APA-accredited pre-doctoral clinical internship at the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology, Robert J Murney Clinic. Dr. Ealy has worked with adolescents and adults for many years in community mental health centers where she is comfortable working with a wide variety of client concerns. Her areas of clinical interest include alcohol and substance use and co-occurring disorders, interpersonal difficulties, mood disorders, multicultural/diversity issues, grief/bereavement, spirituality, trauma, and issues that impact undocumented, LGBTQ+, and first-generation college students. Dr. Ealy’s clinical orientation is integrative; she has been trained in and is comfortable working with a variety of treatment approaches including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Attachment and Object Relations as well as Dialectical Behavior Therapy. She takes a strength-based approach when helping students overcome obstacles to their mental health.

William Johnson, Ph.D


Staff Psychologist

Dr. Johnson is a native of California, and grew up in Paso Robles, CA but has traveled the world. He received his bachelor's degree from Seattle University and master's and doctoral degrees from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He completed an APA-accredited pre-doctoral clinical internship at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD. He received a post-doctoral master's degree in Clinical Psychopharmacology from Alliant University, San Diego, CA. Dr.

Johnson was in the Navy for 34 years and his clinic work focused on PTSD related to combat and sexual assault, anxiety disorders, grief, Sleep/insomnia disorders, and psychological factors related to medical disorders. Dr. Johnson’s clinical orientation is integrative; he has been trained in and is comfortable working with a variety of treatment approaches including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma-Focused Treatment (Cognitive Processing Therapy, Prolonged Exposure, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), Image Rehearsal Therapy for Nightmares, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. He takes a solution-focused approach when helping students overcome obstacles to their mental health.

Bri Freeman, M.S, PsyD

Staff Psychologist

Bri received her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Her directed study examined the impact of military lifestyle factors (i.e., frequent relocation and parental deployment) on relationship functioning (i.e., attachment style, relationship satisfaction, commitment levels, emotional expression, and intimacy) in adult military children. Bri additionally holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University, as well as an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Arizona State University.

Her clinical interests include prolonged childhood abuse, interpersonal violence, attachment style issues, family of origin concerns, dissociation difficulties, relationship skills, obsessive compulsive difficulties, and neurodiversity. She also completed a one-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Interpersonal Violence track at the University of Santa Barbara-California, where she specifically worked with survivors of sexual, physical, and emotional trauma.

Bri uses a contextual approach to therapy and utilizes various therapy interventions based on individual needs, including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Feminist Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), family systems, and solution-focused interventions. In terms of trauma-based treatment, Bri adopts a tri-phasic approach to trauma treatment, with an emphasis on building safety and stabilization.


Cindy Salcedo, LCSW, PPS

Staff Counselor

Cindy Salcedo is a CA Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a native of Southern California. She is fluent in English and Spanish. Cindy received her bachelor's degree in Human Services from California State University, Fullerton, and a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Cindy has had extensive multicultural clinical experiences in a variety of settings which include providing mental health services to children and adolescents in schools, juvenile correctional facilities, and individuals in community mental health clinics. Her clinical training has provided in-depth experience working with depression, anxiety, substance use, multicultural/diversity issues, LGBTQ+, first-generation college students, life transitions, bereavement, and trauma. Cindy’s approach to therapy is integrative and client-centered, drawing on Psychodynamic, Relational, Cognitive-Behavioral, Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Mindfulness-based therapies. Cindy believes in the importance of providing an authentic, genuine, culturally sensitive, nonjudgmental space for her clients.

Tamara Isaac-Cooksey, LMFT

Staff Counselor

Tamara Isaac Cooksey is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist working as a Staff Counselor with UC Merced's Counseling and Psychological Services. Tamara received her bachelor's degree from California State University, Fresno in Psychology with a minor in Ethnic Studies as well as a certification in Victimology. Tamara possesses a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pacific Oaks University in Pasadena, California.
Local clinical experiences include Merced Behavioral Community Mental Health, Merced County's local Trauma/Crisis center for advocacy & forensic exam support. In her more than 15 years of experience in social services, Tamara has worked as a foster care social worker in Los Angeles County as well as a Sexual assault/Domestic Violence Counselor in East Los Angeles & Compton, California. Tamara also served as a State of Georgia ongoing CPS caseworker in Metro Atlanta.
Tamara works primarily from a client-centered perspective and uses Narrative therapy as her preferred therapeutic approach. Tamara is eclectic and utilizes a host of modalities' including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), expressive art, and sand tray therapies. Tamara works to provide an empathetic environment that is encompassing to all. Tamara says, "let's find your path."

Darrah Wilson, LMFT


Staff Counselor

Darrah Wilson is a CA Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a native of Central California. Darrah received her bachelor's degree in Psychology from California State University, Stanislaus, and a master’s degree in Counseling from California State University, Fresno. She also holds a Pupil Personnel Services Credential.  Darrah has worked in a variety of settings, providing clinical and social work services since 2008.  These settings have included private practice, the K-12 school setting, juvenile corrections and residential treatment facilities, outpatient mental health, Child Welfare Services, in home intensive services (Wraparound) and supporting Transition-Age Youth (TAY) as they transitioned out of foster care.  Darrah has clinical experience with a wide range of mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, ADHD, trauma, family disruptions, adjustment disorders, and grief.  She utilizes a client-centered theoretical orientation, using a dialectical counseling approach that incorporates cognitive, behavioral, mindfulness, psychoeducation, and skills building to help clients improve overall wellbeing.  

Jessica Herrington, LMFT

Staff Counselor


Jessica Herrington is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and native to Merced. Jessica received her bachelor's degree in psychology with an emphasis in Biology, from the University of California, Davis and her master’s degree in counseling from the University of Phoenix, Fresno cam pus. Jessica has over 10 years of experience working at a local nonprofit, where she provided behavioral counseling and therapy, to underserved populations, those with complex trauma, depression, and anxiety. Jessica has worked with clients that have faced challenges of low self-esteem, body image issues, addictive behaviors, suicidal thoughts, and self-harming behavior. Jessica is trained in motivational interviewing, Community Resiliency Model, and Life Space Crisis Intervention. Jessica appreciates a psychodynamic frame and employs Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to empower clients to recognize the stories they tell themselves and overarching life themes. Jessica is passionate about helping others live authentically. Jessica values a mind-body approach to health and utilizes mindful noticing to regulate emotions and expand one’s window of tolerance.  

Harvey Zhang, M.A., PsyD


Clinical Fellow

Harvey was born in Los Angeles and moved around the United States before finally settling in Fresno, CA. He received his bachelor’s in psychology at the University of California Riverside and began graduate school in Clinical Psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology Fresno. He has worked at the Gary Cannon Psychological Service Center as a student clinician and runs CBT groups at the Bob Wiley Detention Center and the Juvenile Detention Facility in Visalia, CA. He has been at UC Merced for two years, first as a practicum student and the second year as an intern. Presently, he is starting his third year as a Clinical Fellow. He works primarily from a client center perspective but also uses motivational interviewing and is solution-focused. Harvey is interested in working with students who face generational conflicts regarding their future academic and career goals. He is also interested in working with first-generation college students who face familial and societal pressures to succeed. He speaks both English and Mandarin Chinese.   


Grace L. Abear, M.S, PsyD


Clinical Fellow

Grace is an international student from the Philippines. She is fluent in English, Tagalog, and Bisaya. She completed a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from California School of Professional Psychology. She also has an M.S. in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling, from CSU, Sacramento. Her dissertation was about mental health providers’ case conceptualization of intimate partner violence strangulation in heterosexual and sexual and gender minority relationships.

Grace’s clinical experience includes providing psychotherapy and administering assessments in community mental health clinics, such as the UC Davis Early Psychosis Program and the 22q11.2 Research Center and Clinic. She also provided therapy to community day school students with academic challenges and mental health concerns, such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, conduct disorder, etc.

Grace adopts a client-centered theoretical orientation. Also, she uses various therapy approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), family-focused therapy (FFT), and expressive art, play, and sand tray therapies. She adapts her treatment modalities to fit the cultural context of her clients.

Joseph A. Ramirez, MA


Clinical Intern

Joseph is a Central Valley native, having grown up in one of the many small farming communities in Tulare County. He received a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Northridge, in Psychology with a minor in Human Sexuality. He is currently a doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology. His dissertation focuses on examining the lived subjective experiences, such as the social and systemic barriers to care for military veterans who have attempted suicide.

As a student clinician, Joseph’s clinical experiences includes working with children, adolescents, and their families at the Gary Cannon Psychological Service Center, and leading CBT groups at a juvenile detention center. He has also provided individual therapy and facilitated anger management groups for Veterans at the Fresno VA Medical Center. Lastly, he has experience administering neuropsychological evaluations to assess for learning disabilities, ASD, and ADHD.

Joseph primarily utilizes a cognitive-behavioral approach to treatment, integrating an interpersonal style and multicultural lens to meet clients’ needs. He also has experience with a variety of therapeutic approaches such as Play Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Mindfulness-based interventions.

Menchie Agtarap, MA


Clinical Intern

Menchie is a native of the Philippines and was raised in the Central Valley of California. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University, Fresno, and master’s degree in clinical psychology from Alliant International University, Fresno. Currently, Menchie is a clinical psychology doctoral candidate and is completing her APA-accredited pre-doctoral clinical internship at UC Merced’s counseling and psychological service center. Her dissertation focuses on examining the differences in intellectual abilities between preterm and full-term born children and adolescents.

Menchie’s clinical experiences include providing psychotherapy and administering assessments to children, adolescents, and adults at the Gary Cannon Psychological Service Center and providing individual therapy for students in comprehensive K-12 school sites with Merced County Office of Education. Additionally, she has experience in providing mental health services at Porterville Developmental Center to adults with intellectual developmental disorder, serious medical and/or behavioral problems for which appropriate services are not currently available through community resources.

Menchie’s approach to therapy is primarily based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and adopts her technique to fit the cultural framework of all her clients. She also has experience with a variety of therapeutic approaches such as Play Therapy, Attachment, Object Relations, and Person-Centered Therapy. Menchie’s clinical interest include neurodevelopmental disorders, learning disabilities, grief/bereavement, interpersonal difficulties, community outreach, and forensic evaluations and assessment of individuals with serious mental illnesses.

JoAnn Martinez


Administrative Assistant

Omar Cerna Maravilla


Administrative Assistant III