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Division of Student Affairs

Meet the Staff

Counseling Services Staff

Tania Gonzalez, Ph.D.

Interim Associate Director

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 Eichler, Psy.D.

Staff Psychologist

Dr. Eichler is a native of California and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dr. Eichler is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and is a Counseling Psychologist at UC Merced Counseling and Psychological Services. She received her bachelor's degree from Humboldt State University and masters 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. Eichler 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. Eichler’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 masters 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.


Julie Ray

Staff Psychologist

Julie Ray is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist working as a Staff Counselor with UC Merced Counseling and Psychological Services. She received her bachelor's degree from Arizona State University in Child and Family Studies and a master’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Counseling and Professional Clinical Counseling from Brandman University.  Julie has worked in various settings including a youth crisis shelter and community mental health serving a diverse population with various backgrounds including underserved populations. This has provided insight into various presenting issues that students may be facing including anxiety, depression, adjustment challenges interpersonal difficulties, mood disorders, bereavement, issues impacting undocumented, LGBTQ+, and first generation-college students, multicultural/diversity issues, crisis intervention, and trauma. She uses an integrated therapy approach based upon each student’s needs including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Positive Psychology, Narrative Therapy, strength-based approaches, Motivational Interviewing, and trauma-informed practices. Julie works to provide a safe and non-judgmental environment where one can be yourself and work towards identified goals


Shaozhuan Li, Ph.D

Staff Psychologist

Gender Pronoun: He, him, his

California Licensed Psychologist PSY 31248

Counseling and Psychological Services | University of California, Merced Ph.D | Counseling Psychology | Indiana University Bloomington M.Ed | Health and Clinical Psychology | Beijing Normal University, China

“Life is a journey filled with challenges and opportunities, and we are the storyteller as well as the editor of our own life.”

Dr. Li’s philosophy as a counseling psychologist is to really see and understand his clients as to who they are, who they want to be, and what they want to get out of their lives. He believes that the therapeutic relationship is essential for clients’ change and development.

Dr. Li adopts an integrated counseling approach based on ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), Brief Psychodynamic Therapy, Attachment Theory, Family Systems, Constructivist School of Thoughts, Person-Centered Therapy, and multiculturalism. He believes in the self-agency and autonomy of clients in the process of their exploration and change.

Dr. Li has years of experience working with college-aged young adults, assisting them with coping with anxiety and depression, adjusting to college life, living away from family, balancing academics and social life, and having healthy interpersonal and romantic relationships.

Dr. Li came to the U.S. from Beijing, China 8 years ago in pursuit of a doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology at Indiana University, Bloomington. He earned his Ph.D. in 2017, relocated to California, and is now a licensed psychologist. He if fluent in both English and Mandarin Chinese, and he is particularly interested in cross-cultural communication, acculturation and adjustment, as well as supporting social justice and equality for ethnic minorities, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and students who hold different values from their family/community, etc.


Harvey Zhang, B.A.  

Psychological Trainee  

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. Currently, he is a third-year student in the Psy. D. program and has had experience working at the Gary Cannon Psychological Service Center as a student clinician. Harvey has also led CBT groups at the Bob Wiley Detention Center and the Juvenile Detention Facility in Visalia, CA. He works primarily from a client center perspective but also uses motivational interviewing and CBT.  Harvey is interested in working with students who face acculturation conflicts regarding their future academic and career goals. 


Heather Weigel

Administrative Assistant II

Heather joined the Counseling & Psychological Services Department in 2017. Prior to joining CAPS, she worked at the UC Merced Student Health Center beginning in 2014. She has worked in busy specialty clinics including general medicine, internal medicine, psychiatry, and counseling services. Heather is a Certified Nursing Assistant who graduated from Merced College in 2008.


Nidia Hartford

Administrative Assistant III

Nidia has over 10 years of clerical and administrative experience. Prior to joining CAPS, she worked with the Turlock Police Department in records. She worked as an Administrative Assistant II and then as a Purchasing Specialist for the School of Natural Sciences at UC Merced for a cumulative total of 8 years. Nidia also worked as an Office Assistant for the Advising Center at the University of Utah and as a Financial Coordinator and a Spanish Translator for various hospitals in Salt Lake City, Utah. Nidia received her Associate degree in Psychology from Merced College in 2019 and hopes to pursue her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at UC Merced.