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Brooks College of Health


The Counseling Center's clinical staff consists of a director, an associate director, assistant directors, licensed psychologists, licensed counselors, licensed social workers, a registered dietitian, a psychiatrist, and psychiatric nurse practitioners. In addition, we have a robust staff of trainees including clinical mental health counseling and doctoral interns. Our administrative professional staff provide support for administrative operations of the center.

Administrative Team | Medical Team | Nutrition Team | Counseling Team | Doctoral Interns | Master Interns | Administrative Support Staff

Administrative Team

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Deborah Baker, PhD

Assistant Director / Clinical Director

Pronouns : She/Her/Hers
Languages Spoken : English

Deborah is the Assistant & Clinical Director of the Counseling Center and a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with experience and interest in psychotherapy for anxiety and mood disorders, personality disorders, severe and persistent mental illness, and autism spectrum disorders. She is trained in Mindfulness Meditation and EMDR. Deborah received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Jacksonville University, her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from the University of North Florida, and her doctorate in clinical psychology from the Fielding Graduate University.

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Michael Malec, PhD, LCSW

Associate Director

Pronouns: He/Him/His
Languages Spoken: English 

Dr. Malec is the Associate Director of the Center and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. His clinical interests encompass a wide variety of psychological and social concerns including anxiety, depression, life transition, adjustment, and relationships. Originally from Pennsylvania, Michael received his Master of Social Work degree in Clinical Social Work from Florida State University in 1986 and a Ph.D. in Counselor Education from the University of Florida in 2005. Prior to beginning at the Counseling Center in 1990, he worked in community mental health in St. Augustine, FL, and in an inpatient setting in Jacksonville. Dr. Malec utilizes an integrative person-centered, cognitive-behavioral, and solution-focused approach in his work with clients.

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Misha Bogomaz, Psy.D, ABPP, Fellow AGPA


Pronouns: He/Him
Languages Spoken: English and Russian

Dr. Misha Bogomaz is a Licensed Psychologist, Board Certified in Group Psychology, Certified Group Psychotherapist, and a Fellow of the American Group Psychotherapy Association. He is also President of the American Board of Group Psychology for the 2023-2024 year. He believes in inclusive leadership that celebrates differences and takes into account various constituents. Dr. Bogomaz leads the efforts of providing mental health services to the university community while cultivating a thriving workplace. In his free time, he enjoys fitness, Latin dancing, reading, TV shows, listening to lectures, playing video games, and spending time with his family.

Medical Team

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Anjali Pathak, M.D.


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Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

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Sydney McInnis, APRN

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse

Nutrition Team


Kimberley LaMora, M.S; RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian

Kimberley LaMora is the Registered Dietitian for the Eating Disorder Management Team at the UNF Counseling Center. She currently holds a M.S. in Applied Nutrition. She has a wide range of experience working with pediatric, young adult and adult populations. Outside of work Kim enjoys spending time with her family and two dogs, reading and being outside.

Counseling Team

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Caterina (Cat) Eppolito, M.A; MFA, LMHC

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Caterina Eppolito is a licensed counselor and writer who earned a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from St. Michael’s College in Vermont and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Florida.  Her interests revolve around wellness—the connection between mind and body, mindfulness, and health psychology.  Her clinical framework is client-centered and solution-focused with creative approaches sprinkled in.

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Dina Ricco, PhD, LMHC, ATR

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Dina is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Registered Art Therapist. She received her Bachelor's in Fine Arts and Master of Arts in Counselor Education from the University of South Florida. She received a Master of Science in Art Therapy and a PhD in Art Therapy from Florida State University. Her theoretical approach is comprised of family systems, cognitive behavioral, and art therapy techniques. She strives to create a safe therapeutic space to explore unresolved issues, process trauma, gain insight, and learn healthy coping strategies.

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Gelila Jones, M.A; LMHC

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Languages spoken: English and Amharic (Ethiopian)

Gelila is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and received Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Marshal University. She considers herself a mental health generalist with personal and professional experience regarding a variety of cultures and subsets of people. She enjoys supporting and addressing relationship and family issues, as well as anxiety and depression. She believes that the stress of juggling the demands of life, anxiety, depression, and/or struggles in relationships, may improve with better insight and coping skills, which may be gained through the empowering process of personal counseling. In her clinical work, she draws upon the person-centered and cognitive behavioral theoretical models of counseling. Her clinical interests include exploring and further understanding the impact that physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being have on one another, with an emphasis on natural or alternative approaches to healing. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, restaurant outings with her husband and friends, exercising, and her children's extracurricular activities.

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Havey Baer, LMHC

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Havey Baer graduated with a Master of Science degree from the University of North Florida’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor specializing in the treatment of eating disorders and body image concerns, anxiety disorders, trauma, identity development, LGBTQIA issues, and crisis management. She utilizes a therapeutic approach that incorporates cognitive-behavioral, dialectical-behavioral, solutions-focused, and client-centered therapies with the ultimate goal of helping clients feel empowered physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. In her free time, you can expect to find her practicing yoga, curled up reading a good novel, or exploring the beautiful trails and bodies of water that are abundant in North Florida.

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Jeffrey Terry, M.A; LMHC

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Jeff has been licensed since 1991 with over 25 years of broad-range professional experience and an emphasis on working with individuals between 18 and 30 years of age. He is also a retired Navy Chaplain where he often served in high-stress, operational environments and completed a one-year Clinical Pastoral Education residency. He is qualified with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Jeff and his wife have been married for over 34 years and have two adult children, one of whom is a recent UNF grad.

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Kathryn White, Psy.D.


Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Katie is a staff psychologist who received her Doctor of Psychology from Roosevelt University’s Clinical Psychology program. She specializes in treating depression, anxiety, self-esteem, and relationship difficulties. She also works with students experiencing chronic pain and ongoing medical problems. She helps clients get to know themselves more deeply, understand how they came to be that way, and work towards an identity and life of which they can be proud. She strives to assist clients in cultivating greater compassion for themselves and their shortcomings, fulfillment in their relationships, and intentionality in the life they create. In her free time, Katie enjoys everything nature has to offer, and she is, unabashedly, a “crazy plant lady.” She also loves practicing yoga and joyful movement and spending time with her pup and loved ones.


Kristen Robinson, M.S; RMHCI

Mental Health Counselor

Kristen is a Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern and has received her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Southern Adventist University in Tennessee. Kristen excels in working with a multitude of topics including depression, anxiety, family of origin concerns, and phase of life transitions. In her free time, Kristen likes finding new restaurants, watching movies, and listening to live music.

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Liza Provenzano, M.Ed; LMHC

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Liza has been a Licensed Mental Health Counselor for over fifteen years. During this time, she has developed expertise working with trauma and LGBT issues. Throughout her career she has gained valuable experience in the areas of case management, crisis intervention and domestic violence.

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Melissa La Manna, M.S; LMHC

Eating Disorder Treatment Team Coordinator

Melissa is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and the Coordinator of the Eating Disorder Management Team. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of North Florida and her Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. Melissa has prior experience in elementary school teaching and working with students that have special needs. She utilizes an integrative approach to her work that encompasses person-centered, psychoanalytic, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Melissa also enjoys spending time with her family, cycling, yoga, and exploring new restaurants.

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Melissa Miller, MSW, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Melissa is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She received both her Bachelor of Social Work and her Master of Social Work from Florida Atlantic University. Melissa has experience and clinical interest in psychotherapy for anxiety, depression, trauma, grief and loss, codependency, and stress and time management. She also has work experience with crisis intervention, substance abuse, domestic violence, family counseling, and case management. She utilizes a variety of treatment modalities to meet the needs of her clients, including solution-focused therapy, person-centered therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. In her free time, Melissa enjoys cooking, reading, practicing yoga and meditation, cuddling with her dog, and spending time with friends and family.

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Shana Sopko, M.A; LMHC

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Shana is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and the Group Therapy Coordinator.  She received her Bachelor of Arts in Experimental Psychology from the University of Texas at Arlington and her Master of Arts in Counseling Education from the University of Central Florida.  She uses an integrative, multi-cultural approach in her counseling work that is person-centered and trauma-informed with solution-focused and cognitive-behavioral techniques.  Shana’s clinical interests and experiences encompass a wide variety of psychological and social concerns including LGBTQ+ issues, anxiety, depression, life transitions, identity development, adjustments, and relationships.    

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Xavier Hill, M.S; RMHCI

Mental Health Counselor

Xavier joined University of North Florida’s counseling department in September of 2022. He has his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Newberry College where he played collegiate basketball, and his Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Stetson University. He looks to create a calm and welcoming space by using an integrative approach to counseling that is trauma-informed, person-centered, cognitive-behavioral, solution-focused, and here and now experiential techniques. Xavier clinical interests are abundant and include, but not exclusive to anxiety, athletics, performance, stress, depression, adjustment, and life transitions.  

Doctoral Interns


Joel Turner, M.A.


Joel is a doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences at Divine Mercy University. He received a Master of Psychology degree from DMU, a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Franciscan University of Steubenville, and is expected to graduate with his doctorate upon the successful completion of his internship at UNF. 

Joel’s approach to therapy is based in an appreciation of the uniqueness of each individual, the resilience of the human person, and the universal desire for flourishing. His primary goal in therapy is to collaborate with each person and create a genuine relationship where safety and trust promote understanding, acceptance, insight, and growth.

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Samantha Poling, M.A.


Samantha Poling completed a Bachelor of Science and a Master's degree in Psychology at the University of North Florida. She is currently a graduate student at Fielding Graduate University and attends the UNFCC to complete her doctoral internship. Samantha has two dozen publications in peer-reviewed journals, and her special interests include romantic breakup distress and social interactions. Outside the office, she enjoys spending time with her husband, coaching high school beach volleyball, and playing sports.

Master Interns

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Adia Barlow, B.S.


Adia is a master's level intern who is earning her M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Jacksonville University. She is originally from Atlanta, Georgia. Her clinical interests include person-centered, radical self-acceptance, and human sexuality. In her free time, Adia enjoys spending time in nature, meeting with friends, and going on whimsical adventures.

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Alana Rollins, B.A.


Alana is a current student in the Master of Social Work graduate program at UNF. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at the University of Florida. Alana gravitates toward cognitive-behavioral and client-centered approaches to therapy. Her clinical interests include anxiety, depression, identity development, and self-esteem in young adults. Alana is especially interested in the effects of perceived racial discrimination and trauma on the psychological well-being of members of historically marginalized groups. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her dogs, and planning her next trip to the mountains.

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Angela Zaher, B.S.


Hello, my name is Angela and I am currently a student at the University of North Florida in the M.S. Clinical and Mental Health Counseling program. I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2021, also from UNF. As far as my gravitation towards a specific theoretical orientation, I am finding myself to gravitate towards Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy, Person-centered, as well as an Adlerian approach. My clinical interests include working with populations such as adults who have experienced/witnessed trauma, immigrants and refugees, as well as victims of domestic abuse. I want to proudly represent and be an advocate for the Arab/American community and Arab women. I love to spend time with my family and friends and experience new places and adventures with them. I also really enjoy traveling and meeting new people as often as I can. I am extremely excited to begin working in the field and cannot wait to learn and grow through this experience. 

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Catherine (Kate) Scanlon, MSN, CRNA

Licensed Counselor

Kate is a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner student, currently seeking to complete her degree through the University of North Florida. As a Jacksonville native, Kate is excited to be interning within her hometown community at the UNF Counseling Center. She strives to encompass a client-centered approach to mental wellness through a mind, body, and spiritual philosophy. Kate also enjoys spending her time off with outdoor activities, loves listening to music, and spending time with friends and family.

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Ericka Vargas, B.S.


I am a proud Dominican and Caribbean woman, and representing and upholding my communities' health is my main goal. I am passionate about multiculturalism, ethnicism, justice, sex education, sexual health, and feminism. I have past experience in HIV prevention, HIV medical case management, and outreach. I am currently pursuing my master's in Mental Health Counseling to be able to do the 1-0-1 work with people in my communities. I live and breath dance, specially Latin and Caribbean dances. Music, movement, clear water bodies, and laughter are life for me.

 Theoretical Approach:

At this time my fortes and keen theories are Reality Choice, Gestalt, and DBT. Through these I get to explore people's needs, emotions, conflicts, and behaviors to help them achieve a balanced life. I am very interpersonal and like to work with clients in the here and now, their goals, and interactions through our therapeutic relationship. 

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Jade Stewart, B.A.


Jade is a current student in the Social Work Graduate Program at the University of North Florida. She completed her undergraduate degrees at UNF as well, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, with a concentration in Social Welfare. Jade is a proud Duval native, as she was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. She has professional experience working with people without housing, children and youth who are struggling in school, and in veteran services. Jade is also certified in Mental Health First Aid and the Children's Functional Assessment Rating Scale. Her clinical interests include anxiety, depression, substance use, women's issues, relationship issues, stress, family conflict, and finance-related stress. She utilizes a holistic approach and integrates aspects of client-centered and cognitive behavioral therapy. Jade's goal is to provide clients with a safe and supportive environment, to help students be the best version of themselves, and assist them in identifying and accomplishing their desired goals. In her free time, Jade enjoys cooking, exploring nature trails, and playing lacrosse.

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Jessica Scott, B.A.


Jessica is a current student in the Master of Social Work program at UNF. She previously taught middle school English at an international school in Shanghai, where she also worked to introduce and implement restorative practices. These experiences inspired her to pursue a career where she could provide mental health support to teens and young adults. In her free time, she enjoys reading and reviewing books, exploring local coffee shops, and spending time with family and friends.

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Taylor Hovancik, B.S.


I graduated with my B.S. in Psychology from Florida State University and am pursuing my Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at UNF. My current approach to therapy is completely client-centered: to promote human potential and an increased sense of self and identity. I strive to be a culturally competent counselor who advocates for all cornerstones of racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual identity. 

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Vanessa Tracz, B.S; CNA


Vanessa Tracz is a master's student intern. She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology at Florida Southern College in 2020 and is currently obtaining her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Jacksonville University. Vanessa currently works as a research assistant at her institution. During her free time, she enjoys exercising, going on walks, and spending time with loved ones.

Administrative Support Staff

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April Mattedi, B.S.


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Brenda Zelaya, B.S.

Executive Secretary

Brenda is the executive secretary at the UNF Counseling Center. She has a bachelor’s degree in communication and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in International Affairs at UNF. She finds her job rewarding because she is part of a team where administrative and mental health professionals work together daily to help students succeed in life.

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Joanne Nash

Office Assistant

Joanne is an OPS Office Assistant for the Counseling Center. She is a native of State College, Pennsylvania and relocated to Jacksonville in 2018 after retiring from Penn State University with 25 years of service.  She enjoys working at UNF and the counseling center front desk.

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Stephanie Bartolo

Administrative Secretary

Stephanie is a caring and loving person. Driven by her desire to help others, she excels at providing a safe and welcoming space for all the clients of the Counseling Center.