Meet Christine Merriman, MSW, LCSW, Psychiatry Case Manager

Although this year we have been mainly featuring our CAPS Student Heroes, we think it is just as important for students to get to know our incredible team of CAPS staff members. This month, we are featuring Christine Merriman, MSW, LCSW, our psychiatry case manager here at CAPS. She has been working at UCSC for the past 6 months and we are happy to have her here!

Christine Merriman, MSW, LCSW

Christine Merriman, MSW, LCSW

What is your position at CAPS, and how long have you been working at UCSC?

I am the psychiatry case manager at CAPS, housed at the central office, and I’ve been working at UCSC for 6 months. Chances are if you are going to see a psychiatrist on campus, or get referrals to one off campus, you’ll see or speak to me at some point!

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is meeting with students and getting to hear what they are passionate about, what they’re learning and their hopes and dreams for the future.

Tell our readers about one of your favorite spots on campus or in Santa Cruz.

I don’t know too much of the campus yet, but so far one of my favorite spots is OPERS. Besides the amazing view, being near the track reminds me of my college racing days, and when we came to run a cross country meet at UCSC. It was by far my favorite race course of all the ones we ran.

What do you do to take care of yourself and relax?

Self-care is so important! I get outside in the sunshine or the wind, take walks and hikes, read, do yoga, meditate, sing, talk with close friends, cook, play with my son, cuddle with my cat, and I’m starting to train for a sprint triathlon. My first ever.

What is one thing you wish you knew as a college student?

I wish I’d known to not take it all so seriously, and to have fewer “shoulds” around my behavior. It’s so wonderful what can be discovered when one drops the judgments of self and other, and observes with open, genuine curiosity. I think I missed out on some golden opportunities being bound up worrying about having to “be” a certain way. I’ll add as a caveat – knowing to listen more deeply to myself and my true longings, and almost more importantly, to when my boundaries were being tested. I’d say to my younger self, “Develop a strong, confident NO!”

Meet Dr. Julia Ragen, Staff Psychologist

CAPS can’t seem to get rid of Dr. Julia Ragen, who completed her postdoc here last Spring. And we couldn’t be happier!
Julia Ragen, Psy. D.

Julia Ragen, Psy.D.

What is your position at CAPS, and how long have you been working at UCSC? 

I started at CAPS August 2012 as a postdoctoral fellow…and have pretty much refused to leave.  Lucky for me, CAPS required an interim pair of hands to chip in, and I got to stick around. This year my office is located at Kresge College.  I provide individual, couple and group counseling as well as outreach, consultation, and crisis services. Continue reading

Meet Susie Martinez, Doctoral Intern

As an intern in our APA-accredited program, Susie is in the final stages of her advanced training to become a psychologist, and is only a few short months away from her degree. Not only does she provide CAPS with valuable clinical services, she brings enthusiasm and approachability to our staff, as well as an awesome sense of humor. This week, Meet the CAPS Staff is pleased to feature this fantastic addition to the CAPS team!

CAPS Doctoral Intern

Susie Martinez, MS

What is your position at CAPS, and how long have you been working at UCSC?

I am one of the new faces at CAPS. I am a doctoral intern and I will be working with the UCSC students in individual and group counseling.

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is seeing “AHA” moments. I have the amazing privilege of witnessing young students’ moments of, “Wow, I can do this!” or “I am so much greater than I ever gave myself credit for.” It is truly inspiring to see young people motivated and driven to change — bettering themselves and their community.

Tell our readers about one of your favorite spots on campus or in Santa Cruz.

I am hoping to become more and more familiar with the campus because I know very little about the cool spots. Same goes for the city of Santa Cruz. Growing up in central Texas I didn’t have easy access to the beach, so being just a few minutes from the beach is pretty amazing. I could definitely get used to it.

What do you do to take care of yourself and relax?

I love to spend time with family and friends when possible. I always say that hugs are my favorite type of self-care. Now that I am away from home it has been difficult to do that, but it means a lot of phone time, Skype, and e-mails. I have now adopted running on the beach…mostly because it makes me seem really health-conscious and “cool” when I tell my Texas friends I run on the beach. Nothing is more relaxing to me than being outdoors on a beautiful sunny day- walking, running, climbing, or just sitting reading a book.

What is one thing you wish you knew as a college student?

I wish I knew that I wasn’t the only one. There were several times that I wondered if anyone else was experiencing the same doubts, home sickness, fear, anxiety, etc. I wish I had known that many of us were probably in the same boat.

Meet Staff Counselor Amy Mandell

Twice a month, we’re getting to know one of our CAPS staff members by asking them to answer five questions. This month, we’re featuring Amy Mandell, LMFT, one of our permanent staff members who has worn several different hats over the years.

Amy Mandell, LMFT

Amy Mandell, LMFT

What is your position at CAPS, and how long have you been working at UCSC?

I began working as the CAPS Case Manager in 2008, helping students access resources and providing crisis support.  After four years as Case Manager, I transferred to a new position and have been working as a Staff Counselor since that time.

What is your favorite part of your job?

There are quite a few great things about my job.  I enjoy working in a learning environment, and helping students take advantage of it.  It’s great to meet so many students, to hear about their successes and struggles, and to help them find the path that feels right for them.  I believe that we are heavily shaped by our own personal experiences of family, culture, religion/spirituality (when applicable), and our place in society as compared to others.  I appreciate learning about others’ experiences, witnessing the strengths that people bring to the table, and helping to make those strengths more evident and useful.

Tell our readers about one of your favorite spots on campus or in Santa Cruz.

One of the highlights of being on campus is watching the deer follow regular pedestrian rules.  I’ve seen deer look both ways before crossing the street, use the crosswalks, and even use the stairs!  It’s hilarious and strange at the same time.  I also love the College 9/10 meadow in the mornings.  It’s so beautiful and serene.

What do you do to take care of yourself and relax?

If I didn’t engage in some form of regular exercise, I think my brain would permanently remain on overdrive.  Running is particularly effective at helping me live in the moment and feel happy.  Even better is running with my partner and my dogs.  I also love to cook, and to eat good food!

What is one thing you wish you knew as a college student?

Looking back on my college days, I wish I knew of the host of campus resources at my disposal, and that it’s okay to ask for help.  As a first generation college student, I wasn’t aware that it’s normal to ask a professor or TA for help, or to request meetings with my academic and financial aid advisers.  Ironically enough, I didn’t even know there was a student counseling center on campus.  I felt much more at home once I learned how the university system worked, joined a few student organizations, and found others who shared similar life experiences.

Meet Christina Aranda, Postdoctoral Fellow

Today we’re sharing our last staff profile of the year! This is Dr. Christina Aranda, one of two fellows who is currently working at UCSC CAPS. Postdoctoral Fellows are a core part of our staff, not only taking on clinical cases and crisis responsibilities, but also providing ADHD screenings for our tearm. Take a few minutes today to get to know Christina!

Dr. Christina Aranda

Christina Aranda, Ph.D.

What is your position at CAPS, and how long have you been working at UCSC?

I am a postdoctoral fellow at CAPS and began working here August 2013. I am located at Crown College and provide crisis counseling, individual ongoing counseling, and group counseling. I also conduct ADHD screenings and take part in student outreach events. Continue reading

Meet Lauren Lee, Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Lauren Lee is one of our postdoctoral fellows, and the featured clinician this week on our ongoing feature, Meet the CAPS Staff. Postdoctoral fellows hold their doctorate in psychology and hold a one-year, supervised full-time position at CAPS while they work towards licensure. Lauren is an essential part of the CAPS team!

Lauren5

Lauren Lee, Ph.D.

What is your position at CAPS, and how long have you been working at UCSC?

I am a postdoctoral fellow and just started at UCSC this academic year. I provide individual, couples and group therapy to students, as well as outreach to students across campus.

What is your favorite part of your job?

In a given day my duties and responsibility may vary quite a bit, I love the flexibility that I incorporate into each client interaction and task.

Tell our readers about one of your favorite spots on campus or in Santa Cruz.

I don’t have a favorite spot just yet, but I am exploring!

What do you do to take care of yourself and relax?

I spend time with my fur-babies (2 dogs) and enjoy running. I also love to cook and eat good food, so I am open to trying lots of different cuisines.

What is one thing you wish you knew as a college student?

I wish that when I was in college I was more open and aware of all the opportunities available to me. I might have tried for intramural sports of joined more student organizations had I been.

Meet Maya Borgueta, Staff Psychologist

Twice a month, we have been bringing you our ongoing feature, Meet the CAPS Staff, where each staff takes some time to share a bit about themselves. This week, it’s my turn!

Maya Borgueta, Psy.D.

Maya Borgueta, Psy.D.

What is your position at CAPS, and how long have you been working at UCSC?

I am a staff psychologist with a focus on multicultural issues, and I’m located at Porter College. I do individual counseling with students from all different majors, colleges, and backgrounds, and I also really enjoy doing workshops and trainings for students and staff. This year, I’m facilitating a group for Queer and Questioning Women in collaboration with the Cantu Queer Center, and I serve as a staff liaison to the Ethnic Resource Centers, where I provide outreach and consultation. I also have been doing a lot of work on our blog and Facebook page! Continue reading