Meet Our Staff and Therapists

The Mental Health and Wellness Center is staffed by therapists from Bay Area Clinical Psychology Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs. These practicum interns are supervised by William Firmender, Ph.D.  

How to make an appointment

Suzanna Ramirez, Administrative Assistant (she/her)

Available: | Monday - Thursday 8:30am- 5:30pm | Friday 8:30am-2pm|

Suzanna, AdminSuzanna is the administrative assistant of the Mental Health and Wellness Center at De Anza College, where she is also a proud alum. She has an associate degree in Liberal Arts - Social & Behavioral Science Emphasis, as well as an Associate in Communication Studies for transfer. Suzanna looks forward to continuing her education to receive a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. She is passionate about helping her community and providing support to students in need. Her dedication started in 2012 helping low income students within after school programs creating a safe space for them. Suzanna started working a temp position for Psychological Services at De Anza in 2019, which led her to a full time position. Her devotion is making resources available to her team and students about mental health. She is a proud fur mom to a maltipoo named Mela, who she adores and spoils.  Suzanna is an outstanding employee who is compassionate and empathetic to her students and staff.

William Firmender, Ph.D. (he/him) - Director 

Available: |Monday - Thursday 10 am - 5:30 pm|

Firmender - DirectorDr. Firmender is a licensed psychologist and the Director of the Mental Health and Wellness Center at De Anza College.  He moved to California after spending his childhood, adolescence, and early adult years in South Carolina, Washington, D.C., and New York City.  His clinical and research interests include diversity and community mental health, public policy, program development and evaluation, and therapeutic sports interventions.  He has a great deal of experience helping clients deal with stressful life transitions.  Using a combination of humanistic, behavioral, and attachment approaches to psychotherapy, he aims to help clients feel comfortable with themselves, feel less self-critical, and feel capable of making and maintaining meaningful life changes.  Such changes are based on substantive collaboration with clients to create tangible, realistic, and attainable goals.

Kimberly "Kim" Lee, Psy.D. (she/her)

Available: |Tuesday & Wednesday|

KImberly - PTF 2022Dr. Lee is a recent graduate from the Doctor of Clinical Psychology program at NU's JFK School of Psychology. She received her B.S. in psychology from Saint Mary’s College of California and her M.A. in Clinical Psychology during her graduate program. Dr. Lee has experience working at a variety of settings providing individual, dyadic, and group therapy across most life developmental stages using strength-based and trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). She has also treated a variety of clinical issues including but not limited to various types of trauma (e.g., PTSD, complex trauma), mood disorders (e.g., anxiety, depression), the spectrum of psychotic disorders, self-esteem issues, acculturation difficulties, cultural discrimination, multigenerational differences/individuation, family and relationship stress, as well as complex grief.
Dr. Lee is passionate about increasing accessibility to mental health services for marginalized communities and providing trauma-informed care. She aims to spread awareness of invisible disabilities, as well as promote social justice for discriminated, stereotyped, and marginalized populations. Additionally, she is passionate about the benefits of animals in mental health treatment, as well as animal rights. Dr. Lee is the mother of a rescued American Staffordshire Terrier mix, Roxy, who is in training to be her service dog. Just as with her clients, Dr. Lee seeks social justice for stereotyped and discriminated dog breeds, since Roxy is often mislabeled as dangerous and a "pitbull". Together they are working to break stereotypes and presumptions of people with disabilities and service animals

Alan Palmer, M.S. (He/Him/His)

Available: |Monday & Friday|

Alan PalmberAlan Palmer is a fourth year Ph.D. Candidate at Palo Alto University (PAU). Originally from Pasadena, California, Alan received his A.A degree in Psychology at Pasadena City College, then, he transferred to the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he earned his B.A. in Psychology. During the pursuit of his doctoral degree at PAU, Alan has obtained his M.S. in Clinical Psychology while conducting and contributing to research studies addressing mental health disparities presented in marginalized communities. Also, he has delivered psychological services to young adult populations utilizing a variety of therapeutic approaches to resolve clinical issues and has facilitated group discussions in the area of Diversity and Community Mental Health. As a mental health professional, Alan’s mission is to expand his cultural humility and promote a state of well-being for clients in hopes they can build on their own abilities to overcome adversity.

Anita Vazifdar, MMFT, LMFT #110606 (she/her)

Available: |Monday & Tuesday 5pm-6pm|

AnitaAnita is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She holds a Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern California, and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from University of Wisconsin – Madison. Anita is passionate about empowering young adults to find their authentic selves, increase self-esteem, and build coping skills to overcome life’s difficulties. As a bi-cultural individual, she understands the significance of cultural identity, & works from a client-centered approach to create a strong and compassionate alliance with her clients. She works with individuals to develop their unique cultural identities and make sense of the world and society around them.   

Much of her experience has focused on working with young adults transitioning from adolescence to adulthood. She fosters a supportive environment for young adults to explore the difficulties that surface during this challenging phase of life. In her own life she has seen the significant impact of a mindfulness practice and utilizes this approach in her work to promote emotional regulation and emphasize the importance of living more fervently in the present moment. Anita is trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, which is an evidence-based practice that incorporates mindfulness techniques with other coping skills to ease emotional distress, increase interpersonal effectiveness, and increase emotional well-being. Specialties: Individual and group psychotherapy; creating coping skills for anxiety, depression, and trauma; working with college-age young adults to overcome life-transition obstacles; women’s empowerment; and supporting individuals with disabilities.

Brian Lippincott, Ph.D. (he/him)

Available:  |Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday|

Dr. LippincottBrian Lippincott Ph.D is a Psychologist and Supervisor for the Mental Health and Wellness Center at De Anza College. Dr. Lippincott earned his Bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s College of California in 1978 in the Integral Curriculum of the Liberal Arts which is a Great Books program. He immediately went on to John F Kennedy University to earn his Master’s degree in Psychology in 1981 and eventually matriculated to Pacifica Graduate Institute where he earned his doctorate degree in 1992 with a specialization in depth psychology. Dr. Lippincott is both a licensed marriage family therapist and licensed clinical psychologist in the state of California. He has had a private practice since 1985. Dr. Lippincott returned to John F Kennedy University in 1992 and has been a faculty since then teaching every quarter in either the masters in psychology program for MFT, LPCC program or in the PsyD program.Dr. Lippincott has taught a wide variety of classes ranging from clinical case seminar, group process and other clinical classes to research and advanced research. Dr. Lippincott spent 20 years working in community mental health where he was the supervisor of the transition age youth program for Monterey County which dealt with first episode psychosis. In 2013 Dr. Lippincott founded the Center for Humanistic Development, a training center in Aptos, Watsonville and Salinas California, which trains practicum students and interns in Humanistic psychology and Creative Depth Psychology (CDP.) CDP embraces the ideas of Jung and others regarding the depth of the human spirit and has a holistic approach. It also involves depth perception in the outer world and is a community-based psychology aligned with the work of Michael White and David Epston in Narrative therapy. 

Derrick E Felton, MSW, MPA, MBA (he/him)

Available:|Tuesday & Thursday 12pm to 5pm|

Derrick-PTFMr. Felton is an Army Veteran and originally hails from Mississippi. Previously, he has worked at the Department of Veterans Affairs Readjustment Counseling Services. He is currently a part-time faculty member with the Social Sciences & Humanities Division, teaching Psychology Classes, as well as being the Veteran Liaison Social Worker with Vitas Healthcare.  Mr. Felton has experience in trauma, depression, and anxiety. He has run several men’s groups, covering numerous relevant topics, and offers a mindful approach to coping strategies. Mr. Felton recently joined the Mental Health and Wellness Center in Spring 2020.

Jakob Hopper,B.A. (he/him)

Available: Thursday & Friday

Jakob HopperJakob graduated from Portland State University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and is currently a third-year Ph.D. student at Palo Alto University. He has experience practicing as a student therapist at a specialty clinic that offered affordable and affirming psychological services for LGBTQ+ individuals. He is pursuing a career focused broadly on community mental health, with a particular emphasis on work with LGBTQ+ folks and people struggling with various forms of trauma. However, he has past experience working with a variety of people and is more than happy to work with individuals outside of these specific areas. Beyond that, when not in the therapy room, he can often be found working on a research project for a neuropsychology lab or potentially playing video games to scratch his gamer itch.

Mariel Alano, M.A. (she/her)

Available: |Thursday & Friday|

Mariel A-PTFMariel is a fourth-year student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at Palo Alto University. She received her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Human Development from the University of California, Davis and completed her M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. She recently completed clinical training at the Gronowski Center’s Sexual and Gender Identities Clinic (SGIC) where she was trained in feminist therapy and worked with individuals identifying as LGBTQ+. She is passionate about working with historically marginalized populations particularly racial and cultural minorities, sexual and gender minorities, and immigrant communities.

Veronica Cortez

Available: |Monday - Friday|


Veronica has a Master's in Social Work and is working toward licensure in becoming a Licensed Clinical Social WorkerVeronica is a bilingual and bicultural Mexican-American therapist. This has allowed her to develop a high level of attunement to the needs and challenges people may face based on their diverse and unique backgrounds. She is a De Anza alum and played soccer while attending De Anza. 

Veronica has many years of experience working with clients dealing with depression, anxiety, life transitions, PTSD and/or trauma-related symptoms, as she has experience working in the community mental health field working with the foster youth population and children who have an IEP. Veronica is a firm believer in people's ability to identify solutions to their problems. What you will experience with Veronica are an atmosphere of acceptance, empathy, and a non-judgmental approach. Additionally, Veronica will encourage you to define goals for yourself and work towards achieving and/or exceeding them. It is Veronica's passion to help all people who might be going through a difficult time and/or have experienced trauma.

Eric Uhl

Available: |Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday|

Eric -InternEric Uhl is a fifth-year Ph.D. Candidate at Palo Alto University (PAU). Eric grew up in the Pennsylvania Wilds, after which he moved to Missouri and completed B.A. degrees in Psychology and Sociology at Lindenwood University. After relocating to California to pursue a doctoral degree at PAU, Eric earned an M.S. in Clinical Psychology while researching suicidality and the application of theory in clinical settings. Throughout his training experiences, he has worked as a full-time crisis counselor and mental health provider for school-aged adolescents. Additionally, he has worked in several community mental health settings providing services to under-resourced populations. As a mental health professional, Eric’s mission is to offer client’s a safe and emotionally validating space to facilitate collaborative personal growth and grow comfortable with their own authenticity.

Ido Tzivion, B.A.

Available: |Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday|

Ido -InternIdo is a third-year student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at Palo Alto University. He received his B.A. in Psychology with a minor in philosophy from the University of Mississippi. Ido has experience working in outpatient and inpatient settings providing individual and group therapy. He incorporates a variety of therapeutic modalities into his work, borrowing principles and skills from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), positive psychology, and mindfulness. Ido is passionate about advocating for and working with individuals with marginalized diagnoses such as borderline personality disorder, ADHD, and depersonalization-derealization disorder. When off the clock, you can find him playing soccer with his corgi at the park, making music, or playing video games. 

Jessica (Jess) Lin, MS (she/her)

Available: |Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday|

Jess -InternJess double majored in Psychology (B.A.) and Sociology (B.A.) at the University of California, Santa Barbara with a minor in Education and Applied Psychology. 

As a fourth-year Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student at Palo Alto University, Jess is studying experiences at the intersection of multiple minoritized identities and conducting research addressing related mental health disparities. She has worked in a variety of clinical settings and utilizes interpersonal, values-based, and person-centered therapeutic techniques. When freed of responsibilities, you can find her tending to her houseplants, hiking with her adopted dog Jingle, and checking out fun, new food spots.

Kaitlin Snyder, B.A. (she/her)

Available: |Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday|

Kaitilin -InternKaitlin graduated from Rollins College in Orlando, FL with a B.A. in Psychology and is currently a third-year Ph.D. student in Clinical Psychology at Palo Alto University. Kaitlin recently completed specialized clinical training at the Gronowski Center's Sexual and Gender Identities Clinic (SGIC) where she provided affirmative therapy with individuals identifying as LGQBT+. She also provides evidence-based therapy with adult survivors of trauma and grief at the Early Intervention Clinic, a research clinic at Palo Alto University. Although Kaitlin is passionate about working with individuals who have experienced a traumatic event, she is also enthusiastic about working with college students who may be struggling with depression, anxiety, stress, and relationship difficulties.

Mitchell Rees, M.S.

Available: |Monday, Wednesday, & Thursday|

Mitchell -InternMitchell Rees received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from University of California Santa Cruz and is currently a fourth year Ph.D. student in Clinical Psychology at Palo Alto University. Mitchell centers his work around the idea that each client is the expert of their life, and therefore should be the guide of their therapy experience. Mitchell has served a range of populations including high school students, homeless adults, adults with schizophrenia, and college students. He has found a passion for working with college and university students due to the rewarding nature of processing the range of life-transitions that students face during this time. In his free time Mitchell enjoys pursuing physical fitness, meditation, hiking outdoors, making playlists, and caring for his two adorable pet rats Sigmund and Abraham

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