Information For

About the Staff

John Segoria, M.S. Director, Disabled Student Services

John received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, and a minor in Sociocultural Anthropology from San Diego State University. After completing his bachelor’s degree, John was admitted into the Master of Science program in Rehabilitation Counseling at San Diego State University. Upon completion of his master’s degree in 1990, John was hired as the Coordinator of Disabled Student Services at California State University San Marcos. As the Director of Disabled Student Services, John believes that all students with disabilities should be given the opportunity to succeed academically and the chance to prove themselves as contributing members of society.

Kara Kornher, Psy.D., Psychologist & Learning Disabilities Specialist

Dr. Kornher was born and raised in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. She attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where she received her BA in Psychology with a minor in Linguistics. She completed her junior year abroad at the University of Exeter in England. Dr. Kornher received her Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology) in Clinical Psychology from the School of Professional Psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. She arrived in San Diego in 1993 to complete her predoctoral internship at Psychological and Counseling Services at UCSD. Prior to joining Disabled Student Services in 1996, Dr. Kornher completed a postdoctoral internship for the L.A. County Sheriff's Department and also practiced at Scripps Hospitals and Vista Balboa Crisis Center. She was awarded tenure at Cal State San Marcos in July, 2000. In addition to her primary role in Disabled Student Services, Dr. Kornher provides supervision for doctoral level psychology interns in Student Health and Counseling Services. She coordinates and supervises the psychological assessment portion of the Student Health and Counseling Services predoctoral internship program.

Michelle Saavedra, M.S., Disability Support Services Counselor for DSS

Michelle Saavedra is a Disability Support Services Counselor at CSUSM. Ms. Saavedra received her BA degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Deaf Studies from California State University of Northridge (CSUN), National Center on Deafness, in 1992. In 2003 Michelle earned a Master of Science degree in Rehabilitation Counseling for the Deaf at San Diego State University (SDSU). In the summer of 2006 Michelle also earned a Certificate in Post-Secondary Educational Leadership for the Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing from SDSU, a Post Graduate Fellowship Program and later began working at CSUSM in the fall of 2006.  Ms. Saavedra has been actively involved with the Deaf Community since 1982. Prior to working with the Deaf Community Michelle worked in the aerospace industry at Rockwell International, now known as Boeing Corporation, in engineering and logistics as a blueprints parts-lister. It was there Michelle learned American Sign Language from deaf co-workers. After attending an interpreter training program in 1987 Michelle began working as a sign language interpreter in the community, colleges and universities throughout Los Angeles County. Ms. Saavedra set up interpreting services in 1988 at Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach preparing the company for the new law (ADA) Americans with Disabilities Act that was going into effect in 1990. Michelle later worked at Goodwill Industries Vocational Training in a Deaf Pilot Program as a voice interpreter and ASL instructor from 1991-1994, and continued working as a freelance Sign Language Interpreter in the community. After re-locating to San Diego, Michelle was a freelance interpreter and taught American Sign Language at Palomar College in 1994, coordinated Employment Placement Services for Deaf Community Services, Inc. of San Diego County from 1997-2002. In 2002 Michelle began working at SDSU as a Career Counselor for students with disabilities while completing her Master’s program in Rehabilitation Counseling at SDSU.

Michelle loves working with people with disabilities in higher education and teaching self-advocacy to students in order to assist the students to develop independence and the life skills needed for success. Michelle likes to spend her free time outdoors as much as possible and at home with her family and friends. Hobbies include jewelry making, caring for animals and working with dogs.

Ben Towns, M.S., M.A, Disabled Student Services Counselor

Ben obtained both a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science degrees in Psychology from the University of Texas at Arlington. Ben is currently working to complete a doctoral program in clinical psychology. Through his graduate training, he has obtained supervised training in a wide variety of mental health settings including a crises center, inpatient/outpatient drug rehabilitation facility, and outpatient community and college counseling centers. At these settings, Ben conducted crisis management, short-term and long-term individual therapy, group therapy, and psychological assessments with adolescents and adults. He has also worked with the special education department at a local high school where he conducted psycho-educational evaluations for determining special education eligibility. Ben has been with Disabled Student Services at CSUSM since 2012.   

Diana Soderbeck, Office Manager & Testing Scheduler

I was born in Corpus Christi, Texas but have lived in California since I was 5. I have lived in San Marcos since 1976, most of the time.  I have watched San Marcos and the CSUSM grow so much and  enjoyed every minute of it. My career life has been built around serving the public.  From working for my parents delivering auto parts, to cosmetology, to administrative assistant in a Casino, Physical Therapy corporation and where I am today. My experience is as diverse as the community within the campus and it serves me well when it comes to going beyond "getting along with people" to being more more available. Having one son in college and one in middle school helps me to be empathetic to the trials and tribulations of the students today. Working in such a caring and encouraging environment as this university makes me want to give as much as possible back to the students.