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Counseling Staff

Director of Counseling and Psychological Services

Allison Peters, Psy.D.     Dr. Allison Peters

Dr. Allison Peters, received her M.A. and Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles, and her B.A. at UC San Diego.  Before coming to CSUSM, Dr. Peters worked clinically with children, adolescents, adults and the elderly in various settings including community mental health centers and in her training at the USC, Cal State Dominguez Hills, and Mount St. Mary’s University student counseling centers.  She was active in program development and administration in community mental health.  She was an instructor of clinical psychology courses at the graduate level and served as the Practicum Training Director for the Clinical Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs at the California School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles.  

Her passion is working with young adults and college students with concerns about anxiety, depression, relationship challenges, transitions, self-esteem, formation of identity, as well as self-injurious thoughts and behaviors. She works from an eclectic perspective, with a belief that the best therapy is ultimately about self-discovery that is best nurtured in a safe and supportive space, free of judgment and guided by the client.  She has a passion for clinical training and clinical supervision. She is the Training Director for the Psychology Internship in Health Service Psychology at SHCS. Dr. Peters provides clinical supervision to Psychology Interns.

CA Lic. PSY24321

Clinical Psychology Staff

John Robertson-Howell  Dr. John "Jay" Robertson Howell

Dr. John “Jay” Robertson-Howell, received his Psy.D. and M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Argosy University – Seattle and his M.S. in Social Work from University of Texas – Austin.  He completed his psychology internship at the University of Washington Counseling Center and has received formalized training in two community mental health clinics, a male adolescent inpatient facility and an alternative high school.  Before joining Cal State San Marcos Student Health and Counseling Services, Dr. Robertson-Howell worked for seven years at Seattle University’s Counseling and Psychological Services. He is a generalist clinically and has expertise, training and experience in college developmental and mental health concerns.  He utilizes an integrative approach for psychotherapy drawing upon psychodynamic, interpersonal, developmental and different cognitive-behavioral therapies.  Areas of special interest include anxiety and depression, mindfulness, men and masculinity, gender and sexual identity, alcohol and substance abuse, couples counseling, multicultural issues, and grief and loss. Dr. Robertson-Howell provides clinical supervision to Psychology Interns.

CA Lic. PSY 25920

Dr. Juan Alvarez Dr. Juan Alvarez

Dr. Juan Alvarez, is a bilingual counselor who provides student services in English and Spanish. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at Washington State University, and his B.A. in Cognitive Science at the University of California, Irvine. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Student Health and Counseling Services at California State University San Marcos, and an American Psychological Association accredited psychology internship in Health Service Psychology at the University of Northern Colorado Counseling Center.

Dr. Alvarez is passionate about college mental health and has worked in college mental health centers in Washington, Idaho, Colorado, and California. He specializes in providing multi-culturally competent services to students. He is a generalist clinically and has experience working with a variety of presenting concerns typical of the college student population, including anxiety, depression, identity development, relationship issues, transitions, and sexual identity. Dr. Alvarez has experience providing individual, group, and couples therapy. He utilizes an integrative approach drawing from humanistic psychology, cognitive-behavioral therapy, narrative therapy, mindfulness, and self-compassion.
Dr. Alvarez provides clinical supervision to Psychology Interns.

CA Lic. PSY 30185

Dr. Lissa Lim Dr. Lissa Lim

Dr. Lissa Lim,  is a bilingual counselor. She earned her B.A. and M.A. in Psychology at CSUSM, and her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She has experience working in university counseling centers, community mental health, rape crisis centers, and private practice. She has also taught in the Psychology Department at CSUSM, and co-founded the CSUSM Gender Equity Center.

Dr. Lim’s has experiences providing bilingual therapy in English and Spanish in individual and group therapy. She specializes in trauma, Latinx mental health, and multicultural issues. Her theoretical orientation is Integrative, rooted in Feminist-Multicultural, Interpersonal, and Person-Centered therapy. What this means for clients is that she attends to the ways relationships shape and affect us, attend to experiences of power and oppression and focuses on empowering clients to heal in ways that are consistent with their values. She also emphasizes empathy, compassion, and authentic connection, and uses a Trauma-Informed perspective when working with all clients. Dr. Lim loves working with students of diverse backgrounds and believes everyone has the power to heal and grow. Dr. Lim provides clinical supervision to Psychology Interns.

CA Lic. PSY  30077
Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP)

 Dr. Tamara Savage Dr. Tamara Savage

Dr. Tamara Savage graduated with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1993. She worked primarily in the Washington State area before moving to San Diego.  Dr. Savages' s varied experience includes working at the University of Tennessee's Student Counseling Center, Jewish Family Services, and Western State Hospital. Her interests include young adult populations, women’s issues, sports psychology, domestic violence, rape/sexual assault, relationship issues and the supervision and training of graduate level psychology students.  Presently, Dr. Savage is the coordinator of the Clinical Training Program at the CSUSM Counseling Center. Dr. Savage provides clinical supervision to Psychology Interns.

CA Lic. PSY 17552

 Dr. Ryan Stevenson Dr. Ryan Stevenson

Dr. Ryan Stevenson, received his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology and his Masters of Social Work from the University of Utah. He completed his psychology internship at the UC – Santa Barbara’s Counseling and Psychological Services and his post-doctoral fellowship at UC – San Diego’s Counseling and Psychological Services. He has experience working in university counseling centers, community mental health, rape crisis centers, and private group practice. Prior to joining CSUSM’s Student Health and Counseling Services he worked at UCSD, the VA in San Diego, and on a clinical trial treating veterans with PTSD. He also taught a course called Strategies for Academic Success for three years in graduate school and he enjoys helping students with these skills in therapy and in campus workshops.

Dr. Stevenson has experience providing individual, group, and couples therapy. He utilizes an integrative approach drawing from interpersonal, mindfulness, feminist-multicultural, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Areas of special interest include PTSD/trauma, working with veterans/service members, anxiety, depression, mindfulness, multicultural issues, men and masculinity, conflicts around religion and spirituality, performance psychology, and substance abuse. Dr. Stevenson enjoys working with students from diverse backgrounds and providing a safe space for healing and growth. Dr. Stevenson provides clinical supervision to Psychology Interns.

CA Lic. PSY 27441 

 Dr. Leah Tappero Dr. Leakhena (Leah) Tappero

Dr. Leakhena (Leah) Tappero, received her B.A. and M.A. degrees in Psychology from San Diego State University. After enjoying much sunshine for most of her life, she moved to the Pacific Northwest and got to experience all four seasons and learned to love coffee and hiking. She received her M.S. in Counseling, Family and Human Services and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Oregon. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at California State University, Long Beach Counseling and Psychological Services. She completed her post-doctoral residency at the University of California, San Diego Counseling and Psychological Services, where she also previously worked as a staff psychologist. 

Dr. Tappero is passionate about College Mental Health and serving and supporting members of underrepresented and marginalized populations. She has worked with college students at university counseling centers and in private practice providing individual and group therapy. She utilizes an integrative therapeutic approach that includes interventions from Interpersonal Process Therapy, Emotion-Focused Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Humanistic Psychology, and mindfulness. Dr. Tappero has special interests in Asian/Asian American mental health, first generation college student issues, immigrant, refugee, & acculturation issues, interpersonal relationships, managing depression & anxiety, multicultural/diversity issues, and women's issues.

When working with Dr. Tappero she helps clients explore and examine how relational, social, educational, and cultural factors impact life experiences. She takes a holistic view and adapt her roles to meet clients’ needs, creating a safe, supportive, and accepting space for clients to feel empowered to make decisions about their life. Dr. Tappero believes that therapy can help clients work towards creating positive changes to heal and live authentically.

CA Lic. PSY 2865

 Dr. Alex Thibeault Dr. Alex Thibeault

Dr. Alex Thibeault, received an M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an M.Ed. from Alliant International University. He has certifications in individual therapy, couples therapy and psychological assessment through Veterans Health Administration, The Gottman Institute, and California Community Colleges. He is also a Diplomate of the American Board of School Neuropsychology. He completed predoctoral internship at New Mexico Veterans Affairs and postdoctoral residency at University of California, San Diego.

Dr. Thibeault has experience in university counseling centers, community mental health, hospitals, school districts, and private practice with folks from a variety of cultural backgrounds including students of all ages, immigrant and refugee youth, veterans, working professionals, and couples. He also has a background in teaching and runs groups and workshops. Dr. Thibeault values the well-being of the whole person and offers an encouraging environment to develop skills, enhance insight, and leverage strengths. It is important to Dr. Thibeault that each client feels supported and therefore collaborates to develop customized plans for counseling based on personal and family culture, positive psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), interpersonal therapy, motivational interviewing (MI), mindfulness, integrative behavioral couple therapy (IBCT) and Gottman strategies. When not in the office, Dr. Thibeault enjoys any outdoor activity under the SoCal sun.

 CA License #PSY30494

 Dr. Kara Kornher Dr. Kara Kornher

Dr. Kara Kornher, Psychologist and Learning Disabilities (LD) Specialist with Disabled Student Services, serves as CAPS' primary testing supervisor in addition to providing clinical supervision for interns. Dr. Kornher received her B.A. in Psychology from the College of William and Mary in Virginia, and her Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from the School of Professional Psychology at Wright State University in Ohio. She moved to California to complete a psychology internship at UCSD's Psychological & Counseling Services. Her diverse professional experience prior to coming to Cal State San Marcos in 1996 includes working in a correctional facility, university counseling center, community mental health clinic, crisis center, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, and Scripps Hospital. Areas of professional interest in addition to psychological assessment include women's issues and humanistic psychology. 

Dr. Kornher provides secondary clinical supervision to Psychology Interns

Clinical Case Manager

Katie Katie Ramos, LCSW

Katie Ramos, LCSW received her double major bachelor's degree in Human Development and Criminal Justice Studies in 2010 from CSUSM. Katie then went on to obtain her Masters in Social Work at CSUSM and was in the first graduating cohort. Katie became a LCSW in August 2018. Katie has focused much of her career working in community based organizations with former foster youth and young adults who are at risk of homelessness or who are currently experiencing homelessness. Katie is passionate about linking individuals to resources in the community and has a strong sense of community. Katie works in a way to teach individuals techniques in advocacy to one day become their own case manager. Katie's approach is empowering, empathetic, and trauma informed.

CA LCSW # 85336

Mental Health Educator

Cheryl Berry Cheryl Berry, M.A.

Cheryl Berry, M.A., received her master’s degree from Boston University, where she provided educational counseling to minority students matriculating across ten undergraduate colleges.  Before coming to CSUSM, Cheryl had oversight for policy, programs and budget for Federal and State health agencies.  Her professional career includes experience in public health at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA); and behavioral health at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), where she managed prevention and early-intervention grant programs focused on minority health with State agencies, colleges and universities, and community-based organizations.  Her professional interests include:  eating disorders, suicide prevention, and stigma reduction.  Cheryl is a certified trainer for Mental Health First Aid, ASIST and safeTALK. 

 Psychology Interns

 Alicia Hefley Alicia Hefley, MA

Alicia Hefley, MA, is a Psychology Intern for the CSUSM Student Health and Counseling Center.  She received her Master's degree from Argosy University-Orange County, and is currently a doctoral candidate from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Irvine.  Alicia has received formal training in a wide variety of clinical settings, including in a community mental health clinic, psychiatric hospital, and at a community college counseling center.  She has worked with adults and adolescents from diverse backgrounds with concerns ranging from anxiety and depression, trauma, personality disorders, and psychotic disorders.  However, her main interest is to continue working with college students and helping them navigate the challenges of college life in order to reach graduation and succeed beyond. 

Alicia strives to connect with her clients and work collaboratively with them throughout treatment. She aims to provide her clients with a sense of autonomy and agency, empowering them to make changes for more fulfilling and enriched lives.

Supervised by Dr. Robertson-Howell

Eva Kram Eva Kram, MMFT

Eva Kram, MMFT is a psychology intern at CSUSM Student Health and Counseling Services. She is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Pepperdine University. Eva’s passion in psychology is working with diverse individuals going through important transitional periods. Through her dissertation research and resource development, she is particularly knowledgeable of ways to help college transfer students succeed in their academic transition. Additionally, she is interested in continuing to enhance her knowledge pertaining to providing treatment for those struggling with anxiety, mood disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and trauma-related disorders. Eva generally approaches therapy from a cognitive-behavioral perspective and focuses on instilling hope, providing psychoeducation, generating insight, and teaching valuable tools for students to take once they leave. She also incorporates acceptance and commitment therapy into her work as a way of helping students live a life congruent with their personal values.

Eva has extensive experience working with individuals from many backgrounds, age groups, and presenting concerns. She has provided mental health services in multiple modalities including individual, couples, family, and group therapy. Eva aims to provide a safe, supportive space that meets students’ unique needs, preferences, and comfort level.

Supervised by Dr. Lim

Autumn Lewis Autumn Lewis, M.A.

Autumn Lewis, Psychology Intern, received her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP), San Diego. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate in the Clinical Psychology Psy.D. Program at CSPP. Her clinical experiences encompass training in multiple settings. These include couple therapy, inpatient psychiatric care, long-term psychodynamic therapy, and substance use treatment. Autumn utilizes a relational psychodynamic approach, meaning that relationship patterns which present themselves in everyday life are also present in the therapeutic relationship.

Autumn is passionate about forging a collaborative partnership with her patients, one in which problems and suffering can be addressed together. Emotional suffering can be incredibly painful and isolative. Autumn strives to be a trustworthy confidant who can help to alleviate past wounds in order to promote healing and growth within her patients.

Supervised by Dr. Savage

Katie Rhodes  Katie Rhodes, M.A.

Katie Rhodes,  is a pre-doctoral psychology intern at the Cal State San Marcos Student Health and Counseling Services Center. She completed her Bachelor of Science at James Madison University. She is pursuing her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at California School of Professional Psychology, where she previously earned her Master of Arts. Katie has clinical experience in the realm of health psychology, and uses evidence-based treatments for eating, anxiety, mood, and trauma-related disorders. Her research examines the interactions of biological and psychological factors on the development and maintenance of vicarious trauma Outside of work, Katie enjoys swimming in the ocean, traveling, and spending time with her pug, Louie.

Supervised by Dr. Stevenson


MSW Social Work Interns

Kendell Follett Kendell Follett

Kendell Follett is currently a Social Work Intern at CSUSM’s Student Health and Counseling Services. She received her Bachelor’s in Psychology from ASU and is currently a MSW student at CSUSM. Kendell has experience working with  both foster youth and teens with mood and anxiety disorders. She is passionate about using an empowering approach to help people move in the right direction toward resources and healing. 

Supervised by Dr. Stevenson

Chista Wencl Christa Wencl, M.S.

Christa Wencl is currently a part time Social Work Intern at CSUSM’s Student Health and Counseling Services while also holding the dual role of part time role of Sexual Violence Advocate & Educator. She received her Bachelor of Elective Studies from St. Cloud State University as well as a Master of Science with an emphasis in Social Responsibility. Christa is currently an MSW student at San Jose State University. Christa has experience working with adults, mostly college aged who have experienced sexual trauma as well as folks living with serious mental illness. She is passionate about using a strengths-based, empowerment, feminist and transcultural approach to support people in healing and growth.

Supervised by Katie Ramos