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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 who specializes in Latinx mental health, sexual trauma, immigrant communities, and first-generation college students. She earned her B.A. and M.A. in Psychology at CSUSM, and her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Her treatment approach 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, attends to experiences of power and oppression, and focuses on empowering clients to heal in ways that are consistent with their sociocultural context. She also emphasizes empathy, compassion, and authentic connection, and uses a Trauma-Informed perspective when working with all clients. Dr. Lim founded the SHCS Health Assistance Fund, and co-founded the Gender Equity Center.

For self-care, Dr. Lim enjoys joyful movement like dancing, yoga, and exercise. She loves to garden and has a bountiful veggie and fruit garden. She enjoys cooking and considers herself a foodie, and can share some great local restaurant recommendations. She enjoys reading and is often in the middle of at least three different books at one time. She is a cat lover and fosters cats and kittens from a local shelter. She is also an extrovert and loves spending time with family and friends.

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 is the coordinator of the MSW Internship Training Program and also provides clinical supervision to the Psychology Interns.

CA Lic. PSY 27441 

Dr. Leah Tappero Dr. Leakhena (Leah) Tappero

Dr. Leakhena (Leah) Tappero (she/her/hers), 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.

Utilizing an integrative therapeutic approach, Dr. Tappero includes interventions from Interpersonal, Emotion-Focused, Cognitive Behavioral and Client Centered therapy in her work with clients. Some of her special interests includes Asian/Asian American mental health, first generation college student concerns, immigrant, refugee, & acculturation issues, and multicultural/diversity 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.

In her free time, Dr. Tappero enjoys spending time with her family and three dogs. She likes watching television shows, reading books on her Kindle, and photography.

CA Lic. PSY 2865

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 Ramos, LCSW 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

Psychology Interns

Emily Essid Emily Essid, MA 

Emily Essid, MA, (she, her, hers) is a Psychology Intern at the CSUSM Student Health and Counseling Services. She 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.

Emily has trained in a wide variety of clinical settings, including an inpatient unit, a community mental health agency, a partial hospitalization program and a long-term psychodynamic outpatient center. She utilizes a psychodynamic lens as well as techniques from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy while providing care to her patients. Areas of interest include depression, anxiety, trauma, relationship issues, identity development, and gender identity. Her research has focused on sexual assaults and trauma, and on the experiences of non-binary individuals in therapy. Emily strives to create a collaborative partnership with her patients, one in which they can feel supported, accepted and heard.

Having grown up in France and often visited her family in Tunisian, she is also bilingual in French and cognizant of Middle Eastern Culture. For self-care, she enjoys cooking, trying new restaurants, going to see plays and movies, walking with her dog and seeing her friends.

Supervised by Dr. Savage

Tomas Frymann Tomas Fryman

Tomas Fryman, as a surfer, academic, meditator, world traveler, student of philosophy, socially-oriented person, and general ‘yes-sayer’ Tomas has explored what it means to live a good life from many angles. His enthusiasm for cultivating and understanding wellness is what guided him to a career in psychology.  His doctoral research at Columbia University in the Psychology and Spirituality lab has been focused on the awareness of ‘Inter-Being’ – which refers to the sense that all people are unique and yet one with the universe. 

He is the founder of the non-profit organization As We Wake, which exists for the purpose of ‘connecting lives at the deepest level of identity’, and carries out its mission via hosting experiences, media production, and social activism rooted in the perspective of Interbeing.  His clinical psychology work has spanned the spectrum from working with healthy individuals who are seeking to improve their lives to working with acutely ill populations in ICU hospital settings.

He has experience working from CBT, IPT, DBT, ACT, family, and psychodynamic orientations.  He has also worked in the field of psychedelic integration, at the Ayahuasca retreat center Rythmia, and with the organization VETS - which serves special operations forces veterans via Ibogaine and 5-MEO-DMT treatments.  Across his work he values bringing forward an authentic and appreciative attitude, and strives to bridge the personal, professional, spiritual, and scientific worlds.

Supervised by Dr. Lim

Kathyria Vega LopezKathyria Vega Lopez

Kathyria Vega-López, MA (she, her, ella), is a bilingual Psychology Intern who provides services in English and Spanish at the CSUSM Student Health and Counseling Services. She earned her B.A. in Forensic Psychology at the University of Puerto Rico- Ponce Campus, and her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Carlos Albizu University (CUA), San Juan Campus in Puerto Rico. She is a doctoral candidate in the Clinical Psychology Psy.D. Program at CUA.

Kathyria utilizes an integrative approach drawing upon cognitive-behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, DBT skills, mindfulness, solution focus, among others. Her areas of interest include transitions, managing stress, anxiety and depression, mindfulness, multicultural/diversity issues including students with disabilities, interpersonal relationships, and suicidal ideation. She emphasizes collaborative and supportive relationships, analyzing the participant's situations with a holistic approach. She is passionate about college student’s mental health and her dissertation was focused on assessing the needs of college students from private and public universities in Puerto Rico. Kathyria is also a certified yoga teacher trained in stress management yoga and trauma-sensitive yoga.

For self-care, she enjoys doing yoga, exercise, journaling, discovering new places and trying new restaurants, cooking and eating Caribbean food, being in contact with nature, and reading.

Supervised by Dr. Robertson-Howell

Claudia Miranda Claudia Miranda, MA

Claudia Miranda, MA (she/ her/ ella)

Miranda is a bilingual queer Chilean American Psychology Intern at the CSUSM Student Health and Counseling Services. Her professional interests and passions include intergenerational trauma, Latinx mental health, and working with first generation college students. She approaches treatment from a multicultural and social justice oriented lens, attending to the unique social and cultural context of each individual.

She earned her B.S. in Psychobiology from UC Davis and is pursuing her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA where she is a Senior Diversity Equity and Inclusion Fellow. As a senior fellow, Claudia advocates for the needs of underrepresented students and aids in the development of recruitment and retention initiatives for historically underrepresented students, specializing in enhancing the support and training of Latine clinicians. She is also the co-founder of a national Students of Color Council where doctoral students from Professional Psychology schools and programs come together for support and to impact systemic change across all programs under the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology.

Claudia has received her clinical training in various settings including High Schools, Universities, and community mental health agencies where she has provided trauma-informed and culturally responsive therapy in Spanish and English. Throughout her training experiences, she has learned to draw strength from her community cultural wealth and strives to empower others to do the same. In her free time, Claudia loves spending time with her teenage son and exploring restaurants with friends and family.

Supervised by Dr. Lim

MSW Social Work Interns

Kevin Baldueza Kevin Baldueza

Kevin Baldueza, is currently a part time Social Work Intern with CSU San Marcos Student Health and Counseling Services. He received his Bachelor of Social Work from CSU San Bernardino and is currently an MSW Student here at CSUSM. Kevin has previously worked with Older/Dependent adults as well as college students in a higher education setting. Kevin is passionate about working with both populations.

Supervised by Dr. Ryan Stevenson and Katie Ramos, LCSW

Rinad Taha Rinad Taha

Rinad Taha is currently a part time Social Work Intern CSUSM's Student Health and Counseling Services. She received her Bachelor's in Political Science from UCSD and is currently a MSW student at CSUSM. Rinad has previously worked with foster youth and is passionate about working with college students and refugees.

Supervised by Dr. Ryan Stevenson and Katie Ramos, LCSW


Student Health & Counseling Services(760) 750-4915shcs@csusm.edu333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd San Marcos, CA 92096-0001 Monday-Friday @ 8:30 am-4:30 pm