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Meet Our Full-Time Faculty


A. Sheer-Cohen

Phone: (760) 750-7379
Office: ELB 643
Alison Scheer-Cohen, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Professor, Department Chair, and Director of MS in SLP

Before joining California State University, San Marcos in Fall 2013, Dr. Scheer-Cohen worked as a speech-language pathologist in both the hospital setting and private practice. She was also a lecturer at San Diego State University and a visiting instructor at the University of Iowa. In both academic positions, she taught courses, supervised graduate students in clinic, and engaged in multiple research projects. Dr. Scheer-Cohen's primary research interests include the speech of children with sensorimotor speech and low-incidence disorders, in addition to typical speech acquisition.



Phone: 760-750-6545
Office: ELB 648
Ashley Brien, Ph.D., CCC/SLP

Assistant Professor

Dr. Brien is an Assistant Professor who joined CSUSM in 2021. She worked as a school-based speech language pathologist with children in preschool through sixth grade with Complex Communication Needs and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She has experience teaching courses on cognition & language and research methods. She currently teaches courses on child & adolescent language disorders and social cognition/social communication, and her research focuses on supporting episodic memory and social cognition in children and adolescents with ASD. Dr. Brien received her Ph.D. in Interprofessional Health Sciences with a concentration in Communication Sciences and Disorders, her M.S., in Communication Sciences and Disorders, and her B.A. in Psychology and English from the University of Vermont.


Laura Coca

Phone: (760) 750-6140
Office: ELB 645
Laura Coca, M.A., CCC/SLP

Director of Clinical Education

Prior to joining the faculty at CSUSM in 2014, Laura Coca practiced speech-language pathology at a local community hospital specializing in brain injury rehabilitation. Laura is currently the Director of Clinical Education. She also lectures on topics focusing on the areas of acquired cognitive, language and motor speech disorders in adults. Laura has served as the lead supervisor at the CSUSM Speech-Language Clinic and has led the development and implementation of the Youth Justice Clinic in collaboration with the Fresno County Public Defender’s Office


L. Heisler

Phone: (760) 750-8596
Office: ELB 640
Dr. Lori Heisler, Ph.D., CCC/SLP-L


Dr. Heisler joined Cal State San Marcos in Fall 2010; her areas of specialization are in child language disorders and child phonology. Dr. Heisler has extensive years of international clinical experience working in a children's rehab center, private practice and in public schools. Her research interests center around the interaction of speech and language in production processes, improving public education outcomes for infants and children from multicultural and multilingual populations and teaching and learning.


S. Moineau

Phone: (760) 750-8505
Office: ELB 639
Dr. Suzanne Moineau, Ph.D., CCC/SLP-L

Professor and Associate Chair

Dr. Moineau joined the faculty at CSUSM in January 2006 to design, develop and launch the graduate, undergraduate and post-baccalaureate programs in speech-language pathology. Her areas of expertise and teaching are in the neuroscience of communication and swallowing, acquired language disorders in adults, dysphagia, and anatomy and physiology of the speech and hearing mechanism. Her research interests focus on the nature of acquired language and swallowing disorders, and scholarship of teaching and learning in the field of speech-language pathology. She has extensive experience working as a medical speech-language pathologist in acute care settings, with a focus on intensive care.


 K. Nahrstedt

Phone: (760) 750-8792
Office: ELB 641
Kristen Nahrstedt, M.A., ClinScD, CCC-SLP

Director of Simulation, Clinical Supervisor, and Lecturer Faculty

Dr. Nahrstedt joined Cal State San Marcos in July 2012; prior to that, she practiced speech-language pathology in both the medical and education sectors. Her areas of focus include clinical education, simulation, and working with culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Dr. Nahrstedt serves as the clinical simulation coordinator, teaches in the undergraduate and graduate programs and supervises the English Pronunciation Clinic. She has experience in early intervention settings, school settings, skilled nursing facilities, hospital settings, academic instruction, and supervision.


R. Nortz

Phone: (760) 750-7381
Office: ELB 642
Rachel Nortz, M.A., CCC/SLP

BS/Prep Coordinator, Clinical Placement Coordinator, and Lecturer Faculty

Rachel joined California State University, San Marcos in Spring of 2014 as a part-time lecturer and then as a full-time lecturer in 2017. Prior to this appointment, Rachel was a lead public school speech-language pathologist. She also has clinical experience in early intervention, private practice, telehealth and supervision. Rachel's areas of focus are pediatric language disorders, bilingualism, law & ethics, professional issues, and diversity, inclusion, and equity in schools. Rachel is the coordinator for the CSUSM Speech-Language Pathology-Assistant Program. She is also the faculty advisor for National Student Speech-Language and Hearing Association Chapter on campus. Rachel received her M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology from San Jose State University, and her B.A. in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences from San Diego State University.  



Phone: (760) 750-6543
Office: ELB 646
Dorothy Yang, Ph.D., CCC/SLP 

Assistant Professor

Dr. Yang joined the Speech-Language Pathology Department at California State University, San Marcos in the Fall of 2021. Prior to this, she served as a lecturer at several local universities, providing both in-person and online instruction to graduate and undergraduate students in communication science and disorders. She has also worked as a clinician in the hospital setting and has experience delivering in-person and tele- care on an inpatient and outpatient basis. Her clinical and research interests include language processing and motor speech production in adults and the rehabilitation of these functions in individuals with acquired neurogenic communication disorders.