Meet the Counselors

The Counseling Services Division has 14 full time generalist counselors and several part time counselors who in addition to teaching classes, provide personsal, academic, and career counseling services to students.

Saddleback College Full Time Generalist Counselors

Saddleback College Part Time Counselors
  • Maryam Afshari
  • JoAnn Alford (Emeritus)
  • Abigail Astley
  • Hollis Casey
  • Camille DeSopo
  • Mario Escalente
  • Dr. Pete Espinosa (Emeritus)
  • Eric Garcia
  • Michelle Gustafson
  • Melissa Hughes-Mandani
  • Leslie Humphrey-Quirk
  • Bob Jacobsen (Emeritus)
  • Phong Luong
  • Kara McCann
  • Mary Mc Carthy
  • Dennis Minder
  • Rebecca Morgan
  • Lynn Nusbaum-Haines
  • Miki Mikolajczak (Emeritus)
  • Dr. Rich Potratz (Emeritus)
  • Amanda Romero
  • Clara Ross
  • Cindy Sorensen
  • Lisa Tran
  • Dan Weber

JoAnn Alford, Counselor/Professor Emeritus (1985)

JoAnn Alford

M.S., University of Central Oklahoma - Special Education: Guidance & Counseling
B.S., Northwestern Oklahoma State University - Elementary Education

Professor Alford has been a community college counselor for many years. She started at Saddleback College in 1985 as the counselor/coordinator of the vocational assessment center before moving to the ranks of general counseling. She is now on reassignment as the College Matriculation Coordinator. Since coming to Saddleback College Professor Alford has enjoyed teaching Applied Psychology classes, being a member of the Crisis Intervention Team and serving as the counselor for athletes. She provides personal and career counseling and academic advising to students. Prior to her community college experience she worked as a certified psychometrics, a fifth grade teacher, an elementary school counselor, and a recreation leader. She feels that her diversity of experience has helped her appreciate the variety of educational and career goals that are the hallmark of the community college student.


Dr. Maryam Azary, Counselor/Professor (1990)

Maryam Azary

Psy.D., Alliant International University - Marital and Family Therapy
M.S., California State University, Los Angeles - Counseling Psychology
B.A., Texas Southern University - Psychology

Dr. Azary began at Saddleback College in 1990. She holds a Doctorate degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Marital and Family Therapy. She enjoys teaching Women Studies 120, Applied Psychology 160 and 140. In addition to her work as a Generalist Counselor, Maryam has enjoyed acting as Co-editor of the Saddleback College Student Handbook as well as working as a counselor in Special Services. She is currently coordinating the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) at Saddleback College and is a Co-chair of the Mental health Task Force Program. She respects and is sensitive to the diverse need of student population. Maryam is bilingual and bicultural (Farsi- English).


Doug Barr, Counselor/Professor (1991)

Doug Barr

M.S., Miami University - Personnel Counseling
B.S., Miami University - Business Finance

Professor Barr provides career, personal and academic counseling services to all students.  Doug's experience in education spans nearly 40 years.  He has been at Saddleback College since 1991 and a counselor/professor since 1998. Doug is also the counseling liaison with Nursing/Health Sciences and is also a participant in The College Crisis Intervention Team.  Professor Barr teaches AP160, Career Exploration and describes it as potentially “life-changing” for motivated students.  Learn more of him & the class he teaches via his faculty we page:  /faculty/dbarr


Pam Barr, Counselor/Professor (1992)

Pam Barr

M.S., California State University, Fullerton - Counseling
M.A.T., Cornell University - Master's in the Art of Teaching
B.S., Cornell University - Human Ecology

Professor Barr joined the Saddleback faculty in August 1992. Her responsibilities include generalist counseling, with special focus on student success strategies and probation students. Pam enjoys the diversity of the community college population, ranging from recent high school graduates to re-entry adults. She is available for academic, career and personal counseling during her sessions with students. In addition to counseling, she is a current member of the Academic Standards Committee, the Academic Senate and Curriculum committee.


Sarah Chang, Counselor/Assistant Professor (2012 )

Sarah Chang

M.A., University of San Diego – Counseling
B.A., University of California, Irvine – Psychology and Social Behavior

Like many of you, Sarah Chang began her education in the California Community College system where she then transferred to UCI and completed her Bachelors Degree, continued on, and earned her Masters Degree in Counseling from USD. Her counseling experiences in higher education began at Saddleback when she joined the college in 2004, and have expanded to UC Irvine, Coastline Community College and Long Beach City College. Within these settings, prior to becoming full-time, she worked as a counselor in the Transfer Center and EOP&S departments, as well as with projects that focused on peer-mentoring, Career & Technical Education, and high school students. As a counselor, Sarah provides academic, personal, and career counseling to students as well as teaches Applied Psychology courses both online and in the classroom. She enjoys snowboarding, eating and trying new cuisines, and working with students to help them reach their goals!


Jerilyn Chuman, Dean, Counseling Services and Special Services (1980)

Jerilyn Chuman

M.A., Azusa Pacific College - Social Sciences - MFT
B.A., California State University, Fresno - Sociology

Dean Chuman has worn many hats at Saddleback College and is currently the Dean of Counseling Services and Special Programs. She began her work here at Saddleback in 1979 in the ReEntry Center. She graduated from California State University Fresno and later pursued graduate work at the California Family Study Center and Azusa Pacific College. In addition to her many responsibilities as Dean of the division, she also provides academic, career and personal counseling services to students.


Dr. Mariana DeSaracho, Counselor/Professor (1991)

Counselor Dr. Mariana DeSaracho

Ed.D., University of Southern California - Education
M.Ed., San Diego State University - Multicultural Counseling
B.S., San Diego State University - Business Administration - Marketing

Dr. DeSaracho has been a full-time counselor and Professor of Applied Psychology at Saddleback College since 1991. She is is bi-cultural and bi-lingual (English/Spanish). She provides personal, academic or career counseling in both languages. Mariana truly enjoys guiding and assisting her students on a one-to-one basis as well as working with them in group sessions. Dr. DeSaracho is a member of the Crisis Intervention Team and also conducts support groups in the Adult Reentry Center. Professor DeSaracho also teaches Applied Psychology 140 - Educational and Vocational Planning courses during the academic year. Here is the link to her faculty web page: /faculty/mdesaracho


Mike Engels, Counselor/Assistant Professor (2012)

Mike Engles

M.A., Webster University - Counseling
B.A., California State University, San Marcos - Human Development

Mr. Engels joined the Saddleback College family in 2007.  Since then he has held several positions, including Career Technical Education Counselor, Senior Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Counseling, and Career Services Technician.  He was also the Cooperative Work Experience Coordinator and Career Technical Counselor at Mt. San Jacinto College.   Prior to his community college experience, he worked at California State University, San Marcos and Elsinore High School. Mr. Engels holds a Masters of Arts Degree in Counseling from Webster University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Human Development from California State University, San Marcos.   He enjoys counseling students, teaching Applied Psychology courses, and actively being involved in the community.


Dr. Pete Espinosa, Counselor/Professor Emeritus (1980)

Pete Espinoza

Ed.D., University of Southern California - Higher Education
M.S., California State University, Fullerton - Counseling
B.A., California State University, Long Beach - Physical Education

Dr. Espinosa has been employed at Saddleback College since 1977. He completed his undergraduate studies at California State University Long Beach and his post graduate work at California State University Fullerton with a Master's Degree in Counseling. He also attended the University of Southern California where he earned a Doctorate Degree in Higher Education with a specialization in community colleges. He teaches Applied Psychology 140 - Educational and Vocational Planning and Applied Psychology 150 - Helping Relationships which focuses on learning counseling skills for helping others and yourself. He is a former Peace Corps Volunteer and is a former trustee for Capistrano Unified School District. He also teaches at California State University Fullerton. The classes he teaches at the university include the Latino Family, Ancient Mexico and Cultural Pluralism for prospective elementary school teachers. He takes yearly research excursions to Mexico, South America or Spain.


David Francisco, Counselor/Professor (2001)

David Francisco

M.S., University of La Verne - School Counseling
M.A., Westminister Theological Seminary - Counseling and Theology
B.A., University of San Diego - Psychology

Professor Francisco started working at Saddleback College in the Center for Career and life Development in 1999. As a counselor, David enjoys teaching Applied Psychology classes, providing academic, career and personal counseling to students, and he has a particular interest in integrating counseling and technology. He is currently the Articulation Officer on campus and works with faculty, counselors and students on issues pertaining to transfer level coursework. In his spare time, David also enjoys teaching various wine appreciation courses through Saddleback College Community Education.


Steve Handa, Counselor/Professor (1988)

Steve Handa

M.S., California State University, Los Angeles - Counseling
B.A., California State University, Long Beach - English

Prior to his arrival at Saddleback College in 1988, Professor Handa received his bachelor of Arts degree from California State University Long Beach and his Master of Arts degree from California State University Los Angeles. He has been a counselor in California Community Colleges and the California State University System for over twenty years. Steve excels in teaching career exploration and planning in his Applied Psychology 160 courses. In addition to his busy schedule as a generalist counselor performing academic, career and personal counseling,


Paula Jacobs, Counselor/Professor (1981)

Paula Jacobs

Current graduate work: Ed.S/Ed.D. (Curriculum and Instruction), La Sierra University, Riverside, California
M.A., Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles - Educational Psychology
M.A., UC, Riverside/CSU, San Bernardino - Reading
B.A., Bethal College, St. Paul, Minnesota - History

Professor Jacobs joined Saddleback College Spring Semester 1981. Her current responsibilities include counseling and teaching Applied Psychology courses. Prior to joining Saddleback College, Professor Jacobs worked at College of the Canyons and College of the Desert. She has also been a secondary school teacher. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time at her condo on the beach.


Michael Long, Counselor/Professor (2007)

Mike Long

M.A., Califorina State University, Dominguez Hills - Educational Counseling
B.A., California State University, Long Beach - Speech Communication
A.A., Long Beach City College - General Studies

Michael Long joined Saddleback College in August, 2002. His responsibilities include working with athletes and general students in personal, academic and career counseling. He also loves to teach Applied Psychology courses and speak at local High Schools representing Saddleback College.
Prior to joining Saddleback College full time, Michael worked in the Transfer Center at Saddleback and was a counselor at Citrus College.
In his spare time, Michael enjoys surfing Seal Beach (where he lives), Huntington Beach and San Onofre. He also loves to travel to Costa Rica, Hawaii and Europe. Here is the link to his Athletic Counseling web page: /faculty/mlong


Ralph Meza, Counselor/Articulation Officer (2010)

Ralph Meza

M.A., California State University, Dominguez Hills - Counseling
B.A., UC Irvine - Psychology & Social Behavior - School of Social Ecology

Mr. Meza is the newest member of our Counseling faculty, beginning his time here in August 2010. He has a wide ranging background in Counseling students in the areas of transfer, teacher education and career as well as teaching both traditional and online classes in career and transfer planning. Ralph has worked with students in the CA Community College system since 1997. He began his career at Santa Ana College, working full time in the Transfer Center. Prior to joining the Saddleback team, Ralph worked as a full time Counselor and Instructor at Citrus College. Ralph enjoys the integration of technology in all his work including Distance Education classes and online counseling. Ralph is currently the Articulation Officer on campus and works with faculty, counselors and students on issues pertaining to transfer agreements and coursework.


Miki Mikolajczak, Counselor/Professor Emeritus(1980)

Miki Mikolajczak

M.S., California State University, Fullerton - Counseling
B.A., California State University, Fullerton - History
A.A., Orange Coast College - History

After graduating from California State University Fullerton, Professor Mikolajczak began her work at Saddleback College. Her tenure at Saddleback College has included her roles as Academic Senate President and service on the state-wide Academic Senate. She has contributed to the development of Community College Counseling across the state in her elected role as Transfer Center Director Association President among many other state committees. Her passion at Saddleback can be seen in Miki's continued work as the Director of the Transfer Center. In addition to her leadership in the CCLD here on campus, Miki enjoys spending time with her puppies and traveling with her hubby.


Sharon Nussenbaum, Counselor/Professor (1988)

Sharon Nussenbaum

M.S., San Diego State University - Counseling
B.A., San Diego State University - Liberal Studies

Prior to beginning her work at Saddleback College in 1988, Professor Nussenbaum graduated from San Diego State University with Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. Sharon has tackled a number of projects here at Saddleback including coordinating the EOPS program. She particularly enjoys teaching Applied Psychology courses, career counseling, and being a member of the Crisis Intervention Team.


Dr. Richard Potratz, Counselor/Professor Emeritus (1975)

Rich Potratz

Ph.D., U.S. International University - Psychology
M.S., California State University, Los Angeles - Counseling
B.S., University of California, Irvine - Psychology

Born and raised in southern California, Dr. Potratz pursued a B.A. in Psychology beginning at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut and completing his degree at the University of California, Irvine. Following several years in the restaurant industry in California and Arizona, Richard completed a Masters Degree in Counseling at California State University, Los Angeles, followed by a Ph.D. in Psychology at United States International University in San Diego. He has worked at Saddleback College since 1975 as a full-time counselor and as an adjunct instructor of Psychology. Currently, Richard teaches Applied Psychology 140 and Psychology 1. Favorite saying: "Question Authority!"


Penny Skaff, Counselor/Matriculation Coordinator (2011)


M.A., Phillips Graduate Institute - Marriage and Family Counseling
B.A., Chico State University - Communications and Political Science
A.A., Saddleback College - Communications

Penny Skaff has a long history with Saddleback College serving as Associated Student Government President (86-87) and returning to Saddleback College in 1999 as the Director of Student Affairs where she advised student leaders, and our college's clubs and organizations. Beginning in 2000 Penny began teaching our Applied Psychology courses and counseling part-time. Penny coordinated the college's CTE Community Collaborative grant for three years and created our college's successful N0-F Academic Probation Back to Success Project. Now serving as the Matriculation Coordinator /Counselor and continuing to teach APSY courses online, she is playing a part in working to serve students in orientation, assessment and academic advising. She is a soccer mom of two great kids, Jay and Sami and the wife to Math Instructor and Boy's Soccer Coach, Don Skaff at Tesoro High School.



Dr. Jan Ventura, Counselor/Professor (1999)

Jan Ventura

Ph.D., California Schools of Professional Psychology, Fresno - Clinical Psychology
M.A., Whittier College - School Counseling
B.A., Whittier College - Mathematics

Dr. Ventura is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Marriage and Family Therapist. She has taught and counseled at the Anaheim High School District, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State University at Dominguez Hills, and Irvine Valley College before joining Saddleback College in 1997. Professionally she enjoys teaching Applied Psychology 151, Human Relationships, is a member of the Crisis Intervention Team and has a private practice in clinical psychology. Her leisure time pursuits include playing competitive tennis and enjoying her family.