Dr. Severson was born and raised in Oslo, Norway. She moved to the United States as a young adult. As she pursed her education she had the opportunity to live in Minnesota where she met her husband. Both Dr. Severson and her husband pursued graduate degrees while living in Pennsylvania. During their 12 years in Maryland, Dr. Severson and her husband enjoyed raising their two children. In 1996, Dr. Severson moved with her family to California. Dr. Severson enjoys cross country skiing, hiking, and cycling.