The University of Texas at Austin
School of Undergraduate Studies
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Meet Our Staff

Michelle Jewell

Michelle is responsible for advancing Sanger Learning Center’s mission to be the university-wide learning resource dedicated to students’ mastery of course content and development of transferable academic and professional skills. She oversees the center’s three service areas, tutoring, academic counseling, and course support as well as taking learning specialist appointments and delivering oral communication workshops. She manages day-to-day center operations and leads the assessment and pedagogical efforts for the center. Michelle draws upon her extensive experience as a communication studies lecturer, scholar, and higher education administrator. In her most recent position at James Madison University, she managed the Communication Center, taught for the School of Communication Studies, and took doctoral courses in assessment and measurement. She received her masters degree in speech communication from the University of Alabama where she also received her B.A. in speech communication and journalism.

Edward Fernandez
Program Coordinator, Academic Counseling & Tutorial Services

Ed oversees the Academic Counseling and Tutorial Services team at the Sanger Learning Center, which includes tutorial services, peer academic coaching, learning specialist student appointments, and outreach services. He has held a number of positions at the Center and in 2005 was the recipient of the Eyes of Texas Excellence Award. Additionally, he has served as Managing Editor for the Journal of College Reading and Learning and as a member of the Executive Board of the College Reading and Learning Association. The depth of his knowledge of—and passion for—learning assistance in all its forms has increased with each succeeding experience. And the time he spends with student educators, their students, and the students he teaches and advises is, by far, the most fulfilling and engaging part of his job.

Darcy Barrick
Instructional Designer, Discovery Scholars

Darcy Barrick is an Instructional Designer currently working with the Discovery Scholars Program success initiative. She creates programming for study effectiveness interventions, supervises and trains learning specialists, leads classes and workshops, and takes private appointments with students. In the past fifteen years, she has overseen developmental reading/writing services, trained Signature Course and Supplemental Instruction teaching assistants, and created the center’s Peer Academic Coaching program. Her areas of specialization include general study effectiveness, academic/test anxiety, and ESL/foreign language issues. Prior to joining the SLC staff, she supervised student teachers and teaching interns in area public schools for UT and taught at the secondary level in the U.S. and Japan. She holds a master’s in education and a bachelor’s in the Plan II Honors Program, both from The University of Texas at Austin.

Kathleen Cool
Learning Specialist III, Course Support & Instruction

As a member of the Course Support and Instruction team, Kathleen works to define and plan for areas of improvement and collaboration for academic support for the unique needs of online courses. She also develops instructional resources and administers academic support for online courses. Prior to joining the Sanger Learning Center, Kathleen worked as a media coordinator and instructional designer at the Institute for Public School Initiatives at the University of Texas at Austin and as a program manager for the graduate accounting and taxation programs at the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She also worked as an adjunct professor, teaching information systems management and both introductory and advanced research methods courses. Prior to entering academia, Kathleen worked as a web developer and designer. With a B.A. in art history from the American University of Paris, a M.S. in library and information sciences with a concentration in knowledge management from Florida State University and a Ph.D. in computing technology in education from Nova Southeastern University, her professional and research interests meet at the intersection of learning psychology and computing technology.

Tivra Marks
Learning Specialist III, Outreach

Tivra is the outreach coordinator for SLC. She oversees the administration of the outreach programming for the SLC which includes hiring and training student outreach assistants who deliver workshops on study strategies. She also provides individualized academic counseling to students as a learning specialist. Tivra received her master’s degree in educational leadership and policy, with a specialization in post-secondary adult continuing education from Portland State University. She received her bachelor’s degree in child and family studies with an emphasis in youth work also from Portland State University. Prior to joining the Sanger Learning Center, Tivra held positions in athletics, social work, and youth counseling.

Dong-Ha Min
Learning Specialist III, Academic Counseling & Tutorial Services

As a member of the Academic Counseling and Tutorial Services team (ACTS), Dong-Ha supervises and trains tutors and provides academic support services to students. Dong-Ha also works on facilitating various initiatives for the Sanger Learning Center, including developing closer ties to faculty, who are also critical in supporting students for their success. Prior to joining the Sanger Learning Center, Dong-Ha was a faculty member in marine science at UT, where he taught numerous undergraduate and graduate courses in marine and environmental sciences, science ethics, and supervised teaching in marine science. He has mentored and advised many students across disciplines and received the College of Natural Sciences Teaching Excellence Award in 2013 and the UT Services for Students with Disabilities Clock Award in 2014. In addition, he has earned his BS and MS degrees in oceanography from the Seoul National University, Korea and a PhD degree in oceanography from the University of California-San Diego. He currently holds an affiliated Research Fellow position in the Department of Marine Science at UT as well.

Leta Moser
Learning Specialist III, PLUS

Leta coordinates the Peer Led Undergraduate Studying program which offers organized, efficient study groups to more than 6,000 students each year in a variety of disciplines. She also provides individualized academic support to students through academic counseling, and supports the development of graduate students through facilitating Signature Course cohort classes. Prior to joining the Sanger Learning Center, she taught in an Austin area high school for three years. Leta earned her master’s degree in cancer biology from Vanderbilt University and created her own major in bio-social nutrition as an undergraduate at Beloit College.

Krystal Peralez
Program Coordinator, Course Support & Instruction

Krystal manages Course Support and Instruction services, guiding and assisting staff with the delivery of the Supplemental Instruction (SI) and Peer-Led Undergraduate Studying (PLUS) programs. She also provides training and support for TAs in the School of Undergraduate Studies’ Signature Courses and offers academic counseling for graduate and undergraduate students. Prior to joining the Sanger Learning Center team, Krystal held positions in academic advising, academic support, residence life and campus activities. She received her B.A. in English from Trinity University, her masters degree in counseling and guidance from Texas State, and completed her Ph.D. in higher education administration at The University of Texas at Austin.

Graciela Pratt
Learning Specialist III, Drop-In Tutoring

Graciela is responsible for the hiring, training, and certification of all tutors and oversees the Drop-In Tutoring program for Sanger Learning Center. As a learning specialist, Grace takes private appointments with students to discuss such topics as study strategies, math and test anxiety, and time management. Grace holds an A.A. in business administration, a B.A. in English, a B.S. in mathematics, and an M.A. in developmental and adult education.

Bryan Russell
Learning Specialist III, Discovery Scholars

Bryan is a learning specialist for the Discovery Scholars Program. He provides individual academic counseling and helps students develop essential learning skills. Prior to joining the Sanger Learning Center/Discovery Scholars staff, Bryan worked as an assistant instructor for UT, where he taught courses in Native American and Mexican American literature as well as in rhetoric and writing. He also worked as a newspaper reporter in West Texas and worked in media relations for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Bryan studied journalism and English at Angelo State University, where he earned his B.A and M.A. He earned a Ph.D from UT in English with a focus on indigenous studies.

Lesley Taylor
Learning Specialist III, Supplemental Instruction

Lesley coordinates the Supplemental Instruction (SI) program for liberal arts courses, and she provides training and support for Teaching Assistants in the School of Undergraduate Studies’ Signature Courses. She also offers academic counseling for students who would like to sharpen their study skills and reach for academic success. Her background is in English, so she is a good person to ask for help with reading comprehension. Lesley received her BA in English from the University of North Texas, and she earned an MA in literature at Texas State University, where she taught writing and communication courses for three years.

Pamela Way
Learning Specialist IV, Peer Academic Coaching

Pam supervises and coordinates the Peer Academic Coaching (PAC) and the Graduate Student Writing Services (GSWS) program, and assists with tutor coordination and training. Additionally, Pam provides academic counseling to students, specializing in motivation, time management, and test anxiety and provides assessment support for the Sanger Learning Center. In fall semesters, Pam teaches a signature course for the Texas Interdisciplinary Plan (TIP) scholars. Pam earned a BA in psychology, a MA in program evaluation, and a PhD in educational psychology, all from The University of Texas at Austin.

Jay Whitehead
Instructional Designer, Discovery Scholars

Jay develops content-support services for students in the Discovery Scholars Program, such as weekly quiz sessions for students in STEM courses. He also assists with the supervision of the mathematics portion of the Supplemental Instruction program. Jay develops the content for the SLC’s mathematics classes, selects mathematics graduate students for leading many of these classes, and teaches the algebra refresher and trigonometry refresher classes each semester. Jay also provides academic counseling, primarily for topics related to the study of mathematics. Jay received his master’s degree in mathematics from The University of Texas at Austin in 2005.

Jenell Wilmot
Learning Specialist III, Supplemental Instruction

Jenell coordinates the Supplemental Instruction (SI) program for the economics and mathematics departments. She also provides instructional support for Signature Courses TAs, contributes to the planning and teaching of the SLC math refresher courses, and provides academic counseling to graduate and undergraduate students, focusing on the development of student skills related to problem-solving courses. Jenell earned her bachelor’s in mathematics and master’s in mathematics education, both from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.