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

Michelle Jewell
Director

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

Ed oversees the administration of the tutorial services program and provides academic counseling to students while interfacing with the other campus colleges, schools, departments, and colleagues in the field of learning assistance. He has held a number of positions during his time with the SLC, and, in 2005, was the recipient of the Eyes of Texas Excellence Award.

Darcy Barrick
Program Coordinator, Academic Counseling Services

Darcy is Program Coordinator for the Academic Counseling Services team. She leads study effectiveness workshops, trains learning specialists for academic counseling duties, and directs the center’s Peer Academic Coaching program. She provides individualized academic counseling to students in the areas of general study effectiveness, academic/ test anxiety, and foreign language/ ESL issues. Prior to joining the SLC staff, she taught at the secondary level in the U.S. and Japan and supervised both student teachers and teaching interns for UT in Austin ISD schools. 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. She received a UT Staff Excellence Award in 2008 and has held prior positions at the SLC in the areas of tutoring, TA support, and developmental reading/writing.

Emily Hillhouse
Learning Specialist

Emily is the learning specialist for the Discovery Scholars Program, providing students with learning assistance and individual academic counseling, as well as organizing presentations and workshops to support the development of various learning skills. Prior to joining the Discovery Scholars/Sanger Learning Center staff, Emily worked as an adjunct instructor at the University of Huston-Tillotson. She holds a B.A. from Wellesley College, and received both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Modern European History from UT.

Tivra Marks
Outreach Coordinator/Learning Specialist

Tivra is the outreach program 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.

Tristen H. Moore
Office Assistant

Tristen provides administrative support to the Sanger Learning Center. She oversees the Sanger Learning Center front desk and its student staff. Tristen also leads tours of the center for interested students and student groups. Tristen earned a bachelors of science degree in applied learning and development from the University of Texas at Austin.

Leta Moser
Learning Specialist

Leta is a learning specialist on the Course Supplemental Instruction team, which trains and provides resources to TAs leading discussion sections in large, historically difficult courses. She helps support and facilitate the integration of best teaching practices to TAs in an array of disciplines. Leta also provides individualized academic support to students through academic counseling and teaching. She 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.

Maria Nelson
Administrative Associate

Maria provides high-level administration and finance administration support to the Sanger Learning Center. She assists the Director with reporting and budgets, and works closely with the Dean’s office around purchasing and processing payments. Maria also oversees the hiring, supervision and training of the Center’s student workforce, and provides back-up reception support for front office. Prior to this, Maria worked in the not for profit and higher education sectors in Australia and Southeast Asia. She holds a masters degree in International Affairs from the Australian National University and bachelors degrees in commerce and information systems from the University of Melbourne. Maria is fluent in Greek.

Krystal Peralez
Program Coordinator for Course Support and Instruction programs

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 is completing her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at UT Austin.

Graciela Pratt
Staffing, Training & Certification Coordinator

Graciela is responsible for the hiring, training, and certification of all tutors and oversees the development and implementation of instructional programs for the Developmental Math program at Sanger Learning Center. She also supervises the student associates at the drop-in tutoring 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.

Lesley Taylor
Learning Specialist III

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
Appointment Tutoring Coordinator

Pam supervises and coordinates the Drop-In Tutoring Center. As a member of the Tutorial Services program, Pam assists with the hiring and training of approximately 180 tutors. Additionally, Pam provides academic counseling to students, specializing in motivation, time management, and test anxiety, and leads the assessment and evaluation efforts for the Sanger Learning Center. In fall semesters, Pam teaches a signature course for the Texas Interdisciplinary Plan (TIP) scholars. Pam earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in program evaluation, and a Ph.D. in educational psychology, all from The University of Texas at Austin.

Laura Weingarten
Outreach Program Coordinator

Laura is the outreach program coordinator for SLC. She oversees the administration of the outreach programming for both the SLC and the Vick Center for Strategic Advising & Career Counseling, which includes hiring and training student outreach assistants. Laura also is responsible for the creation of print and electronic publications and content development for our website. Laura received a Master of Education degree in counseling psychology from the University of Missouri. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in human development and family studies from the University of Wisconsin.

Jay Whitehead
Learning Specialist, Interim Program Coordinator

Jay supervises the mathematics portion of the Supplemental Instruction program and also contributes to TA training for Signature Course support. 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