Sanger Learning Center

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Meet Our Staff

Michelle Jewell 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.

Nisha Abraham Nisha Abraham
Learning Specialist, Discovery Scholars

Nisha is a learning specialist with the Discovery Scholars Program. She received her B.S. in cell and molecular biology from The University of Texas at Austin in 2007 and her M.S. in biology from Texas A&M University in 2012. During her time at Texas A&M, she was a teaching assistant for several undergraduate biology classes, worked for the Center for Teaching Excellence, and conducted research on improving student motivation and performance in science education. Additionally, Nisha has over five years of combined industry and science research experience, has worked recently as a senior bioscience associate at UT’s Austin Technology Incubator, and has served as an adjunct faculty member in biology for South University.

Darcy Barrick 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.

Ed Fernandez 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.

Claire Gaylord Claire Gaylord
Administrative Associate

As Administrative Associate for the Sanger Learning Center, Claire manages student employees, maintains communication across programs, and supports the day-to-day needs of the Sanger office. A Jane of all trades originally from Upstate New York, Claire has worked in the arts, human resources, and office management. Most recently she acted as assistant rooms manager at Hotel Congress in Tucson, AZ before relocating to Austin. She received a B.A. in studio art specializing in ceramics from Hunter College in New York City.

Rachel Jenkins Rachel Jenkins
Learning Specialist III, Academic Counseling and Tutorial Services

Rachel coordinates drop-in tutoring at the Sanger Learning Center and provides academic support to students through one-on-one counseling. Prior to joining the SLC staff, Rachel managed the Supplemental Instruction program and taught freshman seminar courses at Southern Arkansas University. Rachel also taught English at the secondary level in Little Rock, Arkansas, before transitioning into higher education. She received her B.S.E in secondary English education from the University of Central Arkansas and her M.S.E. in educational psychology with an emphasis in gifted and talented from Baylor University.

Leta Moser 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 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 Graciela Pratt
Learning Specialist IV, Discovery Scholars

Grace is a learning specialist with the Discovery Scholars Program. As a learning specialist, she takes private appointments with students to discuss such topics as study strategies, math and test anxiety, and time management. Over the past 16 years Grace has worked with the Supplemental Instruction program as a supervisor and instructor; the Tutorial Service program overseeing the Drop-In Tutoring Center, tutor certification, evaluation and hiring; and with the Texas Success Initiative as a developmental math instructor. She received her B.S. in mathematics, B.A, in English from The University of Texas at Austin and a M.S. in developmental and adult education from Texas State University.

Bryan Russell 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.

Paige Schilt Paige Schilt
Learning Specialist III, Supplemental Instruction

Paige coordinates Supplemental Instruction for Liberal Arts courses. She’s part of a team that provides instructional support for Signature Course TAs, and she also offers academic counseling to graduate and undergraduate students, with a focus on writing, research, and critical reflection. Paige earned a Ph.D in English from the University of Texas at Austin, and she has more than fifteen years of college teaching experience in disciplines as diverse as English, rhetoric, communication, film studies, and women and gender studies.

Courtney Sviatko Courtney Sviatko
Learning Specialist III, Strategic Communication

Courtney oversees the Strategic Communication programs, including the Public Speaking Center, outreach presentations, and academic skills workshops. She also provides individual academic counseling for students and helps train and mentor TAs for Signature Courses. Before joining the staff at Sanger, Courtney was an Academic Coach, Tutorial Coordinator, and Writing Consultant at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she also taught writing and literature classes for four years. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in English from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Pamela Way 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 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 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.