Lydia AllenAssistant Director of the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center (A-LEC) & Writing Center Director

Lydiareceived her B.A. in psychology, with a minor in special education, from Texas A&M and her B.A. in English and philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin. She received her M.A. in Biotechnology from Columbia University where her emphasis was in neurobiology and her M.A in History of Ideas from University of Texas at Dallas. Before joining the A-LEC staff, she taught Discernment and Discourse in the SMU English Department and worked as a member of the Writing Center facultyLydia is an adjunct member of the WRTR faculty.

Sue Bierman, Executive Director

Sue received her B.S., M.S, and Ph.D. from Texas A&M University. Her major fields of study are Psychology, Counseling, and Higher Education Administration. Before joining the A-LEC staff in January 2007, Sue was an Assistant Professor and Coordinator for Student Services at Butler University. Sue has taught courses in Psychology, Statistics, and Student Success and Ethics. She has worked in Residence Life, Student Activities, and Athletic Advising. Sue enjoys playing tennis, attending the grand slam events, and rescuing dachshunds.

Candy Brown, Administrative Assistant, Disability Accommodations and Success Strategies (DASS)

Candy works with students to schedule proctored exams and prepares accommodation letters, among other responsibilities for the Disability Accommodations and Success Strategies Staff.

Michelle Bufkin, Senior Accommodations Coordinator, Disability Accommodations and Success Strategies (DASS)

Michelle earned her B.A. in Public Policy from Duke University and her M.P.A. from the LBJ School at the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining A-LEC, she served as a lecturer and advisor for the SMU Learning Therapy Center. Michelle has worked in private practice as a learning therapist, served as president of the Academic Language Therapy Association and the SMU Mothers’ Club, and is active on community boards. Outside of work, Michelle enjoys spending time at the Arboretum and traveling with her family.

Sarah Cartwright, Learning Skills Specialist, Academic Skill Development

Sarah earned her B.A. in Psychology with a Minor in Family and Consumer Sciences- Child and Family Services from Marshall University and her M.Ed. in Higher Education at SMU. During her time earning her undergraduate degree, she worked as a childcare teacher at the Huntington YMCA, and after graduating, she returned home to Texas and was employed as a substitute teacher for the Wills Point Independent School District. Sarah worked for three years as a graduate assistant in the A-LEC while completing her M.Ed, and she is extremely excited to continue providing academic skill development and success strategies to students. Sarah is passionate about her faith, family, and food—and many other things she doesn’t have room to list. Feel free to reach out and connect with her with a “hello” or any questions!

Schedule an appointment with Sarah


Robin Corbett, Accommodations Coordinator, Disability Accommodations and Success Strategies (DASS)

Robin received her BBA from Baylor University, M.Ed from Abilene Christian University, and Ed.D from Lamar University.  Her areas of academic study include Finance, Curriculum and Instruction, and Educational Leadership.  Prior to joining SMU, she spent 16 years in K-12 public education, serving in various roles at all levels including classroom teacher, curriculum facilitator and assistant principal.  In her free time, Robin enjoys spending time with her family, watching sports (especially the ones her sons are participating in or coaching), and relaxing.

Kolin Goldschmidt, Program Coordinator, Office of Student Success and Retention (SSR)

Kolin earned his B.S. in Spanish and Portuguese from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2020 and is working on his M.S. in computer science from SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering. He has experience working with Residence Life, strategic communications, and student outreach. He’s passionate about helping students to succeed by creating inclusive spaces on campus. Although he’s a Badger at heart, he’s excited to Pony Up!

Schedule an appointment with Kolin 

Mitzi HennesseyAdministrative AssistantAltshuler Learning Enhancement Center (A-LEC)

Mitziworks at the A-LEC front desk. She has worked for 17 years at SMU in various roles, including the Cox Business Information Center, University Development Operations, Electrical Engineering, and Lyle Distance Education. She is the proud parent of an SMU alumna.

Adreana Julander, Director, Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center (A-LEC)

Adreanaearned her BS in Mathematics from Southern Utah University and MS in Statistics from SMU. As an adjunct statistics instructor at SMU, she has taught courses at Texas Tech, Weatherford College, and Paul Quinn College. She will always be a farm girl at heart.

Nikole Melgarejo

Nikole Melgarejo, Assistant Director, Academic Center for Excellence (ACE)

Nikole earned her B.A in Political Science from San Diego State University and her M. Ed. in Counseling-Student Affairs from Texas Christian University. Before joining the ACE staff in July 2019, she worked as a counseling intern for TCU’s TRIO, Student Support Services, working primarily with at risk and underrepresented students. She also served as the graduate assistant for TCU’s Undergraduate Academic Initiatives, helping first-year students transition to college life. Originally from Southern California, Nikole enjoys being outdoors, traveling, and experiencing new cultures.

Chris Meyers, Senior Academic Probation Counselor, Academic Skill Development

Chris received his B.A. in Communication at Texas A&M University and his M.A. in Dispute Resolution at SMU. Before joining the A-LEC, he worked as a Life Development Coach for Innovation 360, modeling healthy behavior, encouraging change, and providing hope for people struggling with substance abuse, mental health crisis, academic failure, and a variety of other issues. Chris enjoys sports, camping, hiking, and all outdoor activities. He loves spending time with his wife doing said activities, watching movies, and traveling. As Chris' faith is the most important component in his life, he enjoys spending time with his community group and serving his church and community. 

Schedule an appointment with Chris


Lauren O'Brien, Director of Student Success and Retention (SSR)

Lauren earned her B.A. in Anthropology from Tulane University, an M.A. in Anthropology and Ed.D. in Higher Education from SMU. Before joining SSR in 2020, Lauren worked with student-athletes as an academic counselor and taught classes in Academic Success & Personal Development and Anthropology. Lauren enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, and exploring new places and food.

Schedule an appointment with Lauren

Ivy Phillips, Success Counselor, Office of Student Success and Retention (SSR)

Ivy received her B.S. in Biology from UT Arlington and M.S. in Biology from Texas A&M University. Ivy also earned a M.A. in Higher Education from the University of Maryland with a focus on minority student success and retention. Before joining SSR in 2021, Ivy worked as a tutor, instructor, academic advisor, and program coordinator at five different higher education institutions. Originally from China, Ivy enjoys spending time with her family, watching shows, and trying different foods.

Schedule an appointment with Ivy

Shon Phillips, Writing Center Coordinator, Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center (A-LEC)

Shon received her B.A. in Sociology from The University of Texas at Austin.  While teaching high school English, she decided to pursue a M.A. in English from Southern New Hampshire University. Currently, she is working on her doctoral degree -at Southern Methodist University- which blends English, Sociology, and History into a Liberal Studies focus.  Shon is also a WRTR professor.

Above all else, Shon strives to live by the Golden Rule and walk in her faith. She enjoys spending time with her family.  She loves to binge watch the "Real Housewives of -" shows during her downtime. 

Abbie Short, Graduate Assistant for Student Success, Academic Skill Development

Abbie earned her B.A in Psychology with a minor in Women and Gender studies from Texas A&M university in 2020. She is currently a SMU grad student pursuing a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling. She has experience in child development, sales, and marketing. Abbie enjoys being with her family, watching movies, and doing anything that involves being creative. 

Alexa Taylor, Director, Disability Accommodations and Success Strategies (DASS)

Alexa received her B.S. from Oklahoma State University and her M.S. in Counseling Psychology from the University of North Texas, and, in 2002, received her Texas LPC license (Licensed Professional Counselor). Before joining the A-LEC staff in 2001, she worked as a Neuropsychology Therapist at the Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation, and with children at the Lena Pope Home. In her position with DASS, she enjoys helping students find new, more efficient ways to study and advocate for themselves as well as helping the SMU community understand disability issues. She enjoys the outdoors, college sports, and Mexican food. She lives in Dallas with her husband, son and daughter, and their Australian Shepherd, Bogey.

Jeanna Turay, Accommodations Coordinator, Disability Accommodations and Success Strategies (DASS)

Jeanna received her B.S. in Biology from Stephen F. Austin State University and her Masters in Organizational Leadership from Colorado Christian University.  Jeanna finds joy in helping students recognize their potential and accomplish their educational goals.  She enjoys being outdoors with her rescue dog, Tyson, hiking and experiencing new cultures.

David Tylicki, Senior Learning Specialist, Disability Accommodations and Success Strategies (DASS)

Davidearned his Bachelor's degrees in English and Psychology from Tulane University and a Master's in Professional Counseling from Georgia State University. He has worked with students with disabilities at Tulane, Georgia State, and the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Becca Umobong, Director, Academic Skill Development

Becca earned her B.A. in Communication from Washington State University and her M.Ed. in Higher Education from Dallas Baptist University. Becca is a HDEV 1210 and HDEV 1211 lecturer, facilitates learning strategy workshops, and provides students with individual academic counseling. Becca enjoys hiking, swimming, reading and coaching her children's sports teams.

Schedule an appointment with Becca