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

Lydia received 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., 214.768.1006.

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., 214.768.1047.

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., 214.768.1470

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., 214.768.1232

Sarah Cartwright, Graduate Assistant for Student Success, 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. 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 is passionate about helping students throughout their college experience, which is why she is currently working toward her M.Ed. in Higher Education at SMU. She is extremely excited to continue working with the A-LEC and providing academic skill development and success strategies to students, while getting to learn more every day. 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!


Carlos Luis Garcia, Tutor Coordinator, Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center (A-LEC)

Carlos received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mathematics with a Minor in Business Administration from SMU in 2017. After graduation he continued his studies at SMU earning his M.S in Operations Research and Engineering Management in 2018. Carlos helps coordinate and supervise tutoring, tutor schedules, tutor trainings, and helps tutor students. Carlos enjoys sports, board games, and traveling., 214.768.4253

Mitzi HennesseyAdministrative AssistantAltshuler Learning Enhancement Center (A-LEC)

Mitzi works 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.,214.768.3648

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

Adreana earned 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., 214.768.1044

Alyssa Lowe, Learning Skills Specialist, Academic Skill Development

Alyssa currently serves as the Learning Skills Specialist at Southern Methodist University where she oversees a variety of workshops and courses to develop learning skills for all students. Alyssa previously worked with traditional programs including Welcome Weeks, Homecoming and Family Weekend as well as with Student Organizations and Leadership Development. Additionally, Alyssa volunteers with her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta, on the national Volunteer Service Team on the Education Committee developing curriculum for all collegians and with her local alumnae chapter. Alyssa completed her Masters degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs at Baylor University and her Bachelors degree in Psychology at Tarleton State University. Outside of work, Alyssa loves fashion, crafting, cooking and baking, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends., 214.768.3280

Nikole Melgarejo

Nikole Melgarejo, Academic Success Counselor, 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., 214.768.4031

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. 214.768.4691


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

Lauren received her B.A. in Anthropology from Tulane University and a M.A. in Anthropology from Southern Methodist University. Before joining SSR in 2020, Lauren worked with student-athletes as an academic counselor and taught classes in Academic Success and Personal Development and Anthropology. Originally from Southern California, Lauren enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, and exploring new places and food. 214.768.4251

Matt Robinson

Matthew Robinson, Director of Student Persistence and Achievement (SPA)

Matthew graduated from the University of Oklahoma with an M.Ed. in Intercollegiate Athletic Administration, following a B.A. in Sociology, also from Oklahoma. At OU he worked as a learning specialist, primarily with at-risk students, and as a housing manager with Oklahoma's Division of Student Affairs. Matthew found his way to Oklahoma from California and has enjoyed living in the South. He and his family enjoy hanging out at the lake and participating in athletic events.


Tomasine Sam, Accommodations Coordinator, Disability Accommodations and Success Strategies (DASS)

Tomasine earned her Bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and her M.Ed. in Special Education from Grand Canyon University. Before joining the A-LEC staff, she worked as a Special Education Teacher and Educational Diagnostician in Beaumont, TX. She enjoys spending more time with her daughters since relocating to north Texas.


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., 214.768.1918.

Karen Turbeville, Accommodations Coordinator, Disability Accommodations and Success Strategies (DASS)

Karen earned her B.A. in Economics from East Carolina University and her M.Ed. in Education Leadership from Concordia University. Before joining the A-LEC staff, she has worked a Special Education Teacher and most recently as an Academic Support and Learning Specialist at Furman University., 214.768.4557

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

David earned 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., 214.768.4773

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 1110 and HDEV 1211 lecturer, facilitates learning strategy workshops, and provides students with individual academic counseling.  Becca enjoys hiking, swimming, reading and spending time with her family and friends., 214.768.3543.

Rhonda Wilborn, Administrative Coordinator, Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center (A-LEC)

Rhonda oversees the payroll and business office functions of the A-LEC, supervises clerical staff, and provides practical support to numerous A-LEC activities., 214.768.6725.