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

Emily Cobb,  Director, Student Athlete Academic Services (SAAS)

Emily received her Ed.D. in Higher Education from Southern Methodist University. Emily was a soccer student-athlete at Troy University before graduating with both a B.A. and a M.S. in Sport & Fitness Management. Before joining the SASP staff, she was the Academic Coordinator at Troy University where she worked with 16 different sports as an advisor, tutor coordinator, lecturer, and mentor. Emily found her way to Alabama from Louisville, Kentucky, where she was a POWERADE McDonald's High School All American and Miss KY Soccer. She enjoys playing sports and attending different athletic events., 214.768.1576

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

Chandler GobinTesting Administrator, Disability Accommodations and Success Strategies (DASS)

Chandler graduated with her B.A. in Sociology and her Masters in Social Work from Baylor University. She’s so excited to be working with DASS students to make testing a smoother process. Working alongside and being a student in Baylor’s disability program, Chandler’s excited to continue her work in helping students succeed. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family, playing with her dog, Brownie, and volunteering at a local animal shelter. If you have any questions, or want to say hi, stop by her office at 202Q., 214.768.1277

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)

Andeana earned her BS in Mathematics from Southern Utah University and MS in Statistics from SMU.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

Sydney Loutit, Graduate Assistant, Student-Athlete Academic Services (SAAS)

Sydney received her B.S. in Sports Broadcasting with minors in Communication Studies and Sociology from Texas Christian University. During her time at TCU Sydney held internships with the school’s athletics department, the Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco Giants, Stanford University Athletics and the Dallas Stars. Following graduation she spent two years with the Dallas Stars working in Corporate Partnerships and coordinating her department’s internship program. Sydney’s desire to return to education and collegiate sports brought her to SMU where she will be pursuing her Masters in Higher Education while serving as the Graduate Assistant for Student Athlete Academic Services. In her free time, Sydney enjoys cooking and playing with her rescue dog, Hattie.

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

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, Associate Director/Director of 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. Before joining the A-LEC staff in July 2007, she was a student-athlete at Washington State University and worked in the Academic Resource Center. Becca is a HDEV 1110 and HDEV 1211 lecturer and provides students with individual academic counseling., 214.768.3543.

Ben Walter, Academic Counselor, Student-Athlete Academic Services (SAAS)

Ben graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a B.A. in History and Political Science and earned his M.A. in Student Affairs and Higher Education from Stephen F. Austin State University. Before joining the A-LEC staff, he  was a Graduate Assistant in the Office of Athletic Academic Services at SFA. He worked with the men’s and women’s track and field, cross country, and men’s and women’s golf teams. He enjoys being outdoors, attending athletic events, and spending time with his dog Stella.



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.

Kerry Wright, Academic CounselorStudent Athlete Academic Services (SAAS)

Kerry a 2011 Xavier University Sport Management graduate and former Division I swimmer, began at SMU in the summer of 2018. Kerry joins the A-LEC staff after three years at Colorado State University working with men’s and women’s golf, women’s soccer and women’s swimming and diving in addition to overseeing the student-athlete development programs. Prior to CSU, Kerry spent a year at the University of Miami (FL) as an Athletic Academic Support intern and earned an MBA at Xavier while serving as a graduate assistant coach for the swimming program and as a graduate assistant intern for Athletic Academic Support., 214.768.2092