Meet the Tutors

Miriam Bellis 2 Miriam Bellis
Miriam Bellis received her PhD in English from the University of Miami in 1996. She has tutoring and/or teaching experience at Texas Lutheran College (tutoring only), the University of Texas, the University of Miami, and UAB. At UAB, she has taught several sophomore-level literature courses, including, most frequently, American Lit. II and Introduction to Literature. Miriam is co-coordinator, with Cassandra Ellis, of UAB's university/community book club, Book Talk, and enjoys reading, singing, and theatre-going. Student feedback: "Miriam is a great tutor. She makes sure I understand my work."
Jessica B Pic Jessica Bonner Jessica is an adjunct tutor in the English Department. She graduated in 2010 from Samford University with a dual-major B.A. degree in English and Communication Studies. Then, she graduated from UAB in 2013 with an M.A. in English (Rhetoric and Composition concentration). In addition to tutoring at UAB, Jessica also works as Program Assistant (aid to the Executive Director) at Impact Alabama, a non-profit that specializes in serving underserved populations throughout Alabama. In her free time, she loves volunteering, sewing, hanging with family, and reading works not required for school.

Student feedback: "I learned a lot.   Jessica knew exactly what my essay needed!"
Carrie Busby Carrie Busby
Carrie Busby graduated from the University of Montevallo with a B.A. in English and from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with an M.A. in English Literature.  She enjoys teaching Composition and tutoring students in the University Writing Center. She has future plans to pursue a Ph.D.  Her professional goal is to teach Literature at the college level and to conduct research in Nineteenth-Century British Romantic Literature and lifewriting.

Student feedback: "Carrie is wonderful. She is easy to work with, friendly, highly knowledgeable. She enabled me think and effectively convey my thoughts in writing."
Breana Durrah Headshot 2 Breana Durrah

Breana is currently a junior at UAB. She is majoring in nursing and minoring in Spanish. Singing and writing poetry are her passions. This semester, Breana is serving as one of our work-study receptionists. She is always willing to help, so stop by the front desk if you have any questions!

Student feedback: "Everyone is so friendly, and it was so easy to make an appointment!"

 Gilliland Pic for UWC Meghan Gilliland

Meghan is a second year graduate student pursuing a MAEd for teaching ESL/EFL to adults, and she holds a B.A. in English Literature from Samford University. Previously tutoring for UAB’s English Language Institute (ELI), Meghan currently co-teaches for UAB’s Community English classes and serves as a mentor/tutor for student-athletes on campus. Meghan enjoys traveling (anywhere and everywhere), attending any type of festival, and cooking without recipes.

Student feedback: "I will use the UWC for my whole time at UAB!"

Rachel Landers Rachel Landers
Rachel graduated from the University of Montevallo in 2012. She has a B.A. in English with a minor in Spanish. At UAB, she is pursuing an M.A. with a concentration in literature. She is very excited to work at the writing center! Student feedback: "I enjoyed my visit. It was super helpful and productive. I will come again!"
Adele Adele Leon
Adele is a graduate student at UAB with a concentration in Composition and Rhetoric. She graduated with a B.A. in English and a minor in Philosophy from the University of Montevallo in 2011. During her break from academia, she traveled to various countries across Europe and to the Bahamas. After completing her Master's degree at UAB, she plans on pursuing a PhD and inevitably teaching composition, rhetoric, and theory to college students while living on a beach, sleeping in a hammock, and going surfing every day.

Student feedback: "Excellent tutoring service--thank you for helping."
Alex Alex Lewis
Alex is an adjunct instructor in the English Department. She graduated from the University of Alabama in 2012 with a B.S. in Psychology and a B.A. in English. She also holds an M.A. in English from UAB. Student feedback: "Alex was really  helpful! She helped me focus on all my problems within the paper, how to look for them, and how to correct them."
Light Kayla Light
I began my academic career at Bevill State Community College in the summer of 2009 as a first generation college student. Once I finished at Bevill, I transferred to the University of Alabama, where I completed my English degree in December 2013. I am now pursuing a master's degree in literary studies. I specialize in Romantic literature, but I am versed in other areas as well. Throughout my years of study, I have found two things to be true: 1. Determination is essential to completing any challenging endeavor. 2. Carpe Diem is a way of life, not just a phrase! Roll Blazers!

Student feedback: "I enjoy each and every one of my sessions and have developed tremendously as a writer since I began going to the UWC."

 Rabon Rabon Pennington
Rabon is a first-year graduate student in the English Department. She spent her first year of college at the University of Texas at Austin before transferring home to Birmingham-Southern College. At BSC, Rabon earned a B.A. in English with a minor in Gender and Women's Studies. She has a twin brother, a passion for makeup artistry, and a cat named Grendel! Student feedback: "I always really enjoy my time in the UWC!"
Steph Stephanie Shelton
Stephanie is an adjunct instructor in the English Department. She holds an M.A. in English from UAB. She once sang the national anthem at the Talledega 500, but she doesn't know anything about NASCAR. Student feedback: "Stephanie was an amazing tutor. She knew exactly what I was lacking and helped me with it."
Shan Sheikh Shan Sheikh
Shan Sheikh is a lifelong Birmingham resident who holds a B.A. with honors from UAB. As an undergraduate, he was awarded the Gloria Goldstein Howton Creative Writing Award by the creative writing faculty. He also served as a dramaturg for two Theatre UAB productions. Before returning to UAB to pursue an M.A. in rhetoric and composition, he worked as a professional writer specializing in business and technical communication.  Student feedback: "The session was great. I will be using the writing center again."
Nabella Shunnarah Nabella Shunnarah
Nabella Shunnarah received her BA in English and MA in Education from UAB and has been an English adjunct instructor intermittently for many years. She has experience with international students having tutored many ESL adults. Nabella is a writer and has published in local magazines and The Birmingham News.  

Student feedback: "I very much enjoy the service!"
Elizabeth Geller 2 Elizabeth Simmons
Elizabeth is a second-year graduate student pursuing an M.A. with a concentration in literature. She has  a B.A. from Auburn and a J.D. from the University of Alabama. She practiced law for almost eight years before completed an M.A. in ESL Education, after which she taught 11th and 12th grade English at a local high school. Elizabeth also teaches yoga in studios around town.
Student feedback: "Elizabeth was great and very helpful. Thank you. Life saver."
cheyenne taylor Cheynne Taylor
Cheyenne is a first year graduate student at UAB focusing on Creative Writing, specifically poetic forms. She received her bachelor's degree in English, Creative Writing, and Professional Writing from UAB in 2013, during which time she became part of the editorial staff of three local literary magazines: PMS PoemMemoirStory, Birmingham Poetry Review, and Steel Toe Review. She is excited to put her experience in workshopping and revision to good use by helping other students at the Writing Center. Her other interests involve good food and weird music.
Student feedback: "Great job! I feel that I benefitted greatly from my visit."
Amy Thomas Amy Thomas
Amy graduated from Mississippi State University with a BA in English in 2011. She is currently pursuing an MA in English Literature from UAB. She enjoys reading Victorian novels, practicing yoga, and trying to sneak British words into conversations. Student feedback: "Amy was great. Very helpful. What a great resource!"
Jason Walker Small Pic Jason Walker
Jason Walker holds a B.A. in English from UAB. Currently, he is a second-year graduate student in the English Department, interning for Birmingham Poetry Review. He is especially interested in reading/writing fiction, poetry, and literary criticism. Outside of these pursuits, he enjoys skateboarding, music, and food. Student feedback: "Jason was very helpful and very insightful. Excellent explanations on his suggestions."
Jaci Blaze Jaclyn Wells Jaci is the Director of the UWC and an assistant professor of English. She graduated with a Ph.D. in rhetoric and composition from Purdue University and spent two years as an assistant professor at the University of Southern Indiana before coming to UAB in 2012. She enjoys reading, teaching writing, and conducting research to see who really has the best barbeque in Birmingham. Her beloved corgi mix, Travis, occasionally appears in UWC fliers.  Student feedback: "I love the UWC!"

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