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: "Excellent tutoring program!"
Jessica Jessica Bonner Jessica is an adjunct instructor in the English Department. She graduated in 2010 from Samford University with a dual-major BA degree in English and Communication Studies. She graduated from UAB in 2013 with an MA in English. Jessica enjoys volunteering, sewing, 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. She is currently a graduate student at UAB seeking an M.A. in English Literature and planning to pursue a Ph.D. Her professional goal is both to teach literature and composition at the college level and to conduct research in nineteenth-century British literature and lifewriting. Student feedback:"Great job, UWC!"
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!"

Elizabeth Geller 2 Elizabeth Simmons

Elizabeth is a first year graduate student pursuing an M.A. in English 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 completing 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: "The staff is so nice, and I found mistakes that I couldn't have found on my own."


David Hornbuckle David is an adjunct instructor in the English Department. In addition to tutoring in the UWC, he also teaches English 091, 101, and 102. He is also a published novelist and sings in a rock and roll band. Student feedback: "Thank you so much for your unique insights, comments and suggestions."
Sarah Jennings Sarah Jennings
Sarah Jennings is a second-year graduate student in the English Department. She graduated from the University of Alabama with a B.A. in English Literature in 2012. At UAB, Sarah is pursuing her M.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing. She also works as an assistant for the creative writing program and poemmemoirstory. When she isn't working or writing, she enjoys practicing yoga, exploring Birmingham's varied music and food options, and maintaining her (non-existent) tan. Student feedback: "Great comments and suggestions. The tutor was friendly and professional."
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!"
Alex Alex Lewis
Alex is a second-year graduate student 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. Here at UAB, Alex is getting an M.A. in English with a concentration in literature. 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."
Steph Stephanie Plumb
Stephanie is a second-year graduate student in the English Department. She once sang the national anthem at the Talledega 500, but she doesn't know anything about NASCAR. This semester, she is working as the UWC's Assistant Director. 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."
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: "I will use the UWC for as long as I'm at UAB."
Coming soon! Jason Walker
Jason Walker holds a B.A. in English from UAB. Currently, he is a first-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: "I really enjoy coming here to get help. Thanks a lot!"
Jaci Blaze Jaclyn Wells Jaci is 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. She enjoys reading, teaching writing, and conducting research to see who really has the best barbeque in Birmingham. Student feedback: "I love the UWC!"