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Laura Miller, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Laura Miller (she/her) directs JMU's Learning Centers and is an Assistant Professor in the School of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication. She holds a Ph.D. in Composition and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Miller conducts research on tutoring efficacy, writing mindsets, and composition practicesSo What? The Writer's Argument, a first-year writing textbook she co-authored with Dr. Kurt Schick, is in its third edition. She consults with students and faculty on all kinds of writing. 

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Joan Fahrney

Joan Fahrney
  Executive Assistant to the Director

Joan Fahrney is the Executive Assistant in the JMU Learning Centers.  Her primary duties include administrative support to the Executive Director, fiscal support, hiring, and payroll.

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Lucas G. Hopper
Payroll Specialist/Office Manager

Lucas Hopper (he/him) is the Payroll Specialist/Office Manager for the Learning Centers. He graduated from JMU with a BA in Psychology and an Honors Interdisciplinary Studies minor. In his spare time, he likes binge-watching comedies, reading webcomics, and exploring downtown Harrisonburg.

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Jared Featherstone, M.F.A.
Associate Director of Writing

Jared Featherstone (he/him) directs the University Writing Center and teaches courses in the School of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication. He has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.

His interests include mindfulness, contemplative writing, personal technology, metacognition, and reflective writing. He is a facilitator for the Koru Mindfulness program.

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Mary Tam

Mary Tam, Ph.D.
Interim Associate Director of the SMLC

Mary Tam splits her time between tutoring in the Science and Math Learning Center and teaching in the Department of Chemistry. She is passionate about helping students develop an appreciation for chemistry and succeed throughout their educational journey at JMU.

In her free time, she is active supporter of greyhound rescue and enjoys spending time with her husband and two young boys.

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Kristen Kelley, Ph.D.
Multilingual Student Services Coordinator

Kristen Kelley, Ph.D., provides language and academic cultural support for multilingual faculty, staff, and students in consultations and through group programs. She holds a Ph.D. in social psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies, an M.A. in TESOL from the University of Delaware, and a B.A. from JMU in Modern Foreign Languages.

Kristen’s scholarly interests include translanguaging, linguistic justice, and assessment. She teaches in both the graduate and undergraduate Teaching English as Second Language programs, the Equity and Cultural Diversity M.Ed. program, and the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program.

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Paul Mabrey

Paul Mabrey, Ph.D.
Communication Center Coordinator

Paul E. Mabrey III is the Communication Center Coordinator and a faculty member in the School of Communication Studies. He brings a passion for communication, collaboration and advocacy to the Communication Center. 

Paul’s research interests include learning and leadership across higher education. He has had essays published on communication education, digital literacy, civic engagement, and campus climate. Visit his faculty page.

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Coordinator of Supplemental Instruction (PASS), Instructor

Matt Trybus, M.Ed.
Peer Assisted Study Sessions Coordinator

Matt Trybus is the Coordinator of PASS. He holds an M.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Administration from the University of Vermont, a teaching license from Saint Michael’s College, and a B.A. in History from the University of Montana. Prior to coordinating the PASS program, Matt served as Assistant Director of James Madison’s Office of Disability Services for 7 years.

In addition to working with members of the JMU community to realize their potential, Matt is passionate about his family, friends, cycling, food, and balance.

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Rodolfo Barrett

Rodolfo "Rudy" Barrett, M.S.
Writing Center Specialist

Rodolfo "Rudy" Barrett is a Writing Center Specialist who assists with coordinating the day-to-day operations of the University Writing Center, holds writing consultation hours, and also teaches courses in International Affairs and Rhetoric and Technical Communication.

He is a student-centered educator with a focus on writing coaching. He has served as a writing consultant since his time as an undergraduate student, taught first-year composition courses, and been a fellowships advisor in collaboration with the Honors College. His research interests include composition pedagogy, intercultural communication, rhetorics of race and identity, and game theory.


Beth Cochran, Ph.D.
Statistics Coordinator

Beth Cochran is the Statistics Coordinator in the SMLC, and she teaches courses in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. She graduated from the Univeristy of Nebraska-Lincoln in August 2017. She is passionate about encouraging students and supporting them in their introductory statistics courses.  

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Jenna Guenther, M.A.T.
Mathematics Coordinator

Jenna Guenther is the Mathematics Coordinator in the Science and Math Learning Center.  Jenna graduated from the JMU College of Science and Mathematics in 2019 with a B.S. in Math and from the JMU College of Education in 2020 with her M.A.T focused in math secondary education.  She is currently pursuing her M.Ed in Mathematics through JMU! She began working in the SMLC as a peer math tutor in 2016, served as a graduate assistant in the SMLC for the 2019-2020 academic year, and has been a member of the Learning Centers faculty since 2020. Jenna is passionate about tutor training and professional development, supporting students in STEM courses, and coaching cheerleading and gymnastics.


Kevin Jefferson, M.A.
Writing Center Faculty Associate

Kevin Jefferson (he/him) is a Faculty Associate from the School of Writing, Rhetoric and Techincal Communication. He has a background in 19th - and 20th-century British and American literature and a history of long road trips. His teaching and research interests include first-year composition and editing; rhetorics of place, the environment, and the West, and publishing student writing. He works with the student editors and faculty reviewers of the James Madison Undergraduate Research Journal (JMURJ) to promote, publish, and share undergraduate scholarship from all JMU dsciplines.

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Yang Liu

Yang Liu, Ph.D.
Peer Assisted Study Sessions Coordinator

Yang Liu is the Coordinator of Peer Assisted Study Sessions and an Assistant Professor in Psychology. She received her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from Texas Tech University. Her research interests include risk and resilience factors on the academic success of college students, socioemotional development in childhood and adolescence, and the effectiveness of educational technology. She is passionate about supporting student success both academically and emotionally. Outside of work, she enjoys playing educational and psychological games with her husband and three children.

Dr. Liu's Professional Webpage

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Lucy Bryan Malenke, M.F.A.
Writing Center Liaison

Lucy Bryan Malenke (she/her/hers) is the Writing Center Liaison to the College of Health and Behavioral Studies. She also coordinates presentations and workshops for the UWC and serves as a writing and instructional consultant for students, staff, and faculty. Her areas of expertise include writing in the disciplines, peer review, and personal statements. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Penn State University and a B.A. in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Her personal essays, short stories, and journalism have appeared in Earth Island Journal, Quarterly WestSojourners, and Superstition Review, among others. She is the author of the book In Between Places: A Memoir of Essays (Homebound Publications, June 2022). In addition to all kinds of writing, her interests include racial justice, wilderness preservation, mindfulness practices, and service learning

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Jason Sterlace
Physics Coordinator

Jason Sterlace is the Physics Coordinator for the SMLC and is an Instructor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. He is a STEP UP Ambassador for the American Physical Society, and has an interest in Physics Education Research. He is a 2002 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University.

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