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Student Services

The decision to return to school or begin college for the first time as an adult learner is a major one. The Bama By Distance Student Services team understands this and provides student and academic support services to help you explore your options.

Even before you are enrolled, there is a Student Services Enrollment Counselor available to answer questions and help you navigate through the system. Acting as a liaison between you and the University, your counselor can provide information about admissions, applications, financial aid, scholarship and military programs. Enrollment Counselors are here to help you go from student to graduate.

In addition, Student Services offers testing resources to students enrolled in distance courses, including a test-proctoring center. You might even meet some of our representatives at career and education fairs, community colleges and businesses. We want to be where our potential and current students are, and we are committed to helping distance students like you meet your education and career goals.

Call us at 800-467-0227, email us at or visit us on campus at 126 Martha Parham West.

Meet Our Student Services Team

Sonya DunkinSonya Dunkin - Associate Director
She has your answer

One of the first things you'll notice when you meet Sonya is her smile. She puts you at ease from the moment you meet her. She's a person you'll always feel comfortable with when you have a question. Whether it's about military education issues, testing, choosing your degree, graduating on time, or finding a scholarship, Sonya and her team are happy to answer questions and solve problems to help students reach their goals. And if you really want to see her smile, ask her about her family. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling and attending Bama football games with her family.

Megan WelbornMegan Welborn - Assistant Director
Her passion for students (and UA) shines

If there could be an award given for loving The University of Alabama Megan would win it! She earned a BA in Communication & Information Sciences and her MA in Educational Psychology from UA and has worked in several key positions on campus since graduating. As the Assistant Director of Bama By Distance Student Services, she sees it as her daily mission to share her passion for UA, education, and student success. Her job is to oversee admissions and recruitment efforts for all Bama By Distance programs. However, her main goal is to continue sharing her enthusiasm for learning with others. Megan is married to a Crimson Tide fan that enjoys attending sporting events with her. She also serves as an Executive Committee Board Member for the Tuscaloosa County Alumni Association.

Miranda CarlisleMiranda Carlisle - Program Coordinator
Your go-to person for anything UA

Have a question about UA? Miranda has the answer. Not just because she's an adjunct instructor for the College of Communication and Information Sciences, but because she's been a student here, just like you. No one knows better than Miranda. She'll help you figure out what you need to get started and hit the ground running once you do. And, if you want to know what you missed on the last episode of your favorite TV crime drama, she can fill you in on that, too.

Nakia Lee
Nakia Lee - Program Coordinator
Empowering students with education

Nakia is passionate about making sure that students thrive and works hard to propel them forward. This makes her job as the key person responsible for tracking grants, initiatives and scholarships for our college very special to her and us!  Nakia holds a B.A. in Art and Art History and worked for seven years in higher education before coming to UA. Nakia spends most of her free time with her family; however, she can also be found writing. She likes truth, justice, kindness, humor, storytelling and zone defense. In addition to UA Football, she enjoys watching the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons. 

James ShamleeJames Shamlee - Program Coordinator / GoArmyEd POC
First-class service for first-class students

Soldiers make the best students. A former U.S. Army Senior Military Instructor at The University of Alabama ROTC Department, James knows it first-hand. He has a B.S. in Business Administration and later earned his M.S. in Human Environmental Sciences (Interactive Technology) from UA. When you talk to James, you'll know immediately that he loves what he does. He loves helping military students, and talking with military recruits. You'll appreciate James' give-it-all-you've-got attitude. In his spare time, he enjoys tinkering with computers.

Claire SlatonClaire Slaton - Enrollment Coordinator

 Claire has dedicated her career to serving students. After earning her Bachelor of Science in biology, she started at The University of Alabama as a recruiting specialist for UA Early College. Now, as an enrollment coordinator for Bama By Distance Student Services, she is able to combine her love of helping students with her interest in data analysis to provide nontraditional students an opportunity to earn a degree from The University of Alabama. In her spare time, Claire and her husband enjoy attending sporting events.


Samantha BrockettSamantha Brockett - Enrollment Counselor
A cheerleader for distance students!

Samantha believes that every conversation that she has with a potential student is so important in that she sees herself as the first stepping stone for them towards earning a college education. She describes herself as a cheerleader for students and lets them know that she's just as excited as they are to see them get that degree. Working with people who have questions about getting started is her passion and she loves it when she can help calm those fears with just a telephone visit. Samantha comes to us from Northern Illinois University and holds a B.A. in Sociology and a M.S. Ed in Adult and Higher Education with an emphasis in Student Affairs. She brings with her a great history of working with prospective students and her love for baseball, especially the St. Louis Cardinals. She's can also be found making crafts from Pinterest for fun!


Nichelle McMullenNichelle McMullen - Enrollment Counselor
There for you every step of the way

Nichelle has a husband, four sons and a grandson, so it's safe to say she can handle just about anything. Nichelle is a native of Tuscaloosa and holds a B.S. in Business Administration and later earned her M.S. in Education, with a specialization in Post Secondary and Adult Education. She's not only an enrollment counselor; she's your personal cheerleader.


Thanh TranThanh Tran - Enrollment Counselor

Thanh's bright and bubbly personality makes her a perfect fit for her position as an enrollment counselor. She thrives when she is able to meet and get to know students on a personal level, allowing her to help ease any anxiety or fears that students may have about pursuing an online degree. She was born and raised in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and completed her bachelor's degree at Western Kentucky University before relocating to Tuscaloosa with her husband. Thanh can usually be found with a good cup of coffee in her hand and spending time with her family. She also enjoys baking and traveling.


Gary VadenGary Vaden - Enrollment Counselor

From your first conversation with Gary, you will recognize his passion for helping students succeed. A native Texan, Gary holds a Bachelor of Arts in music education and a Master of Education with a concentration in counseling. He worked as a high school counselor in Texas for 18 years before relocating to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. His favorite part of the job is helping students achieve their dreams of obtaining a degree from The University of Alabama. In his spare time, Gary can be found at an Alabama football, softball or baseball game with his two daughters.

Brooke Swinney

Brooke Swinney - Enrollment Counselor

Brooke is excited to help you continue your education at The University of Alabama! She is passionate about providing students with an opportunity to succeed and believes that it’s never too late to accomplish your goals. Brooke earned her Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of North Alabama and began her UA career in 2017. In her spare time, she can be found cheering on the Crimson Tide, watching pageants, traveling and spending time with her friends and family.


Brandi Stacey

Brandi Stacey - Community College Relations Coordinator
As a graduate of Alabama Southern Community College in her hometown of Monroeville, AL, Brandi has a strong passion for helping community college transfer students succeed. Brandi combines her passion for student success with her love of her alma mater, The University of Alabama, where she completed both a BS in Commerce and Business Administration and a MA in Higher Education Administration. Brandi previously served as an Enrollment Counselor for distance learning students, and she is elated to continue to help adult students achieve their goals and dreams. She lives in Northport with her husband, who is a proud UA alumnus and football coach at Northridge High School. 

Ashley JoseyAshley Josey - Testing Associate

Ashley’s love of people has always drawn her to help others. As a testing associate, her positive attitude reassures and encourages students taking their proctored exams. She earned an associate degree in social work from Georgia Military College before moving to Tuscaloosa, where she is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in community studies through The University of Alabama’s New College LifeTrack program. A born-and-raised Alabama football fan, Ashley remembers watching games with her grandfather while wearing a houndstooth Bear Bryant hat. In her spare time, Ashley competes in Crossfit competitions, spends time with her dog Emma, and enjoys visiting Disney World. She is also involved with C.A.R.E.S. (Coalition, Awareness, Rescue, Education, Services) for Human Trafficking. 

Ally Ahmed

Ally Ahmed - Testing Associate

From the moment Ally stepped onto The University of Alabama’s campus as a freshman, she knew this place would be her home. The Westchester, New York, native began her career with Bama By Distance after graduating with her Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice and criminology. As a student, she held various positions across campus, including with The University of Alabama police department. In her spare time, Ally enjoys participating in Greek Life alumni programs, reading, and spending time outside with her dog, Khloe.