Full-time Staff

Kimberly Abels

Kimberly Abels, Director

learning_center@unc.edu, (919) 962-4426
Dr. Abels has led the student-centered, tech-savvy professional and student communities that comprise Carolina’s Writing and Learning Center for over twenty years. She collaborates with colleagues and campus partners to build Writing and Learning Center services and fosters environments where students imagine, discover, reflect, and stretch into new ideas and academic habits.

Robin Blanton

Robin Blanton, Academic Coach, Biology Specialist

rcb@email.unc.edu, (919) 962-8012
Robin’s background is in biological sciences and public health. She enjoys serving students as an academic coach and counselor.  She facilitates the learning group Bio Cell that serves students in the Biology 101 course. She also assists students as they prepare for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).  She is passionate about her three amazing children and wonderful husband.

Ashton Davis

Ashton Davis, Academic Coach, Chemistry Specialist

adavis18@email.unc.edu, (919) 962-6389
Ashton’s passion is chatting with college students about chemistry, helping them to understand and even enjoy the central science. She graduated from the University of Florida with a PhD in organic chemistry. Her favorite part of working with college students is watching their confidence bloom!  Ashton is super excited to be an academic coach specializing in chemistry at UNC-CH where she facilitates the CHEMpossible learning groups. Outside of the Learning Center, Ashton enjoys baking, exercising, reading, tacos, and corgis.

Monica Davis

Monica Davis, Academic Coach, Math Specialist

daricemo@live.unc.edu, (919) 962-9353
Monica is a 22-year veteran mathematics educator at both the high school and collegiate levels. As a new addition to the Learning Center “STEMpire” this year, she is also a doctoral student in the UNC School of Education completing a degree in Educational Leadership. Affectionately known as “Mama D.”, Monica has a heart for her students and is committed to helping them realize how amazing they are as both scholars and gifts to the greater community. Monica shares four beautiful children with her wonderful and supportive husband and loves spending time with family when she’s not working. She is thrilled about so many wonderful opportunities to collaborate with students and colleagues as an academic coach and as a facilitator of Math Plus learning groups as they explore “the magic behind the math” together. A soon-to-be 3-time alumna of UNC-Chapel Hill, Monica believes that “one’s aim in life should always be to leave that which he touches better than he found it,” paraphrased from Dr. Benjamin Mays.

Lara Edwards

Lara Edwards, Academic Coach, ADHD/LD Specialist

laraee@unc.edu, (919) 962-9350
Lara is a UNC alumna who has spent much of her career doing psychoeducational evaluations and counseling with students. She has worked with students across a variety of settings including in schools, learning centers, and private clinics. Most of the students with whom she has worked have had ADHD and/or learning differences, and Lara is excited to bring her prior knowledge and experience with her into her academic coaching at UNC. Lara’s goal is to support students on their academic journey and in achieving their goals. In her spare time, she enjoys art, photography, gardening, the beach, and spending time with her 3 teenage/young adult sons.

Ben Grace

Ben Grace, Administrative Support Specialist

bgrace@unc.edu, (919) 962-7710

Marc Howlett

Marc Howlett, Academic Coach

mhowlett@email.unc.edu, (919) 962-7228
Marc is dedicated to working with college students, strongly believing that everyone can learn, improve, and succeed. As an Academic Coach, Marc collaborates with students to maximize their academic lives. He knows first-hand the transformative power of academic coaching, having utilized the Learning Center and Writing Center extensively as a UNC graduate student. Marc graduated from UNC in 2015 with a PhD in City & Regional Planning. When not working at the Learning Center, Marc and his family frequent Chapel Hill libraries, parks, gardens, and transportation facilities.

Robin Horton

Robin Horton, Peer Tutoring Specialist

robin_horton@unc.edu, (919) 962-3782
Robin has several years’ experience training peer tutors at North Carolina State University and UNC-Chapel Hill. Additionally, she has worked as a writing tutor, an academic coach, and a tutor mentor at UNC-CH’s Writing and Learning Center and at the College of William & Mary, her undergraduate institution. She has also taught a variety of college-level writing and literature courses and been a program assistant for MURAP at UNC-CH, a summer program that promotes diversity in higher education. Robin received her Ph.D. in English Literature from UNC-Chapel Hill in May 2018. Her dissertation research focused on working-class poetry in nineteenth-century America. She currently lives in Carrboro with her husband Steven.

Kristen Rademacher

Kristen Rademacher, Academic Coach, ADHD/LD Specialist

krademacher@unc.edu, (919) 843-4553
Kristen’s years in education include various roles: classroom teacher, curriculum developer, private tutor and academic coach.  She enjoys helping both undergraduate and graduate students create an overall goal-centered Tar Heel experience, as well as develop effective academic skills.  Kristen has particular interest in students with ADHD and LD, and coaches them to manage and even embrace their learning differences.  Kristen loves yoga, writing, cooking, spending time with her family, and getting to the mountains or beach when she can.

Graduate Learning Coaches



Ani is enthusiastic about everyone she meets and is excited to collaborate with others in school, work, and the wild. Originally from Los Angeles, she is currently finishing her PhD in English and Comparative Literature at UNC. She studies medieval and renaissance humor, magic, and science. She has taught English at both the high school and undergraduate level for a combined 12 years, and is excited to work as an academic coach at the Learning Center. Outside of school and working with others, the ocean, animals, sushi, yoga, board games, and spending time with friends and family have her heart.



Anna is excited to join the Learning Center staff to collaborate with students, participate in ongoing projects, and help design and lead new workshops and initiatives. A fourth year in the English PhD program, she studies contemporary transatlantic literature, aesthetic theory, and psychoanalysis. Before coming to UNC, Anna taught English in Brazil; Brazilian music and dance as well as yoga, backpacking, cooking, and her cat, Sammi, all nourish her soul.



Lea is a second-year dual degree Master of Social Work and Master of Public Administration student here at Carolina. She is originally from Albemarle, NC and also attended UNC for undergrad, where she double majored in History and Spanish. After undergrad, she completed a year of service with AmeriCorps VISTA in 2017-2018, working with the City of Raleigh on the Dorothea Dix Park project. Her areas of interest include US immigration policy, ethical and sustainable international development, and nonprofit management. She is excited to work with students this year as a Graduate Learning Coach, and loves reading and spending time with friends, family, and her two cats, Casper and Cayde.