Center for Student Success Staff

Whit Rice
Director of the Center for Student Success
Call: 256.352.8406 
Alt: 256.615.8223

 Schedule Advising Appointment

Whit is a Cullman, AL native and has worked at Wallace State since 2008. He attended Wallace State and then transferred to Auburn University where he graduated with a B.S. in Finance. He attended graduate school at Troy University where he received his master’s degree in Public Administration. Whit has worked in Recruiting, Upward Bound and Advising and loves building relationships with students and helping them reach their goals. He is a firm believer in the transformative power of education and truly loves coming to work each day.

Fun Facts: Whit is a diehard Auburn fan and enjoys snow skiing, traveling, grilling, the mountains, and spending time with his family. Whit is proud to serve as the name reader at Wallace State’s graduation ceremony and has handled Public Address responsibilities for various Wallace State sporting events.

Elizabeth Hunt
Success Advisor
Call: 256.352.8283 
Alt: 256.297.1724​

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Elizabeth is originally from Ashville, AL. She enrolled at Gadsden State Community College prior to earning a Bachelor of Science in Education from Auburn University. She moved to Cullman in 1991 and began working in education with Cullman City Schools. She then began working at Wallace State in Adult Education and as a GED Instructor. In 2013, she joined the Success Coaching team at Wallace State and earned Capstone Certification in student coaching. Elizabeth is passionate about assisting students in achieving their dream of higher education and a fulfilling career.

Fun Facts: Elizabeth is an Auburn graduate as well as her three children and daughter in law. She loves to cook, travel and spend time with her family.

Advisor to students whose last name starts with A - Bri.

Jill Strickland
Success Advisor
Call: 256.352.8316 
Alt: 256.887.9136​

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Jill was born and raised in South Carolina until marriage brought her to Alabama.  She earned her B.A. in Health Science and Physiology from Furman University and then an A.A.S as a Physical Therapist Assistant at Wallace State Community College.  After teaching in Wallace State’s PTA program for many years, she transitioned to Success Coaching in 2013.  Jill’s favorite part about working with students is the relationships that are built and is honored to partner with students in their academic journey. 

Fun Facts:  Jill and her husband enjoy crafting and woodworking with proceeds going towards their son’s memorial scholarship at Wallace State. 

Advisor to students whose last name starts with Bro - C.

Dakota Nichols
Success Advisor
Call: 256.352.8047​ 

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Dakota is a Lawrence County, AL, native and graduated from Hatton High School. He received his Associate in Science from Northwest-Shoals Community College then transferred to the University of Alabama and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History. He also received a Master of Arts from the University of Alabama in Political Science focusing on American Government. He has completed additional graduate work in History from UAB and University of Nebraska-Kearney with an emphasis on Southern/Birmingham History. After a career in Pharmaceuticals, Dakota began work in the Alabama Community College System in 2015 and started at Wallace State in 2018. Dakota's favorite part of working with students is building relationships with students and seeing them reach their academic and career goals.

Fun Facts: Dakota is a huge UAB Blazers fan and can be found at every football and basketball game in Birmingham. He's also an avid Miami Marlins baseball fan. When he's not watching the Blazers or Marlins, he is either traveling or staying active in playing beach volleyball, pickleball, tennis, running, and more.

Advisor to students whose last name starts with D - Gl.

Amber Robinson
Success Advisor
Call: 256.352.8044​ 

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Amber is a Cullman, AL, native and a graduate of Good Hope High School. She earned her Associate in Science in Business Administration from Wallace State Community College, her Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Management from Athens State University, and her Masters of Business from Faulkner University. She joined Wallace State in 2016 as the Office Manager for the Wallace State Oneonta campus. Later she transitioned into the role of Academics Advisor for SSS/Trio in 2019 and is now a Success Advisor.  Amber also serves as Co-Director for the Miss Wallace State and Miss North Alabama’s Outstanding Teen competitions. 

Amber is passionate about showing students that no matter where they are in life, that they can be successful. She will help and encourage them to make necessary changes in their lives to successful at whatever they choose to do.  

Advisor to students whose last name starts with Go - H.

Kim Twitty
Success Advisor
Call: 256.352.8041​ 

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Kim is a graduate of Wallace State Community College, earning her Associate in Applied Science degree. She attended Faulkner University’s Accelerated program to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Management of Human Resources. Kim began her career at Wallace State working part-time while attending classes. She accepted a full-time position in 1995, working with the Dental and Pharmacy Technology Programs. While working full-time she pursued and earned her Master of Business Administration degree from The University of Phoenix.  Kim is a firm believer that an education gives one the power to change the world.

Fun Facts: Kim has a love for all things Auburn, WAR EAGLE! She is an avid sports fan, and spends most of her time at a baseball field, football field or high school gymnasium.  She also enjoys spending time with her son and the rest of her family.

Advisor to students whose last name starts with I - L.

Jennifer McRea
Success Advisor
Call: 256.352.8477​ 
Alt: 256.887.4649

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Ms. McRea earned her Associate in Science in Business Administration degree from Wallace State Community College, her Bachelor of Science degree from Athens State University and her Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Management from the University of North Alabama.  She joined Wallace State Community College in 2004 as a Financial Aid Clerk and transitioned to the Center for Student Success in 2010.

She’s passionate about student success and working together to ensure students overcome any roadblocks they encounter during their academic tenure at Wallace State Community College.

Fun Facts: She is a faith-filled, devout Christian who enjoys reading, gardening and spending time with family.

Personal Quotes: I truly feel earning a college degree can and will transform your life and positively impact future generations. 

Always stay the course with passion, determination and positivity.

Advisor to students whose last name starts with M - O.

Devan Ponder
Success Advisor
Call: 256.352.8413
Alt: 256.615.8125

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Devan has worked at Wallace State since 2017 and has experience in Advising and Admissions. She came to Wallace State after working for 10 years for Cullman County Schools. A Cullman, AL, native, Devan earned her bachelor’s degree in business from Faulkner University. She is passionate about helping students meet their goals and takes pride in serving her students and community.

Fun Facts: Devan is a big fan of Alabama football (Roll Tide) and can be found binge watching episodes of The Office. She enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors, going on new adventures, and caring for her animals – especially her four dogs.

Advisor to students whose last name starts with P - R.

Susan Peek
Success Advisor
Call: 256.352.7839 
Alt: 256.887.9332​

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Susan is a Virginia native who has lived all over the world but had never called a place home until she settled in Cullman, AL. She earned her bachelor’s degree in History from Berea College and is completing her master’s degree in Humanities at Faulkner University. Susan has worked at Wallace State since 2013, serving as a Success Coach and Prior Learning Specialist. She has experience working in Study Abroad, International Education and as a Student Services Associate.

Susan is passionate about building meaningful relationships with students in order to support them in reaching the goals they have set for themselves. Her particular areas of professional and academic interest are study abroad/international education, career coaching, supporting student Veterans, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education, and Celtic and Appalachian Studies.

Fun Facts: Susan has lived in and traveled to Germany, the United Kingdom, South Wales, Greece, Turkey and Scotland, including six months in a study abroad program at Swansea University in Wales. In her free time, she spends time with family and friends – especially her husband and two daughters – and is currently learning Welsh.

Advisor to students whose last name starts with S - Th.

Julie Grimes
Success Advisor
Call: 256.352.7840 
Alt: 256.615.2855

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Julie is a Capstone Certified Success Coach with a background that includes journalism, communications, and management. She's a dreamer whose passion is helping others find their dreams, too, and then make plans to achieve them. 

Advisor to students whose last name starts with Ti - Z.

Chuck Davis
Testing Coordinator
Call: 256.352.8248