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TRIO Upward Bound Programs

Meet the Staff

Sharon M. Gilbert, MEd

TRIO Upward Bound Programs Director

Sharon Gilbert

Sharon Gilbert

Mrs. Sharon M. Gilbert joined the University of Montevallo TRIO Upward Bound Program as the Counselor/Assistant Director in 1991. In 2006, she was promoted to Director. Mrs. Gilbert is responsible for creating and overseeing programs and services designed to serve and support first-generation, low-income high school students. She is also responsible for all record-keeping, monitoring program compliance with federal regulations, government reporting, and grant writing.

Prior to joining the UM TRIO Upward Bound Programs staff, she worked as a rehabilitation counselor with Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Paine College as director of Career Planning and Placement.

Jamaica Dunigan, MEd

Academic Coordinator

Jamaica Dunigan

Jamaica Dunigan

Jamaica joined The University of Montevallo TRIO Upward Bound Programs in the Summer of 2009 as a Resident Assistant, Instructor, and Tutor. Jamaica transitioned quickly to an Instructor and Lead Master Tutor, and In 2020, she was promoted to Academic Coordinator. As Academic Coordinator, Jamaica is responsible for student academics by providing supplemental instruction for participants, monitoring grades, and testing data. She is also responsible for training tutors, providing academic guidance, and assisting students with scholarships.

Before joining TRIO Upward Bound Programs staff, Jamaica worked for Shelby County Schools for eight years as a Paraeducator and as a Counselor in the After School Care Program.

Alexandria Cottrell, MEd, LPC, NCC

Student Development Coordinator

Alexandria Cottrell

Alexandria Cottrell

Alexandria Cottrell has been the Student Development Coordinator for the University of Montevallo TRIO Upward Bound Programs since March 2018. After earning her Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree from the University of Montevallo, she went on to serve as a therapist for adolescent youth in both outpatient and residential treatment facilities.

Ms. Cottrell is a Licensed Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor who enjoys utilizing creativity and mindfulness in the work she does with her students. Her areas of responsibilities include providing brief individual and group counseling, overseeing personal development groups, supervising interns, coordinating cultural enrichment events and community service projects, overseeing career exploration, facilitating the Ambassador Leadership Program, and coordinating special events (i.e. Career Day, the Mr. and Miss Competition, etc.).

Kelcie Watkins, MEd

Math and Science Coordinator

Kelcie Watkins

Kelcie Watkins

Mrs. Watkins joined the University of Montevallo TRIO Upward bound Programs team as the Math and Science coordinator in May 2020. In this position, Mrs. Watkins is responsible for coordinating supplemental instruction in math and science including hands-on and virtual experiences in labs, computer facilities, and field trips. She also oversees Summer research and STEM-related career-site visits along with implementing STEM workshops.

Prior to joining the UM TRIO Upward Bound Programs staff, Mrs. Watkins worked in the Chilton County school system as a 4th-grade math, science, and STEM teacher.

Paul G. Barnes, EdS

Educational Technology Coordinator

Paul G. Barnes

Paul G. Barnes

Mr. Barnes has been a member of the TRIO Upward Bound Programs staff since 1999. His areas of responsibility include scheduling, attendance, managing technology assets, maintaining the databases, assessing and reporting program performance, and coordinating postsecondary visits.

Prior to joining the UM TRIO Upward Bound Programs staff, Mr. Barnes was a community mental health counselor, a computer technician, a webmaster, and a network manager.

Anitka Sims, BBA

Administrative Assistant

Anitka Sims

Anitka Sims

Mrs. Anitka Stewart Sims is a recent addition to the TRIO Upward Bound Programs staff. She came on board in January 2020 as Administrative Assistant. In this position, Anitka works with staff, students, and external offices providing various administrative support functions.

Previously, she worked as SEA Thrift Store manager for Shelby Emergency Assistance. Anitka graduated from the University of Montevallo with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Management.