Tutoring Staff

Sonja Fordham, PhD, Director, Writing Center and Tutoring Center

Sonja Fordham received her BS from Southern Adventist University, her MA in Applied Linguistics from the University of New England, and her PhD in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching from the University of Arizona. She spent 13 years teaching English in South Korea, where she discovered a love for Korean food. She then spent six years in Tucson, AZ, teaching English composition and working on her PhD. In 2014, she joined the faculty at Southern as the director of the Writing Center, and in 2017, she also became the director of the Tutoring Center. In her free time, she loves to run marathons and ultramarathons.

If you would like to schedule a meeting or writing consultation with Dr. Fordham, schedule an appointment online or contact via email.  

Shelly Merryman, Tutoring Center Office Manager

Shelly Merryman is a '98 BSW graduate of Southern Adventist University. After graduating SAU she returned to her hometown in Maryland, to attend the University of Maryland Baltimore in order to complete its MSW program. While there, she married her Southern sweetheart, Jason Merryman. Shortly after graduating from UMB her husband and she decided to start a family. She has spent the last 13 years being a stay at home mom, raising and homeschooling their three beautiful kids. She is excited to be back on Southern's campus, this time helping students and making a difference in their college career.

Missy Syvertson, Tutor Coordinator

I am in my last year of undergraduate studies at Southern, majoring in Religious Studies and International Studies--Spanish with a minor in Psychology. I have spent considerable portions of my life in Wisconsin, Ohio, California, Minnesota, Spain, Lebanon, and Fiji. My favorite things to do are learn new things (especially languages), ride horses, and laugh at well-timed references to my favorite movies and TV shows. I love being an Academic Coaching tutor, but my favorite thing to teach people is Spanish. After graduating from Southern, I plan to travel abroad again and attend graduate school in either Applied or Clinical Psychology somewhere in the UK, eventually returning here to become certified as an Equine-assisted Psychotherapist.  

Kendra Pauls, Tutor Coordinator

I am a senior elementary education major with an emphasis in history. After moving around the country frequently my family is settled in central Florida. I love to read historical fiction books, painting when I’m not doing homework, and go paddle boarding whenever I get the chance. I enjoy Academic Coaching because I love assisting people discover new ways to help themselves succeed in school. After graduation I want to teach in smaller schools, either in the United States or abroad and get certified as an ESL teacher. After teaching for some time, I plan to apply for a master’s degree in either special education or psychology.