Student and Family Support Services

Student U cares about the holistic well-being of students. We know that while developing academic skills is important, keeping our students socially, emotionally, and physically well is just as crucial to their success. Student U works to build community among students as a place where they are affirmed to be the best version of themselves and develop a positive personal identity.

Program Director

Muriel Smith, M.Ed. is our Program Director. Student U believes that as we grow as an organization it is important to ensure that we continue to offer high-quality programming for our students and families. Her primary responsibility is overseeing the middle school, high school, and College Promise programs. You will see Ms. Muriel present at programming events throughout the year. Feel free to reach out to Ms. Muriel to offer feedback about your child’s experience in our programs, answer questions about what we do, and share any of your concerns about our programs. She can be reached by email at muriel.smith@studentudurham.org or by phone at 919-697-8627.


Director of Student and Family Support Services

Ashley Peters, LCSW is our Director of Student and Family Support Services. Student U believes that emotional resilience and wellness are necessary for success in school and in life. We provide a range of services that promote coping skills and healing and contribute to the social and emotional health of our community. These services include individual, group, and family counseling, student support fund, and connecting families to community resources. It is important to note these services are confidential and offered at no cost to families. They can occur in the community or the Student U office. You can contact Ms. Ashley at ashley.peters@studentudurham.org or 919-590-9258.


Learning Specialist

Alex Turner, is our Learning Specialist. Ms. Alex’s primary responsibility is to make sure all Student U students have the academic skills, resources, and tools necessary to be confident, thriving learners both in and out of school. This can take a lot of different forms: meeting one-on-one or in small groups with students to build skills, connecting families and staff to academic resources, supporting families through the IEP/504 process, and working with program staff to create and choose strong curriculum. She is a resource for all students and staff - middle school, high school, and college - and gets to spend a lot of time learning about students and brainstorming how they can best thrive in an academic setting. She also makes sure our students have access to excellent books. You can contact Ms. Alex at alex.lowe@studentudurham.org or 919-797-9329.


Bilingual Families Advocate

Andrea Rodriguez, is our Bilingual Families Advocate. Student U believes that parents and guardians are students’ best advocate and support. Ms. Andrea connects Spanish-speaking families to the Student U community. She can also provide interpretation services and support at a student’s school. She encourages families to connect with her if they have any questions about Student U programming, a student’s public school, or need support or resources in the community. Feel free to text or call Andrea at 919-679-1998.


Nuestros Servicios de Apoyo para Estudiantes y Familias