Debra Mexicotte received her BFA and MA in Theatre from Case Western Reserve University and the University of Michigan, and worked in local and regional theatre as a designer and painter before starting her career in higher ed. She has spent her career at the University of Michigan working to partner with students and student organizations to help them achieve their highest developmental aspirations. Deb was named Student Organization Adviser of the Year in 1999. Most recently, she spent eight years as the Program Director for Arts at Michigan, a co-curricular arts engagement program at UM. She is also the current President of the Ann Arbor Board of Education and has served the community as a Trustee since 2003.
Gabriel Harp is the Research Director for a2ru, where he leads the Mellon SPARC project and a2ru’s research agenda. The SPARC project makes use of hundreds of interviews with faculty and administrators from over 35 research universities—as well as supporting materials and documents—to identify and highlight patterns and practices for arts-driven research, collaborative know-how, curriculum, and organizational design in higher education. Prior to joining a2ru and returning to the University of Michigan, Gabriel lived in the San Francisco Bay Area leading strategic foresight, organization change design, large-scale social science research initiatives, arts research, and software design projects for the Institute for the Future, ecoAmerica, XPLANE, Microsoft, Intel, WattTime, GE, CoClimate, The World Health Organization, the California Community College System, and Nokia. Gabriel also spent four years teaching and leading experimental art, design, technology, and public policy labs in Bangalore for the Center for Study of Science Technology and Public Policy (CSTEP), the Center for Knowledge Societies (CKS), and the Srishti Center for Experimental Media Art (CEMA). Gabriel was originally trained in evolutionary ecology and behavior while studying the evolution of sex and parasitism in freshwater snails and floral evolution in flowering plants.
Amy Tackitt received her Bachelor of Music in cello performance from the University of Michigan where she studied with Anthony Elliott, Erling Bengtsson, and Richard Aaron. Before returning to Michigan to work for ArtsEngine and a2ru, she served seven years as Program Coordinator of the Community Music and Dance Academy and Curry Summer Music Camp, the two community outreach programs housed within the School of Music at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. Amy is currently the Administrator for the Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association, an organization of over 300 member organizations from around the world. She has played in many summer festival and community orchestras across the country and served as chair of the orchestra committee for two years while playing in the cello section of the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. Prior to her work at Northern Arizona University, she spent two years as Assistant Orchestra Librarian for the Houston Symphony in Houston, Texas.
Veronica Dittman Stanich holds a PhD in Dance Studies from the Ohio State University. Her interview- and observation-based research investigating audience responses to postmodern dance has been published in Dance Chronicle and presented to the Congress on Research in Dance. Additional research into arts-integrated teaching at the University of Michigan has resulted in whitepapers and case-studies circulated across the university. Currently, she is working with a2ru’s Research Director to analyze and synthesize interview data on arts integration impacts; issues around tenure and promotion for those engaged in arts, design, and interdisciplinary practices; and collaboration. She continues to teach undergraduate courses in writing about performance and in dance.
Living Arts Program Director
Mark has most recently served as an Academic Program Officer in the Center for Engineering Diversity and Outreach, Managing a wide variety of academic, personal and professional development programs as well as serving as an academic coach for the M-STEM academy. He has worked as an Assistant Professor of Music at Alcorn State University and the University of Tennessee at Martin teaching applied trumpet, music theory, music appreciation and brass methods courses. He has also performed with many orchestras and brass ensembles throughout the mid-west, south and Mexico.
He holds a bachelor degree (BM) from the University of Akron, a Masters (MM) and Doctorate (DMA) from the University of Michigan and a Performance Certificate from Northwestern University.
Living Arts Program Assistant
Ruth is a native to Michigan and loves everything Michigan: the wines, the cherries, the bodies of water, Vernors, stroh’s ice cream, and of course Ann Arbor! She has been at the University for 27 years, with 6 years of that time spent as part of the Living Arts team. Her interests include outdoor related activities, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends.
Bio coming soon!
Bio coming soon!
Diana Cortes comes from the small town of Holland, MI, where she also graduated with her B.A. in Communication from Hope College. While there, she participated in a variety of student groups throughout campus. She is currently enrolled at University of Michigan in the M.A of Higher Education program with a Concentration in Student Access and Success. Her research interests include exploring the experiences of underrepresented students in college. During her free time, she also enjoys baking and catching up over coffee.
Bio coming soon!
Rinette is a junior dual majoring in business administration and art, with a focus in marketing. Using both her fine arts and graphic design background, she strives to incorporate traditional art into digital mediums to create a unique aesthetic. Some things she likes to do include sporadically drawing in random places and dog watching.