Deb 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 joining the University of Michigan. She has spent her career working initially with students and student organizations engaged with the arts to help them achieve their highest developmental aspirations, and more recently with faculty and administrators to integrate the arts and design with science and engineering across the curricular and co-curricular spheres. Deb was named Student Organization Adviser of the Year in 1999 and has led research efforts on the impact of the arts on students at U-M. Prior to the last three years at ArtsEngine, she spent eight years as the Program Director for Arts at Michigan, a co-curricular arts engagement program. Her experience in the community includes 13 years as a Trustee on the Ann Arbor Board of Education, Chairing the Arts Alliance of Washtenaw County, and currently serving on the Ann Arbor Public Art Commission.
Gregory H. Wakefield
Gregory H. Wakefield is an associate professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with a courtesy appointment in Performing Arts Technology. His current research interests include computational audition, psychoacoustics, immersive audio, musical acoustics, and computed-aided training systems for musicians. In addition, he has collaborated with colleagues in cochlear prosthetics, product sound quality, vocal pedagogy, music information retrieval, time-frequency analysis, spectral estimation, and remote sensing. While his primary teaching responsibilities are in signal processing, systems, and discrete mathematics, Prof. Wakefield has led in the creation of two multidisciplinary courses. “Stradivarius as Biologist” was offered through the Life Sciences and focused on the training of the professional voice through the disciplines of kinesiology, vocal arts, otolaryngology, and signal processing. “Shaping the Sound of Bronze” was offered through the College of Engineering’s freshman design program and focused on the casting of bronze instruments, such as carillon bells or gamelan instruments, through the disciplines of sculpture, campanology, gamelan performance, acoustics, and engineering design. In the early 2000s, he returned to school as an undergraduate in voice and has since been active in the community as a soloist and as a principal in several operas. In addition to his service on the various undergraduate and graduate education committees in EECS and the College of Engineering, he has served as faculty advisor to the University’s Multidisciplinary Design Program and has been a member of the Executive Board of the Rackham Graduate School and SACUA’s Academic Affairs Advisory Committee. Over the years, his consulting clients have included Cochlear Americas, the Ford Motor Company, and Boeing. He holds PhDs in Electrical Engineering and Psychology from the University of Minnesota.
Student Program Manager
Amy Tackitt is student program manager for ArtsEngine and has served as program coordinator for ArtsEngine and the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) for the past 3 years. Amy also serves as co-chair of the membership committee for Arts Administrators in Higher Education (AAHE). She 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.
Living ArtsEngine 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 ArtsEngine Student Administrator
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 six 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.
Persephone Chirolla is a current senior at the Stamps school of art and design studying illustration, graphic design and photography.
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.
Brendan Dewley is a sophomore studying Film, Television, and Media at the College of LSA. He writes for multiple student humor publications, is a Producer and Writer at the student-run television network, has worked on both the cast and crew of many student productions, and is in Midnight Book Club, a campus improv comedy group. Brendan is interested in pursuing the writing, production, and performing of comedy.
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.
Zixi Li comes from China. She holds a bachelor degree in Communication from University of Washington. She is currently a graduate student at University of Michigan, studying Science of Information. Her expertise is in graphic design, intelligent user interfaces, and human-computer interaction. Additionally, she is a passionate Argentine Tango dancer, art lover, creative writer, and intrepid traveler. She has left her footprints on Asia, Europe, Oceania, and North America. Wherever she visits, poems and photographs are always with her. As a photographer, she values dynamic motion and emotional expression.
Bio coming soon!
Matthew “Luke” Wood is a 22-year-old U of M student from Saline Michigan, majoring in Film, television, and Media. He an aspiring film Director/Cinematographer, and loves the craft of storytelling. At the age of 10 he began creating short movies for the internet, and found his calling. Since 2016 he has created music videos for several local artists. In his spare time he enjoys playing basketball and wandering through nature.
Charles Wyson is a filmmaker from Los Angeles, currently studying Art and Design at the University of Michigan. Charles began making films at age 9, and began seriously pursuing the craft at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. Charles has produced, written and directed eight of his own short films, and has served as Cinematographer for over 35 student films. His film Sanctus won Best Film at the Brentwood Film Festival, came in 2nd Place at the Malibu Teen Film Festival, and garnered Charles an award for Best Director at Westflix Film Festival. Charles is an alumnus of YoungArts, a national compaction for artists under the age of 18, where he was one of seven filmmakers in the US to receive an Honorable Mention for two consecutive years.
Bio coming soon!