Deb Mexicotte
Managing Director

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.


Gabriel Harp
Research Director


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
Program Coordinator


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 Stanich
Research Program Manager


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.


Mark Jones
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.


Ruth Marsh
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.




Student Employees

Jack Bowman
Research Assistant
Bio coming soon!

Diana Cortes
Graduate Intern
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.




Dylan Hancook

Based out of Ann Arbor, Dylan attends the University of Michigan where he is pursuing a B.A in Screen Arts & Cultures. He has since become producer/director for M-Agination Films, writer/director for Zoorp sketch comedy, cinematographer/editor for Filmic Productions, and videographer for Arts Engine. His professional experience includes creative production internships at DigitasLBi Troy (GMC/Buick), Viewpoint Creative Boston (A&E, NBC, HBO, Vice), and Spectrum Health Grand Rapids. Dylan Hancook is currently working in commercial, music video, and short form narrative filmmaking. His recent projects include the “A Send-off: Michigan Bicentennial Commencement” which played at the famed Big House,  “Cheater” which won 3rd place overall and the audience award at the YPSI 24 hour film competition, “Roll Call” which won 1st prize overall at the Spotlight Film competition, and “EchoMe Launchspot” which won best live action spot overall at the 2016 Boston Brandathon. He is currently shooting of a 30-minute narrative film entitled “Chasing the GOAT”, which will premiere in the Traverse City Film Festival in July 2017. He enjoys stand-up comedy, backcountry hiking, and talking in third person.

Andrew Howell

Bio coming soon!

Rinette Korea
Graphic Designer

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

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.


Jed Rosen
Graphic Designer

Jed Rosen is a Senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science Architecture and a Minor in Business from New York City. His professional experience includes working in the construction, interior design, and architecture industries. Using his background in design and business, Jed focuses on combining contemporary and classic design to create a unique brand of socially conscious, sustainable, and engaging work. Outside of his work, Jed has been an active member of the University Activities Center (UAC) and Amazin’ Blue, a UM a cappella group that has performed across the country, for close to four years. He is also a Taubman College Student Ambassador and member of the professional architecture fraternity, Alpha Rho Chi (APX).


Alex Snow

Bio coming soon!

Charles Wyson

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.

Mengdan Yuan
Research Associate

Bio coming soon!