meet the team

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Deb Mexicotte

Managing Director

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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 six 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 many years as a Trustee on the Ann Arbor Board of Education and leadership positions with the Arts Alliance of Washtenaw County and the Ann Arbor Public Art Commission.

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John Granzow

Faculty Director

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John Granzow applies the latest manufacturing methods to both scientific and musical instrument design. After completing a masters of science in psychoacoustics, he attended Stanford University for his PhD in computer-based music theory and acoustics. Granzow started and instructed the 3d Printing for Acoustics workshop at the Centre for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. He attended residencies at the Banff Centre and the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. His research focuses on computer-aided design, analysis, and fabrication for new musical interfaces with embedded electronics. He also leverages these tools to investigate acoustics and music perception.

Granzow’s instruments include a long-wire installation for Pauline Oliveros, sonified easels for a large-scale installation at La Condition des Soies in Lyon, France, and a hybrid gramophone commissioned by the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. He is a member of the Acoustics Society of America where he frequently presents his findings. In 2013, Granzow was awarded best paper for his work modeling the vocal tract as it couples to free reeds in musical performance.

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Mark Jones

Assistant Director

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Mark Jones 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.

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Rachel Oti

Living ArtsEngine
Program Director

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Rachel Oti earned her Bachelor’s Degree in arts education at Aquinas College and Master’s Degree in art administration and nonprofit management at Eastern Michigan University. She has over a decade of experience supporting the artistic community in Southeast Michigan through event organizing, marketing, and programming. Most recently, Rachel was the Program Specialist at Arts at Michigan where she connected U-M students to the arts through arts competitions, trips to arts experiences, serving as the advisor for the Arts Ambassadors student organization, and more! Helping students find and build meaningful connections within the arts is extremely important to Rachel. She is also very passionate about uplifting local artists and attends many of the creative events in and around Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

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Amanda Benjamin

Administrative Assistant

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Amanda Benjamin earned her Master’s Degree in Communication, Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Public Relations, and Lean Black Belt Certificate from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. She has over 10 years of experience in administration and marketing, including in higher education. Most recently, she served as Operations Manager for an optical distributor and as Deputy Supervisor for Exeter Township, Michigan. In these roles, she engaged in office management, event planning, marketing and process improvement. She has a passion for continuous learning and helping others learn and grow.

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Prisha Guha

Graphic Designer

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Prisha Guha is a student from the class of 2025 at the University of Michigan, currently studying Architecture. Her interest in a multidisciplinary education has led her to minor in Art & Design, Business, and Real Estate Development. She enjoys pursuing opportunities to be involved in set design, marketing design, and graphic design on campus and is the vice president of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) chapter at U-M. When she gets the chance, Prisha will scrapbook, make collages, go swimming, scuba diving, or skiing and try new foods.

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Eric Oliveira


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I’m Eric, and I am majoring in sound engineering through the SMTD. I love being part of creative projects in all sorts of fields. I am particularly fond of music and sound recording and editing, as I have always been a musician.

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Ainesh Shintre


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Bio coming soon!

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Tianyi Zhai


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Tianyi Zhai is a student from the class of 2025 at the University of Michigan, currently studying FTVM (Film, Television, and Media) and Psychology. She is also the founder and president of the only Original Chinese Film Club, “Cinnamon Cinema” at U of M. She also has experience with theater production. She wrote and directed three original musicals in high school and produced them with her team. She loves storytelling and focuses on evoking strong emotional responses from audiences.