meet the team
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.
Amy Tackitt is assistant director of ArtsEngine and has served as student program manager and program coordinator for ArtsEngine and program coordinator for the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) for 3 years. Amy also serves as 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 MOLA: An Association of Music Performance Librarians, 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.
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.
Andrew Armstrong is a senior earning a dual degree through the Ross School of Business and through the Film, Television, and Media Department in LSA. He has served as co-president for FVSA, a film discussion club, and continues to serve as a producer for M-agination Films. In the last three years, he has fulfilled various roles in the creation of over 20 short films. He is currently serving as one of four co-founders of a photography and videography start-up. After college, he hopes to pursue a film production career either in the creative or business world.
Ariel is a Senior at U of M majoring in Film, Television, and Media with a Screenwriting Sub Major. Over the course of his time at Michigan, Ariel has participated in over 30 unique projects in a shmorgishborg of different roles. Over the past year Ariel co-founded Delos Collective, a photography/videography group that works paid events in order to fund their short films. Beyond his 2022 graduation, Ariel hopes to move to Los Angeles and pursue a career in the entertainment industry.
Brendan Dewley is a junior 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.
Ancel "Fitz" Neeley
Ancel “Fitz” Neeley (He/Him) is a senior currently studying composition and percussion performance at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater, and Dance. While spending most of his time as a musician, Ancel frequently works as a composer, engraver, recordist, videographer, and performer for various students, productions, and organizations through U of M. Outside of U of M he primarily works as an educator for high school ensembles. Ancel is passionate about collaborating with other artists having commissioned/performed for many U of M composition, performance, and art and design students. While having also been commissioned by The University of Michigan Concert Band, The Michigan Music Teachers Association, and notable percussionists Tom Sherwood, and Cameron Leach. In his free time he is probably walking his dog, getting pizza with friends, or watching a good show.
Social Media Assistant
Michael Ngan is in his junior year in the BS (Arch) program at Taubman. As a student from
Hong Kong, he is fully aware of how architecture can bridge between different languages
and cultures. He enjoyed working across disciplines in the Living Arts residential community
in his freshman year. Being identified as a sporty kid, he thinks learning should be no
different: Never forget to have fun and challenge yourself. In his free time, he enjoys
reading, watching sports, composing, and making music, and is a proud member of the
University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club, one of the oldest collegiate choruses in the country.
Alex is a senior at the University of Michigan. He is studying aerospace engineering with a focus in astronautics. His research interests include aerodynamics, computational fluid dynamics, hypersonics, and space propulsion. He is creatively driven and works as a photographer and videographer for student project teams of diverse educational backgrounds including the School of Engineering, Music, Theater, Dance, Art, and Design. Alex has created marketing content to promote and raise awareness for the Cancer Support Community and Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.
Alex has also listened to over 100,000 minutes of music on Spotify for two years in a row, and his taste of music is not even as diverse as his love of food. His goal is to eat at every restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor before he graduates. Alex makes a conscious effort to appreciate the spontaneous, unexpected, and little things in life. He prioritizes his mental and physical well-being by making time for himself and working out.
Bio coming soon!
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!