Meet Your Mentors

Hey!  We are your new mentors. We graduated from MAPH last month.  Once everything gets started, we will be [a few of] the people you can go to for general advice.  We will also help plan events for the program and serve as friendly faces you can find in the office. In the meantime, feel free to contact us.

Mentors 2013

Keri Asma (kerith at uchicago dot edu)

Hails from: Lake Orion, MI (also known as far north metro Detroit), by way of Grand Rapids, MI and Boston, MA.

Currently reading: The Elephant Vanishes, by Haruki Murakami, and The Fifth Elephant, by Terry Pratchett. The elephant thing was not intentional, and neither book—the former is a collection of short stories and the latter a fantasy depiction of Discworld—is really about elephants, but there it is. Next up I’m looking forward to Haldor Laxness’ Independent People.

I like: fashion (especially the history of Vogue), baking cinnamon rolls, old Germanic and Norse literatures, speaking Italian, retriever-husky puppies, and Michigan basketball.

Favorite Bookstore: Open Books, located in River North. Low prices, all proceeds go to their literacy programming. The politest (volunteer!) staff I’ve ever encountered.

Best “Sandwich” in Hyde Park: the Classic Burger from B’Gabs Goodies at 61st and Dorchester


Jessi Haley (jmhaley at uchicago dot edu)

Origins:  I grew up in Roanoke, Virginia (not the lost colony).  While I was an undergraduate at Skidmore College I lived in Saratoga Springs, New York, but I also spent my junior year studying in Cairo and Prague.  I moved to Chicago shortly after college and haven’t quite left yet.

Currently reading: Right now I’m reading Envy by Yuri Olesha (which is awesome) and On Michael Jackson by the critic Margo Jefferson.  (I met Jefferson when I went to the AWP festival with other MAPH creative writers last March. If you are curious about our experiences, check out my past post and other posts from the trip.)

I like: cooking, biking around Chicago, Ukrainian Village dive bars, petting other people’s dogs, and visiting new cities.

Favorite bookstore in Chicago: Myopic Books in Wicker Park.  In addition to having a nice selection of titles and a pleasant atmosphere, they host a poetry series, a music series, and other events.  Plus they stay open until 11.

Best sandwich in Hyde Park:  The Durand Durand at Z & H.


Gustav Steinhardt – “Tavi” (steinhardt at uchicago dot edu)

 From: Washington, DC; studied in Redlands, CA and Co. Kerry, Ireland

Currently Reading: “The Twentieth Maine” by John Pullen – a history of one of the Civil War’s most storied regiments, and a classic portrait of warrior-intellectual and moustache aficionado Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.

Favorite Chicago Bookstore: Powell’s on 57th Street

Favorite Local Sandwich: 11 City Diner in South Loop makes a grilled cheese with 4 kinds of cheese, bacon, turkey, and big slices of avocado. As you eat it, you can actually feel your arteries clogging. It’s magical.

I like: cheeseburgers, mountains, Batman, AC/DC, beer, these little buttheads, kayaking, yelling at the screen during football games

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