In addition to the mentors (who you met last time), there are two main denizens who haunt the MAPH office and will be there to answer your questions and help get you through the year.
Meet the Staff
Sarah Smith, Program Coordinator
Sarah occupies the front desk in the MAPH office, but she’s really short, so usually you have to come all the way into the room and peek over her computer to see her. Come to her with any general questions or for administrative help. She’s a great source of information, and on the rare occasion that she can’t help you she will at least know who can.
Hails from: South Carolina, y’all
Currently reading: The Sparrow by M. Russell, but mostly right now re-reading Moby-Dick. I had to sprint through it in my MAPH year and I felt like I missed too much the first go-round.
Favorite bookstore: Bucket o’ Blood in Logan Square. A tiny used bookstore dedicated to horror, fantasy, and science-fiction, with small collections of records, comics, and some other books curated by the owner. It’s a bit of a trek to get to from Hyde Park, but I live nearby it and am happy to help others find it!
Favorite animals: While the octopus is my number one for a variety of reasons, I have a love for all sea creatures—the weirder the better! But I have a growing
obsession affinity for capybaras that’s beginning to plague the office.
What I’m doing this summer: Besides working in the MAPH office, I’ve been knitting (during the heat wave, yes, I AM a genius) and binge-watching Danish crime dramas. I’m also always playing at least one video game—just finished The Last of Us and I’m still emotionally compromised.
Maren Robinson, Associate Director
Maren occupies the back desk in the MAPH office, and is often working so diligently that you might not even realize she’s there! Maren handles the upper-level administration of the program and can handle the tougher problems you throw at her. She knows pretty much all there is to know about MAPH. It can seem imposing to go into the back offices, feel free to stop by and say hello to her when you’re in the office! Also stop by for recommendations about Chicago theaters or where to find parrots and or green backed herons in Chicago neighborhoods.
Hails from: Idaho and Montana. Please talk to me about fly fishing, or hiking or Yellowstone National Park. I desperately miss mountains.
Favorite Swedish restaurant in Chicago: Tre Kronor, really their cinnamon rolls are way better than Ann Sather’s, but Ann Sather will do in a pinch. However neither of these are in Hyde Park so if you want good cinnamon rolls or Swedish pancakes with lingonberries you’ll have to trek north.
Most recent museum trip: to see the Lascaux Cave Painting exhibit at the Field Museum. It was fantastic. Follow it up with Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams,and then tell me if you can come up with a plausible explanation for his white crocodile metaphor at then end of the film.
What I’m doing this summer: preparing dramaturgy for a number of plays that will go into production this fall and next spring. That means I am doing research on everything from Julia Child, to the start of the AIDS crisis, to debates evolutionary biology, to 1920s Ireland so feel free to chat with me about any of those too. You can also check out my theater company at TimeLine Theatre. Other than that I am on my bike, in my community garden plot, taking photographs or occasionally canoeing on the Chicago river.