Staff Bios

Editor in Chief

Karen Duan is a senior in the architecture school with a minor in Creative Writing. Outside of drafting speculative spaces at studio, she enjoys collecting felt tip pens, creating lists, and laughing to the point of almost choking. Karen’s favorite things to read include collections of short stories, dystopian science fiction, and anything by Jamaica Kincaid or George Saunders. 

Editing Committee Chair 

Taylor Grandinetti is a junior studying Communications Studies and English at the University of Michigan. He spends most of his time outside of class working as a copy editor at The Michigan Daily, which provides him an outlet for his bad but useful habit of correcting others’ grammar. Some of his favorite books include “American Gods,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “Cloud Atlas” and “The Golden Compass.”

Events Committee Chair

Ashley Zhang makes many bad decisions, but joining the staff of Xylem as Events Chair certainly wasn’t one of them. Ashley is a writer who suffers from chronic writer’s block, a baker with an insatiable sweet tooth and a self-proclaimed “city girl” who grew up in the embrace of sweet suburbia. She likes to call herself “a mess of contradictions” because it sounds poetic, but usually she’s just a mess. When she’s not running after the bus or crying about math homework, Ashley can be found working as an editorial columnist for The Michigan Daily or reading books that challenge her morals or make her feel (i.e. cry). The Secret History, The Picture of Dorian Gray, the Harry Potter series, and The Opposite of Loneliness are some of her favorites.

Finance Committee Chair

Manasvini Rao is a sophomore studying business and international studies at the University of Michigan, and hoping to pursue a minor in French. She loves watching Korean dramas, bollywood movies, and has commitment issues with lengthy TV shows. In her free time, of which she has none, she enjoys baking, biking, and listening to movie soundtracks (favorites are The Grand Budapest Hotel, and anything composed by Joe Hisaishi). Her favorite author is Gabriel Garcia Marquez and her life’s goal is to live up to her namesake, a badass Hindu goddess.

Advertising and PR Committee Chair 

Edith Zhang has trouble writing bios. Freshman year she wrote in a bio that she “likes pandas, Pokemon, and other words that start with ‘p'” and did not realize how suggestive that sounds. In middle school she thought porn was shorthand for popcorn. Her favorite ice cream flavor is Blue Moon, which is the blue part of the Superman ice cream flavor. She likes wearing overalls and hair bows and other clothing styles that exacerbate the fact that she already looks way younger than she is. She recently learned how to play ukulele because she wanted to cover the Steven Universe theme song. Her favorite books are The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage, and The Interpreter of the Maladies.

Layout and Design Committee Chair

Sofia Fall is a junior majoring in English and Program in the Environment. She likes hiking, swimming, laughing, talking about books, and being with her sisters. One day she wants to move to Maine or Montana. Her current favorite authors are George Eliot, Elena Ferrante, Haruki Murkami, and Helen Oyeyemi.

Submissions Committee Chair

Allison Chu is a sophomore dual degree student in clarinet performance and English. She loves listening to music, traveling, writing, and watching the clouds instead of paying attention in class. Originally from New Jersey, she has come to call Michigan a second home. Her favorite things to read include poetry and fiction, specifically things that make her think.

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