About Us

Our project teams consists of historians, designers, educators, and others who have worked on various projects related to Hoover Dam or virtual reality.

Project Director: Anthony F. Arrigo, is an Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. He is an award-winning educator and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in rhetorical theory, visual rhetoric, cultural studies, and environmental literature & communications. He is the author of the book Imaging Hoover Dam: The Making of a Cultural Icon (2014). He is a three-time Director for NEH Summer Institutes and Workshops for Hoover Dam and the Shaping of the American West. His article “Los Angeles wants to use the Hoover Dam as a giant battery: the hurdles could be more historical than technical” for The Conversation, was reprinted in US News & World Report, the San Francisco Chronicle, World Economic Forum, the Chicago Tribune, and Business Insider among others. He is currently writing a new biography on photographer Winthrop A. Davis.

Co-Project Director: Shakhnoza Kayumova is an Associate Professor in the Department of STEM Education & Teacher Development at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Dr. Kayumova is an NSF Career Awardee, and a Research Scientist at the Kaput Center for Research & Innovation in STEM Education. Dr. Kayumova’s research closely examines the ways in which social constructs such as class, gender, race, ethnicity, and language get implicated in the processes of learning among diverse learners. Dr. Kayumova has experience working, designing, and leading multiple federally-funded projects including Language-rich Inquiry Science with ELLs (LISELL, 2015), Computational Thinking Counts (NSF, 2020, PI), Girl Power Project in STEAM (PI), and The Nexus of Science and Language Identity Development Among English language Learners (PI).

Co-Project Director: Scott Ahrens is a Professor of Art + Design at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Dr. Ahrens teaches courses in Animation, Game Arts, and Graphic Design. His career has included positions at both academic institutions and award-winning commercial design studios. Dr. Ahrens’ develops design systems that incorporate both print and digital products for fortune 500 clients. His most recent projects explore the use of virtual reality technology to create interactive educational simulations. He will be the primary lead for game design.

Designer: Michael Swartz is an award-winning digital media artist specializing in 3D animation, visual effects, and game art. His career in the visual arts has evolved from canvases and paint to complex character rigging, lighting, and animation for TV, film, games, and virtual reality. He currently teaches 3D Digital Modeling, 2D and 3D Animation, Virtual Reality Design, and Game Art courses at the College of Visual and Performing Arts at UMass Dartmouth. He is currently leading a team of students in the creation of Virtual Reality Campus and a virtual reality Mars rover game. He will be primarily involved in 3D modeling and graphic design.

Historian and Curriculum Designer: Michelle Follette Turk is a historian of occupational health at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her recent work examines labor, hazards, and health and safety programs in southern Nevada. She writes and lectures on occupational health history, Hoover Dam, and Las Vegas medical history. She will be the primary historian and consultant for labor practices at Hoover Dam related to our prototype and will work on curriculum development.

Master Teacher and Curriculum Designer: Jeffrey Hinton holds an Ed.S. and is a National Board-Certified teacher in the Clark County, NV school district. He has been the Michael Landsberry Nevada Teacher of the Year, the Gilder Lehrman Nevada History Teacher of the Year, a James Madison Graduate Fellow, and Nevada Daughters of the American Revolution Teacher of the Year. He will be responsible for curriculum development, educational content, and learning objectives for the project.

Advisory Board

Victoria Gallagher is a Professor of Communications and former Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies at North Carolina State University. Dr. Gallagher’s scholarship is on civil rights-related discourse, commemorative sites, visual and material culture, and public art. She is also the principal investigator of the NEH-funded Virtual Martin Luther King project. As a former Digital Projects for the Public grant recipient, she will bring to the program valuable knowledge of both the theory and practicalities of digital humanities work.

Michael S. Green is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Dr. Green is the foremost expert in Nevada history. He is an award-winning educator, and the author or co-author of eight books and over thirty scholarly journal articles and book chapters on Nevada and American history. He has also co-directed both NEH and U.S. Department of Education grant-funded history projects. He will serve as the primary historian for the project.

Richard Guy Wilson is the Commonwealth Professor’s Chair in Architectural History at the University of Virginia. He has been a visiting fellow at Cambridge University, a Guggenheim Fellow, and is an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). He has served as an advisor and commentator for a number of television programs on PBS and A&E, and has been the curator for several major museum exhibitions. He is the author of sixteen books on architecture. He will consult on the design, art, and architecture of Hoover Dam.