Matrix Team


Dean Rehberger, Michigan State University, Director of Matrix, Principal Investigator

Role: Rehberger is Director and responsible for coordinating the overall project and for project development and integration.

As the Director of Matrix, over the past 20 years Dean Rehberger has overseen numerous digitization and archival projects, application design and development projects, and large data and computational processing projects at Matrix. Rehberger has extensive experience in user experience design, faculty and community workshops, and online publishing. He would work with the co-PIs to provide academic leadership of the project and strategically engage faculty and administrative stakeholders.

Walter Hawthorne, Michigan State University, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs & Professor of History,
College of Social Science, Co-Principal Investigator

Role: Hawthorne is co-Director and is responsible for metadata, ontology development and Linked Open Data.

Walter Hawthorne is a full professor of African and Atlantic history who has engaged in digital humanities projects centered on slavery and the Atlantic slave trade.

Ethan Watrall, Michigan State University, Associate Director, Matrix. Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Co-Principal Investigator

Role: Watrall is Co-Director and responsible for Hub development.

An anthropological archaeologist who has worked in North America and the Near East, Ethan Watrall is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Associate Director of Matrix: The Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences at Michigan State University. In addition, Watrall is Director of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative and the Cultural Heritage Informatics Fieldschool at Michigan State University. Currently, Watrall is Co-PI of the NEH funded ARCS: Archaeological Resource Cataloguing System project, Director of the NEH funded Institute for Digital Archaeological Method and Practice, and Co-PI of the NEH funded Archive of Malian Photography project. Watrall’s interest primarily fall in the domain of digital public archaeology and heritage, with particular interest in mobile digital public heritage and digital heritage web mapping for public outreach and engagement.

Joshua Christ, Developer

Role: Programming

Joshua Christ is the lead developer on Matrix’s Archaeological Resource Cataloging System (ARCS) project. He is a recent graduate of Michigan State University’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering. He interned as a student at Matrix and IBM.

Anthony D’Onofrio, Lead KORA Developer

Role: Programming

Anthony D’onofrio is the Assistant Director of Programming at Matrix and the lead developer on the KORA Digital Repository platform. A graduate of Michigan State University, and former student developer intern of Matrix, D’onofrio returned in 2015 to head up development on the 3.0 release of KORA. His responsibilities also include the supervision and recruitment of student developer interns at Matrix. In addition to KORA 3, D’onofrio worked on the development and launch of the educational research projects, the Narrative Assessment Protocol and the Access to Literacy (IPAAR) project.

Catherine Foley, Director of Digital Library and Archive Projects

Role: Project Manager

Catherine Foley is Matrix’s Director of Digital Library and Archive Projects. She is a digital librarian with expertise in metadata standards. She manages several digital repository projects with cultural heritage resources from Africa, including the Archive of Malian Photography (, an NEH-funded project to digitize, catalog, preserve, and render freely accessible 100,000 rare images from the original archives of four professional photographers in Mali, the Community Video Education Trust digital archive (, African Oral Narratives: life histories, interviews, folklore & song from sub-Saharan African (, and Biographies: Atlantic Slave Data Network (

Jeff Goeke-Smith, Systems Administrator

Role: Systems Design

A graduate of Michigan State University’s Computer Science program, Jeff Goeke-Smith has spent 15 years architecting and operating the MSU campus-wide network, including core network services on a variety of platforms. Goeke-Smith has architected the infrastructure for the campus-wide virtualization and storage systems. Prior assignments have included the operation of large scale network security devices, load balancers, and web services. His expertise lies in all forms of advanced infrastructure. Goeke-Smith is Matrix’s system’s administrator, operating and maintaining the software and hardware infrastructure for Matrix’s systems and services.

Seila Gonzalez Estrecha, Director of Programming

Role: Software Design

Seila Gonzalez is Director of Programming at Matrix. She holds a master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Alabama and obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Malaga (Spain). Her graduate research focused on non-polynomial time algorithms and hardware software co-design. Prior to coming to MSU, Gonzalez worked as a software engineer for Indra Software Labs, a multinational systems integrator based in Spain. She also previously worked as a GIS programmer for Sadiel, a software company headquartered in Seville.

Matthew Schleusener, Developer

Role: Programming

Matthew Schleusener is the lead developer on Matrix’s Quilt Index project. He is a recent graduate of Michigan State University’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering. He interned as a student at Matrix.

Alicia M. Sheill, Assistant Director

Role: Project Manager

Alicia M. Sheill is Assistant Director at Matrix. She has over ten years of project management experience that includes leading the National Endowment for Humanities’ project What America Ate, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Public Philosophy Journal, the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research’s Liberated Africans project, and The Quilt Index. She has considerable experience working with metadata standards and specializes in pre-database metadata cleaning and standardization along with mass upload of data and records into KORA, the online digital repository application for complex multimedia objects created by Matrix. She has extensive experience in pre-award and post-award grant administration and holds a certification in research administration from MSU.

Andrew Joye, Matrix Lead Developer

Role: Full Stack Developer

Andrew is a Lead Developer at Matrix. Andrew graduated from Oakland University in 2012 with his Bachelors in Computer Science for the College of Computer Science and Engineering. After graduating he worked in the private sector as a software developer until 2018 when he joined Matrix. At Matrix Andrew works on a variety of projects including Kora, Public Philosophy Journal, and Enslaved; working on the full-stack with a specialization for database and API development.


Austin Truchan, Head of Design

Role: Graphic & UX Design

Austin Truchan is Head of Design at Matrix. As project designer, Truchan translates complex user flows into simple and intuitive visual user interfaces and develops high-fidelity prototypes in order to facilitate a collaborative design vision among project managers, clients, and developers. Truchan works closely with development teams to ensure that the visual design and experience is properly implemented from concept to reality. He has developed the website designs for What America Ate and the Public Philosophy Journal. 

Duncan Tarr, Data Integrity Assistant

Role: Data Assistant

Duncan Tarr is a Data Integrity Assistant at Matrix. Tarr graduated from Michigan State University in Fall 2016. While still in school he worked at Matrix on the Slave Biographies and What America Ate projects. He was hired by Matrix in Spring 2018 to work full time on the Enslaved project where he will assist with cleaning and manipulating data.

Ryan Carty, Graduate Research Assistant

Role: Data Assistant

Ryan Carty is a graduate student in the Michigan State University History Department with a focus on African history. He has five years of experience in data management and analysis.