Personal Statement:

I am United States Navy veteran and served six years with the Carson City Sheriff’s Office before returning to higher education. I am a long-time member of the Friends of the Nevada State Railroad Museum and I continue to volunteer with the museum in steam train operations and historical education projects. I presently serve as Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Goleta Valley Historical Society.

My research examines environmental settler colonialism and the creation of water policy in Nevada between 1840 and 1890. I explore how Euro-American settlers altered their environment to give them an advantage over Indigenous communities and ensure their access to water for agricultural purposes. However, with the Comstock mining boom, a three-way competition emerged between industry, agriculture, and Indigenous interests to guarantee and preserve access to water. These claims often found their ways into the courts resulting in hybrid rulings that incorporate elements of both riparian and appropriation doctrines that recognized water scarcity and did their best to ensure equal access to all parties.

Dissertation Title:

Riparian Revolt: Contested Water in Early Nevada, 1840-1890

Selected Publications:

“The Paiute and the Pacific Railroad,” Sagebrush Headlight, Nevada State Railroad Museum (Winter 2019). 

“Mystery on the Mainline: What Wrecked the ‘City of San Francisco?'” Nevada Historical Society Quarterly 59, no. 1-4 (2016), 49-66.

Teaching Fields:

United States History

History of the American West

Environmental History

Legal History

Public History

Courses Taught:

Instructor of Record: History of the American West; United States History 1492-1877; United States History 1865-Present

Courses as TA: American History 1492-1820; American History 1820-1920; American History 1920-Present; American Environmental History; California History; History of the Middle East 1500-Present; Great Issues in the History of Public Policy; Water in the American West; Modern World History.


Awards & Professional Activities:

2020 – Donald Van Gelderen Memorial Prize, UCSB History Associates

2019 – Excellence in Teaching Award: Honorable Mention, UCSB Graduate Student Assocation

2019 – Charles Redd Fellowship Award in Western American History, Charles Redd Center, BYU

2019 – Wilbur R. Jacobs Prize, UCSB History Associates. 

2019 – Public Humanities Graduate Fellow, Inaugural Member,  Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, UCSB. 

2016 – History Program Honors, California State University Channel Islands.

2015 – Interdisciplinary Research Learning Community, Inaugural Member and Research Grant, California State University Channel Islands.

2011 – The President’s Call to Service Award, President of the United States’ Council on Service and Civic Participation.

Friends of the Nevada State Railroad Museum: Interpretation Committee Chair (2020-Present); Secretary of the Board of Directors (2011-2013); Member of the Board (2007-2011); Youth Programs Committee Chair  (2007-2013).

Goleta Valley Historical Society: Secretary of the Board of Directors (2020-Present); Education Committee Chair (2020-Present); Member of the Board (2019-2020).

Twitter @cmmacmahon