North Carolina Science Now: Advisory Board


All the programs produced for North Carolina Science Now are vetted through the North Carolina Science Now Advisory Board, composed of prominent North Carolina science and education professionals, to ensure their scientific accuracy and merit. Many thanks to these volunteers for their time and expertise!


Samuel Houston, Jr. EdD

Samuel HoustonSamuel H. Houston is President and Chief Executive Officer of the North Carolina Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center. The Center is dedicated to the advancement of science, mathematics, and technology in the schools of North Carolina and around the nation. The NC STEM Learning Network operates out of the SMT Center. Prior to this appointment Dr. Houston served as Vice President for Program and Policy of EdGate, Inc. and was the first executive director of the University of North Carolina Center for School Leadership Development. A former public school teacher and veteran educational administrator, Dr. Houston also previously served as executive director of the North Carolina Education Standards and Accountability Commission at the invitation of Governor James B. Hunt Jr. The commission was charged with defining the skills that North Carolina’s students must master to compete successfully in the information economy. In 2007, Dr. Houston chaired the North Carolina State Board of Education’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Testing and Accountability.

Dr. Houston holds undergraduate and Master’s degrees from Appalachian State University, an Educational Specialist Degree for East Carolina University, and his Doctorate in Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. After four years as an elementary school teacher, he began a career in administration, serving as an assistant principal and principal at the junior high and high school levels. In 1983, he was named superintendent of the Mooresville City Schools a post he held for a decade. Dr. Houston also has held adjunct professorships at ASU and UNC-Chapel Hill. 

Dr. Houston has written and lectured widely on such topics as strategic planning, student performance and accountability, meeting the needs of the 21st century work force, skills for the 21st STEM world, social promotion and building educational partnerships. Houston earned the RJR-Nabisco Foundation’s China Breaker Award for implementing educational change and was named North Carolina’s Outstanding Community Educator. Dr. Houston currently serves on the National Science Resources Center Advisory Board and has served on the Microsoft School of the Future World Summit Advisory Board and Microsoft World Wide Innovative Schools Working Group. Dr. Houston serves on the James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy Board of Directors and recently was presented a Distinguished Career Award from the University of North Carolina – Greensboro School of Education. Dr. Houston currently serves as advisor to the JOBS Commission (Joining Our Businesses and Schools) chaired by Lt. Governor Walter Dalton.  Dr. Houston was awarded the Jay Robinson Leadership Award as an Exemplary Educator for his outstanding contributions to statewide public K-12 education.  Dr. Houston will be inducted into the Appalachian State University Reich College of Education’s Rhododendron Society in June 2012.  Established in 1999, it is the highest honor given by the Reich College of Education.


David Kroll, PhD

David KrollDavid Kroll is Director of Science Communication at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science’s Nature Research Center.  He is responsible for scientific interactions with the technical media and university partners, development of the Museum’s social media plan, and representing Museum scientists and research projects to lay audiences. He is an active investigator in the Genomics and Microbiology Research Laboratory, and is an associate Professor at North Carolina State University and UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Pharmacy.  He sits on the Graduate Advisory Board at the Medical and Science Journalism Program at the UNC-Chapel Hill. 

Dr. Kroll hails from Wallington, NJ, earned a BS degree in toxicology from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science and completed a doctorate at in pharmacology and therapeutics from the University of Florida College of Medicine. He then conducted postdoctoral research in the Divisions of Medical Oncology and Endocrinology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine (1990-1992) before joining the faculty of the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy as Assistant and Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology (1992-2001). While at Colorado he was the recipient of 11 teaching awards culminating in his election as a President’s Teaching Scholar of the University of Colorado in 2000.

During his 20 years as an award-winning university educator and director of an academic cancer research laboratory, Dr. Kroll also developed scholarly interests in science and medical journalism, science outreach, and the public understanding of science and medicine. Dr. Kroll joined the Museum in January 2012 to more fully pursue these passions in implementing science communication strategies for lay and technical audiences and in educating tomorrow’s scientists as effective science communicators.


Tom Linden, MD

Tom LindenTom Linden is a Glaxo Wellcome Distinguished Professor of Medical Journalism in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.   Dr. Linden teaches courses in medical journalism for undergraduate and graduate students and directs the Medical & Science Journalism Program, one of the nation's first master's programs in medical journalism.

Dr. Linden is the author of "The New York Times Reader: Health & Medicine," published in 2011 by CQ Press. The book is a compendium of more than 50 stories from The Times, featuring condensed interviews with Times reporters and a how-to manual for aspiring medical and health reporters.

Dr. Linden also has a special interest in medical cyberspace and is co-author of "Dr. Tom Linden's Guide to Online Medicine" (McGraw-Hill), one of the first consumer guides for medical resources on the Internet. He also is medical anchor for "Journal Watch Audio," distributed bimonthly by the Audio Digest Foundation for the Massachusetts Medical Society. Linden is author of a chapter, "Medical Reporting for the Electronic Media," in the 2005 edition of the "Health Writer's Handbook" (Blackwell Publishing) by Barbara Gastel, M.D.


Susan N. White, PhD

Susan WhiteSusan White is the executive director for North Carolina Sea Grant and the Water Resources Research Institute of the University of North Carolina.  She managed both programs to provide targeted research, outreach and education projects focused on improving watershed quality across the state.  White grew up in Orange County, graduated from Duke University, and earned a doctorate from the University of Georgia in ecology.

Dr. White’s previous position was the Director of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, SC.  The Hollings lab is a Center of Excellence in Oceans and Human Health, working in partnership with the College of Charleston, Medical University of South Carolina, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  As Director, White provided research vision and organizational management, including strategic planning with the partner agencies and universities. She previously served as deputy director, responsible for budgets and administration, with a focus on accountability and performance measures. The interdisciplinary facility provides science and technology research on coastal ecosystems, with an emphasis on linkages between the condition of coastal environments and human health and well-being. 

Prior to her work in Charleston, Dr. White was the national research coordinator for NOAA's Estuarine Reserves Division and National Estuarine Research Reserve System.  She has served on national and regional advisory boards on topics including technology transfer, integrated drought monitoring and early warning, and climate's connections to health.  She earned a doctorate from the University of Georgia and graduated from Duke University.