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Susan White to Lead NC Sea Grant and WRRI


Katie Mosher, 919/515-9069,

Posted Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012

Ecologist Susan N. White (download CV), currently director of the Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, S.C., will be the new executive director for North Carolina Sea Grant and the Water Resources Research Institute of the University of North Carolina upon the retirement of Michael P. Voiland in December.

                     Susan N. White

"Susan brings a strong science background, as well as leadership working with a mix of partners and stakeholders," notes Vice Chancellor Terri L. Lomax of North Carolina State University, where the two state/federal partnership programs are headquartered.

"She will be a great leader for Sea Grant and WRRI programs here that have strong traditions of assisting and guiding communities, businesses, organizations and the public," Lomax adds. Sea Grant focuses on the ecosystems and economies of the coastal region, while WRRI supports research and training related to freshwater topics statewide.

White, who earned a doctorate from the University of Georgia, is returning to her home state. She grew up in Orange County and graduated from Duke University. She is eager to lead both University of North Carolina system programs that provide targeted research, outreach and education projects.

"I am excited to have this opportunity to work with the excellent teams associated with North Carolina Sea Grant and WRRI to continue to address the current and future critical coastal, ocean, and water resource issues in the state and within the region," she says.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hollings Laboratory 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 Hollings director since 2010, White had 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.

"Her watershed approach — from the mountains to the sea — is a great fit for North Carolina, along with her knowledge of rapid-detection tools and technologies, and coastal health early warning systems," Lomax adds.

Formerly the national research coordinator for NOAA's Estuarine Reserves Division and National Estuarine Research Reserve System, White is a board member of The Coastal Society. She has served on national and regional steering committees on topics including technology transfer, integrated drought monitoring and early warning, and climate's connections to health.

"We are very fortunate to have a scientist, administrator and native North Carolinian of Susan's caliber and experience take on the leadership for Sea Grant and WRRI. I am most confident that she will serve both programs well," notes Voiland, who has served with White on the NOAA in the Carolinas executive and steering committees.

Sea Grant receives funding from NOAA and the State of North Carolina for its programs on varied coastal topics. In addition to its headquarters at NC State, Sea Grant has offices in Manteo, Morehead City and Wilmington. Learn more at

The WRRI program is part of a national network funded by the U.S. Geological Survey and state matching support. WRRI works closely with local utilities and state water officials. Learn more at


North Carolina Sea Grant: Your link to research and resources for a healthier coast