Skip to main content

Kathleen Gray

Director, Center for Public Engagement with Science; Research Associate Professor


Kathleen Gray leads the Center for Public Engagement with Science (CPES), a hub for community engagement and informal science education in the UNC Institute for the Environment. She manages an award-winning team of nine full-time staff as well as part-time staff and students, all of whom leverage the extensive environmental science research capabilities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to translate knowledge into action in North Carolina communities and beyond. The team has expertise in community and stakeholder engagement, participatory science, informal and K-12 science education (including teacher professional development and youth science enrichment programming), and experiential education for undergraduate students.

Gray’s community-engaged research has been recognized by the UNC-Chapel Hill Office of the Provost with the Engaged Scholarship Award for Partnership, which highlights exemplary engaged scholarship in service to the state of N.C. through demonstrated excellence, responsiveness to community concerns and strong community partnerships.

Working with stakeholders across N.C. and the U.S.‚ including community leaders and health and environmental agencies‚ she collaborates to increase understanding of environmental health hazards in N.C. communities and to implement strategies to reduce and remove these hazards. For more than a decade, she has led community engaged activity within the UNC Superfund Research Program and the UNC Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility. Currently, she also leads multi-institutional collaborations funded by the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, to support teachers in incorporating current science into classroom instruction and to engage diverse youth in learning about and responding to climate impacts in their communities. Gray’s recent scholarship focuses on well water and health, environmental health literacy, report-back of research results and understanding of environmental health advisories among vulnerable populations. Additionally, Gray has more than ten years of experience supporting science communication for large-scale research projects. With colleagues from NC State and Duke Universities, she co-led the communication efforts of a statewide network of universities researching PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in water and air.


Ph.D., Science Education, College of Education, NC State University

MSPH, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

B.S., Mathematics, Vanderbilt University