Denise Young

Dr. Denise Young

Director, NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Dr. Denise Young joined the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences as director in June 2023. In this role she oversees the Museum’s mission to illuminate the natural world and inspire its conservation. Through the flagship location in downtown Raleigh and regional sites in Whiteville, Greenville, Grifton, and west Raleigh, Young guides over 250 staff to fulfill the vision of creating a knowledgeable and empowered society, making decisions informed by science.

Prior to joining the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Young served as executive director of the Bell Museum from 2016 to 2023. In this role, Young led the transformation of the state natural history museum, which is located on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus, including the addition of the only dedicated public planetarium in the state.

Prior to joining the Bell Museum, Young was director of Education and Planning at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center in Chapel Hill. While there, she co-founded the North Carolina Science Festival, an annual celebration of the cultural, educational, and economic benefits of science that has engaged over 3 million North Carolinians since its inception in 2010. She previously taught at the UNC School of Education and as a classroom educator in Durham Public Schools.

Young received a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and American Studies, a masters in School Administration/Educational Leadership, and a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.