It's been a rocky week for the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences: First, the institution has been scrutinized for director Emlyn Koster's refusal to show a documentary, Shored Up
, about coastal development and sea-level rise. Now a leading scientist at the museum is leaving to work at the California Academy of Sciences as its inaugural chief of science and sustainability.
Meg Lowman, who had been the director of the Nature Research Center, was essentially demoted earlier this year in a controversial reorganization that Koster spearheaded. She was reassigned to a new position, Senior Scientist and Director of Academic Partnerships & Global Initiatives, that did not have the responsibilities of her previous position. In addition, she had recently been reclassified as an exempt state employee, also known as at-will
, meaning she could be fired for any reason or no reason at all.
In her new role at the California Academy of Sciences, Lowman will be responsible for the Academy’s programs of scientific research and exploration as well as its programs addressing the challenge of sustaining life on Earth, according to an academy press release.