Professional Leadership

Susan Hackwood Headshot
Susan Hackwood

Susan Hackwood, PhD, is Professor of the Graduate Division and Edward A. Dickson Emeritus Professor at the University of California Riverside. She is also Dean Emeritus of the Bourns College of Engineering. Until July 2018 she was the Executive Director of the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST). CCST is a not-for-profit corporation comprised of 200 plus science and technology leaders of the highest distinction. Sponsored by the key academic and federal research institutions in California, CCST advises the state on all aspects of science and technology including energy, information technologies, biotechnology, nanotechnology, stem cell research, healthcare technologies, climate change, disaster prevention technologies, intellectual property, technical workforce development, and education. Dr. Hackwood has worked extensively with industry, academia and government partnerships to identify policy issues of societal importance.

Doug Brown Headshot
Doug Brown
Associate Director  

Doug Brown most recently served as the Program Advisor for CCST's Science & Technology Policy Fellowship which places PhD scientists and engineers in the California Legislature. Brown has formerly served as Chief-of-Staff to the 2008 Governor's Conference on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and as Principal Consultant with the California State Senate. Mr. Brown is an economic development specialist who was also the Assistant Director for Business Relations at the Employment Development Department. He spent three years with the California Technology, Trade & Commerce Agency where he designed the state's Small Business Development Center program. His federal experience includes positions with the US Senate, the Small Business Administration, and the White House Conference on Small Business. Mr. Brown, a former Peace Corps volunteer and a Vietnam veteran, has a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Kansas and a Master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the George Washington University.

Kevin Esterling, headshot
Kevin Esterling
Faculty Director 

Kevin Esterling, PhD, is a professor of public policy and political science and the director of the Laboratory for Technology, Communication and Democracy (TeCD-Lab) at the University of California, Riverside.  He is the past interim dean of the UCR Graduate Division.  His research focuses on technology for communication in democratic politics, and he has interests in Bayesian statistics, machine learning, natural language processing, experimental design, and science ethics and validity. He is the author of The Political Economy of Expertise: Information and Efficiency in American National Politics (University of Michigan Press, 2004) and co-author of Politics with the People: Building a Directly Representative Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2018). He has published in a number of journals, including the American Political Science ReviewScience, the Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesPolitical Analysis, and the Journal of Politics. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, The Democracy Fund, and the MacArthur Foundation. Esterling was previously a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley and a postdoctoral research fellow at the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions at Brown University. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago in 1999.


Julianne McCall headshot
Julianne McCall  

Julianne McCall, PhD, is the Director of the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine, housed within the California Governor's Office of Planning and Research. In that role, she oversees cross-sector health policy working groups and projects, research grantmaking, and state government interagency efforts, which include serving on Governor Newsom's COVID-19 Testing Task Force and as a writer of the forthcoming CA Surgeon General's Report on Adverse Childhood Experiences. Previously, McCall worked in public health and research policy in the California Senate Office of Research and as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow of the California Council on Science and Technology. Prior to her current career in policy, she spent sixteen years in neuroscience research labs, including at the Salk Institute, Stanford University, the Cleveland Clinic, and the National Center for Microscopy Imaging Research. She conducted medical research as a Fulbright Fellow in Sweden and as a neuroscientist at the Neuroregeneration Laboratory of Heidelberg University in Germany. In the community, she serves on the Editorial Board of the California Journal of Politics and Policy, occasionally directs the International "Brain Bee" Neuroscience Olympiad for high school students across fifty countries, and is the co-founder of TEDxFulbright, the Sacramento Brain Bee, and a chapter of the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network. McCall earned a PhD in Neuroscience from Heidelberg University in Germany, a master's degree in Biomedical Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, and a Bachelor's degree in Neuroscience from Denison University.

Brynn Cook  

Brynn Cook, PhD, is a California State Senate Environmental Quality Committee Consultant. She formally served as legislative analyst at CalRecycle and a legislative analyst for California State Senator Lena Gonzalez. Brynn was a California Council of Science and Technology Science Fellow after that, she received a PhD in Ecology from the University of Virginia. Her dissertation focused on the impacts of air pollution on pollination, specifically the relationships among tropospheric oxidants, floral volatiles, and insect pollinators. She received a BA in Environmental Sciences from UC Berkeley and is a proud community college graduate of Moorpark College.

Amy Gilson
Amy Gilson

Amy Gilson, PhD, is the Deputy Director of External and Legislative Affairs at the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). She was the Policy Manager of Californians Against Waste (CAW), a non-profit environmental research and advocacy organization focused on conserving resources and preventing pollution. Prior to joining CAW in 2021, Amy served as committee consultant for the California State Senate Committee on Transportation, where she focuses on electric vehicles, shared micromobility, and transportation data governance. Amy was a CCST Policy Fellow with the California State Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials and served the chair of that committee as a legislative aide. Prior to coming to the California Legislature, Amy was a project manager at Microsoft Research New England. Amy has created and led multiple science communication and policy programs including the Harvard Science in the News Podcast and the STEM solutions in Public Policy Competition with the University of California Center Sacramento. She received her PhD in Chemical Physics from Harvard University and a PhD secondary field in Science, Technology, and Society (STS) Studies from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She holds a BS in Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley.