Jennifer Brookland

Jennifer Brookland is a temporary producer for The State of Things.

Jennifer grew up in Baltimore, MD and studied International Politics and African Studies at Georgetown University. She spent four years as a Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations in North Carolina and Maryland, and deployed to Djibouti and the Comoros Islands.

After earning her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University she contributed to News21, a national reporting project on transportation safety in America. She also interned at PRI’s “The World” and in Nairobi with IRIN, the United Nations’ humanitarian news and analysis service. She received a master’s degree in human security and NGO management from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Jennifer spent three years producing content for international development organizations in D.C, highlighting aid work in countries including Tajikistan, Haiti, Honduras, India and Tanzania. She moved to Durham in 2015 and began freelance writing, editing and producing. Now that Durham is getting an Ethiopian restaurant, she’s vastly more likely to stay.

 

Leonard Bernstein is remembered as an exceptionally talented conductor, composer and teacher. His “Young People’s Concerts” television series exposed millions of American children to classical music, and his message that music is for everyone struck a chord with many communities. 

Joceyln Casanova grew up in North Carolina and was a high achiever who dreamed of going to college and becoming a lawyer. A few days before she graduated from high school near the top of her class, a college interviewer revealed a secret her parents had kept from her her whole life: Jocelyn was undocumented. 

Floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey still filled the streets in Texas when Hurricane Irma blew ashore in Florida. As the latest storm moves toward North Carolina, Duke scientists explore whether these rare weather events are growing more frequent or more extreme. They also analyze how communities and governments can become more resilient.

Attorney Heather Bell Adams is used to crafting persuasive stories. But in the courtroom they have to be entirely factual.

Hospital executives announced last week that the state’s largest hospital system, Carolinas Healthcare, would combine with UNC Health. They called the nearly $14 billion move “a marriage, not a merger.” 

Classically-trained violinist and fiddler Pattie Hopkins Kinlaw and bluegrass banjo player Hank Smith might seem like an unlikely duo. But Hank Smith grew up testing the limits of his instrument and bending the conventional genre in unexpected ways. 

Millennials have a reputation for being overeducated and undermotivated when it comes to working and saving money. But a forthcoming report from the left-leaning North Carolina Justice Center explains that millennials face pressures previous generations were not subject to, and that state and national policies compound their difficulties in building wealth and finding good jobs. 

Up to one in five women suffer from a postpartum mood disorder like depression. But a new study finds that 20 percent of them do not report their symptoms to a healthcare provider, even when they are asked directly. 

Holly Goddard Jones was in between projects when she sat down to write a little horror story about killer ticks. But literary questions kept sneaking into her thoughts, and as she probed the backstories and motivations of her characters, her short thriller grew into a novel. 

Hollywood was just getting its glamorous start in the early 1900s, and Southerners played a surprisingly important role in the fledgeling industry. Notable southern producers and corrupt movie theater moguls helped shape the growing industry, just as their subject matter shaped perceptions of the South and propagated racial stereotypes. 

When Josh Sabey’s sister was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, his family wanted to provide her with the best care possible. But after spending thousands of dollars and seeing no improvement for years, they started to investigate what was going wrong. 

Confederate monuments have become flash points for a national debate about free speech, race and memory. Statues have been removed in more than a dozen states including Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Florida and New York. 

The Rusty Wright Band made its second public appearance in 2004 when a booking agent asked at the last minute if they could open for Lynyrd Skynyrd. That rain-soaked, lightning-infused concert was an electric start to a career that includes five album releases and tours all over the world. 

Researchers have long been aware of a link between exposure to violence and obesity in adolescents. Now a new study is untangling some of the reasons that connection exists.

The study used smart phones to monitor adolescents in California and North Carolina. It tracked their exposure to violence and subsequent activity levels, fatigue, and consumption of fast food and soda.

 A new exhibit at the Rural Heritage Museum at Mars Hill University hopes to show people that the Civil War played out in North Carolina in complicated ways. 

Protesters toppled a confederate monument in Durham last night. The statue came down during a demonstration against the violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend.

Melissa Reaves is a blues-inspired rock ‘n’ roll artist whose passion for entertaining has led her to perform more than 200 shows each year. She is an independent musician who collaborates widely throughout her adopted state of North Carolina and has released seven albums.

Vacation movies may show off some of the world’s most beautiful scenery, but the most compelling films are the ones that show characters another side of themselves. Take a protagonist out of her usual environment and anything can happen.

Cindy Whitehead pursued a career in pharmaceuticals to help solve real problems that were affecting people’s health. She was especially outraged by what she perceived as sexism at the Food and Drug Administration after it rejected a new drug named Addyi that would treat low sexual desire in women. 

By modeling the evolutionary biology of ray-finned fishes, Alex Dornburg is answering an array of cross-disciplinary questions. His research on fish’s “tree of life” has applications for creating public health reporting systems, fighting antibiotic resistance, directing reforestation efforts in Madagascar and overturning understanding of biodiversity in Antarctica. 

In 1936 Claire Boothe Luce wrote a play about New York socialites that reflected her own high-society life. Claire was the second wife of media mogul Henry Luce. “The Women” satirizes the role of women in society and their reliance on men. 

Eastern North Carolina’s Tobacco State League only lasted for five seasons. From 1946 to 1950 teams including the Sanford Spinners and the Lumberton Auctioneers battled for baseball greatness and ticket sales. They entertained crowds eager for a return to normalcy after World War II. Many of the players had recently returned from war, others were college baseball stars, and still others were just hoping to make a better hourly wage than they could earn in the local mills.

President Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric made it clear that he intended to crack down on illegal immigration. Shortly after he took office, memoranda released by the Department of Homeland Security seemed to confirm his intentions. The department boosted hiring for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and expanded the list of crimes for which people could be deported. 

Growing up in Chapel Hill, Jonathan Byrd never thought he could make a career out of playing music. But some soul-searching after a stint in the U.S. Navy and a series of disappointing jobs led him to question why he was forcing himself into doing things he wasn’t good at and didn’t love. Jonathan began touring and performing his original songs, folksy ballads infused with bluegrass-style flat-picking and classic rock foundations. With “Pickup Cowboy” Johnny Waken, the duo aims first and foremost to put on a great show that will energize the audience. 

Brigid Washington grew up with the Caribbean flavors of her family's native Trinidad. Ginger, coconut, fresh seafood and other ingredients shaped her palate and her experiences in the kitchen.

But food was not an important part of her adult life until, as a dissatisfied writer living in Raleigh, she felt compelled to walk into the kitchen of Bloomsbury Bistro and ask the chef to teach her the culinary arts. That brazen request led to culinary school and a cookbook. “Coconut. Ginger. Shrimp. Rum.: Caribbean Flavors for Every Season” (Skyhorse Publishing/2017) highlights the mainstay flavors of the islands with American fusion twists. 


Legendary dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones was inspired to create his dance trilogy “Analogy” after reading W. G. Sebald’s novel “The Emigrants.” The book, like Jones’s resulting oeuvre, deals with issues of persecution, trauma, war and memory.

In January President Donald Trump issued an executive order that capped the number of refugees who could enter the United States at 50,000. That number more than halved the quota the previous administration had advised resettlement agencies to prepare for. 

In Jeff VanderMeer’s highly successful Southern Reach trilogy, characters were cut off from one another, and their stories unfolded against the backdrop of a devastated landscape. In his latest novel “Borne,” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux/2017) he highlights how a new cast of characters attempt to make connections with each other.

Last year Omar Ruiz-Lopez began playing alongside songstress Lizzy Ross. Ruiz-Lopez is a classically trained violinist, viola and cello player who complements her folksy sound. As their collaboration grew, he became more than just an accompanist, and the duo became known as Violet Bell.

The band has since performed about 200 shows together and recently returned from a tour that took them from the Outer Banks to Massachusetts. Their songs reflect the beauty they find all around them and their sense of wonder and gratitude. 

Nationally the number of people employed in middle-wage jobs rose by 6 percent between 2001 and 2015. But the numbers in North Carolina went in the other direction. 

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