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.

 

2017 was a big year for new movie releases, but film experts Marsha Gordon and Laura Boyes managed to narrow down their lists of favorites to share.

Selections include “Kedi,” a documentary about the cats of Istanbul, Netflix original “Mudbound,” about two sharecropping families, and the box office-crushing release of “Wonder Woman.”

Host Frank Stasio talks with Marsha Gordon, film professor at North Carolina State University, and Laura Boyes, film curator at the North Carolina Museum of Art, about 2017 movies of note. 

There was nothing in Dwane Powell’s upbringing to suggest he would end up a political cartoonist. 

Christopher and Taylor Malpass didn’t go to daycare when they were little boys. They went over to their grandad’s house instead and listened to the old country jukebox records he brought home from his store.

Some children who rack up debt paying for lunch in their school cafeterias face a sudden swap when their hot meals are substituted for a cold sandwich or just a serving of fruit and vegetables and a cup of water. 

Human beings have been learning long before schoolhouse walls were ever built, bubble tests invented and recess bells rung. So why is there still so much confusion and debate about the purpose of school, the goals of education and the best ways to empower students to succeed in life? 

Animation has come a long way, from the hand-painted drawings of The Walt Disney Company’s 1937 feature film “Snow White” to today’s dazzling computer-generated imagery. 

Almost one in 20 people jailed in Mecklenburg County last year were held on failure to pay court fines or fees. Now, a new program supported by the MacArthur Foundation is modeling an evidence-based approach to criminal justice reform that changes the way people are assessed, held and released. 

Near-death experiences are undeniably difficult to study. And yet a passionate few scientists have dedicated their careers to understanding this phenomenon experiencers say creates an immediate and lifelong transformation. 

Scientists and researchers from major labs are putting their minds and grant dollars into gene editing tools like CRISPR, which enables humans to modify genetic code. 

In “The Gifted Generation: When Government Was Good” (Bloomsbury/2017), historian David Goldfield examines the baby boomer generation and argues that more than anything, the opportunities provided to them by the federal government created the conditions for unprecedented confidence and success. 

The institution that would become the University of North Carolina at Greensboro opened its doors in 1892 to 198 young women. Today more than 20,000 students attend class, conduct research, play sports and live in 30 residence halls on a 210-acre campus. 

 John Carroll Whitener could have easily avoided being drafted into the Vietnam War. He could have truthfully checked the box marked “yes” on the military form that asked new recruits if they had homosexual tendencies. But doing so would have meant admitting a truth he was not ready to accept and facing the consequences of a future that did not include his family and church.

Almost 50 years after the epic battle that changed the course of the Vietnam War, author Mark Bowden visited the city of Hue to piece together what happened. 

Indigo Cox read many excellent academic books on women's reproductive health. But as a physician herself, and one who performs abortions, she wanted a book that told a story from both sides. 

Doctors at fertility clinics often recommend women test their ovarian reserve to see how many eggs they have left. While the test can show how long a woman has before menopause, it was also commonly used to evaluate women’s likelihood of naturally conceiving. 

When Vollis Simpson began constructing his mammoth whirligigs out of spare machine parts, old paint and highway signs, he did not set out to create an artistic legacy. 

For many years U.S. Navy Officer Jerri Bell swallowed the story that when it came to military service, women were only involved in support roles. It was not until she started researching for a book on women’s military history that she realized the common narrative was false: women had been actively involved in combat since the American revolution. 

The American medical system is good at providing care to people in the middle: those who need regular doctors’ visits and a few medications. But the system is inadequate for many patients with complex needs. And although they make up a tiny proportion of healthcare users, these high-need patients end up using a shockingly high percentage of health dollars.

Open enrollment for health plans under the Affordable Care Act begins today.

In 1953 President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued an executive order that banned homosexuals from holding jobs in the federal government or receiving a security clearance. 

Growing up in a small town in the Poconos, singer-songwriter Mysti Mayhem knew her big dreams needed to find a big stage.

Carolina Public Press has spent the past year investigating adult care homes across North Carolina, and it found a lack of consistency and accountability across the board in how these centers are evaluated. But when a tip led managing editor Frank Taylor to look at one particular center, he found not only shocking violations including prostitution, but also a baffling handling of the case by the state.

Christina Baker Kline sold nearly four million copies of her novel “Orphan Train” (HarperCollins/2013). The book imagined the story of Vivian, a 91-year-old woman who had been shipped west to foster care as a child. 

In 1869, Charles Eliot wrote a compelling article entitled “The New Education” in The Atlantic Monthly, calling for American universities to shift away from the classics-based curriculum and towards a more utilitarian system that would prepare young men for economic and political leadership. 

Marcel Marceau lived a life of surprising extremes. He lost his father in the Holocaust and became a member of the French resistance in his youth. He then turned on a heel and forged himself into the most famous mime the world has ever known before dying penniless. 

Two-thirds of states used chronic absenteeism as a metric for school evaluation in recently submitted federal plans.

Sarah van Gelder developed a sharp sense for injustice as a little girl when she moved to India with her family for a year and witnessed the poverty all around her. She decided that the only way she could make sense of her unearned privilege was to commit her life to making the world a more just place. 

Jared Yates Sexton’s life changed completely in June 2016. He went to a Trump rally in Greensboro, and while he walked amongst people who reminded him of his own family back in Indiana, he also witnessed the kind of anger and rage that mainstream news outlets were missing from their designated press areas.

Leslie Isakoff grew up climbing, flying and spelunking in Alabama and on international trips with her family, where she made friends with local kids and saw firsthand the effects of hunger.

The killing spree in Las Vegas was the deadliest in modern U.S. history. But mass shootings have tended to result in laxer gun laws, not stricter ones, according to Susan Ladd, columnist for the Greensboro News & Record.

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