Anita Rao

Producer, "The State of Things"

Anita Rao is a producer for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show that features the issues, personalities and places of North Carolina. She fell in love with interviewing and storytelling as a Women's Studies and International Studies major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and began her radio career at WUNC as an intern for the nationally distributed public radio program The Story. From 2011 - 2014, she worked for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps Production department, where she pitched, edited and produced conversations from across the nation--from Chicago, IL to Pineville, North Carolina.  

Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest. She loves excessively-long dinner parties and hopes to one day live up to her mom's nickname, "Sheila, The Chocolate Eater."

Ways To Connect

Image of group shot of Daniel Murphy, Mark Phialas, Jim O'Brien, Preston Campbell and Jason Hassell
Stephen J. Larson/ Theatre In The Park / Theatre In The Park

The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 was a failed attempt to assassinate King James I of England and blow up Parliament. The “official” story is that Catholic sympathizers were protesting a Protestant king, but many disagree and argue that it was a plot by Protestants to discredit Catholics.

Image of The Old Ceremony, a Southern gothic pop band from Chapel Hill.
Soleil Konkel

The Old Ceremony is a “Southern gothic pop” band that has now been together for more than a decade. The Chapel Hill-based group will release their sixth album, Sprinter, this July.

Unlike previous albums, Sprinter was a collaborative effort with other musical friends and colleagues, including R.E.M.’s Mike Mills.

Image of Stanley, whose Instagram documenting her yoga progression has amassed more than 81,000 followers.
Jesssamyn Stanley

Images of women’s bodies are now more prolific than ever. From media advertisements to fitness blogs and Facebook feeds, photos of women’s bodies are everywhere.

There have been ongoing conversations in academia and popular culture about the impact that these images have on body image, but a growing chorus of women argue that there has long been something missing in this conversation: fat bodies can be healthy and beautiful, and fat shaming benefits no one.

A "Fat Femme" on Instagram

Image of June Atkinson, who has been the North Carolina state superintendent since 2005.
North Carolina Democratic Party

June Atkinson has served as the state superintendent for almost a decade.

During her tenure there have been a number of significant changes to the state’s public education system, including the adoption of common core standards, the proliferation of charter schools, and continued debates about where education fits in the state budget.

Image of Eddie Willis, who is a fourth-generation fisherman. He is the founder of a community supported fishery called Core Sound Seafood.
John Day

The United States controls more ocean than any other country in the world, but more than 85 percent of the seafood Americans eat is imported.

The Be Loud! Sophie Foundation

The Red Clay Ramblers are a decades-old and world-famous string band whose music brings together traditions ranging from old-time mountain music to New Orleans jazz.

Image of Golden on the campaign trail for Robert F. Kennedy's successful run for US Senate. The inscription reads: "To Harry...and afterwards I put on my coat, did what you told me, and won the election. My thanks, Bob Kennedy"
Harry Golden Papers, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Harry Golden is no longer a household name in North Carolina, but at one point he was likely the most famous North Carolinian in the country. Golden was a Jewish-American writer who grew up in New York City’s Lower East Side in the early 1900s.

Image of Chapman in Shanghai with Professor Meihua Zhu, on the left, a former visiting scholar at UNC.
Mimi Chapman

The power of art is not lost on Mimi Chapman. She is a professor at the UNC School of Social Work who believes that art can have a profound impact on people’s ability to empathize. She also studies how art can help illuminate conscious and unconscious biases and affect how people treat one another.

Image of a plate of soul food, including fried chicken, mac and cheese, collards, and fried okra.
Flickr/Jennifer Woodard Maderazo

Adrian Miller calls himself a “recovering lawyer and politico turned culinary historian.” He went from working as a special assistant to former President Bill Clinton and a legislative director for former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter to becoming a soul food scholar.

“Practicing law was not the thing for me,” Miller says.“I was singing spirituals in my office, so I figured I needed to do something else.”

Image of Allison Leotta, who wanted to show the ways the criminal justice system does and doesn't work in her books.
Allison Leotta

Allison Leotta was a federal sex-crimes prosecutor in Washington D.C. for more than a decade. Every day when she came home from work, she would think to herself, “I can’t believe what I saw today…someone should write about this.”

She began writing in the mornings before work and at night when she got home. In 2011, Leotta left the Justice Department to write full-time. She has now written four novels about a prosecutor named Anna Curtis, and people often refer to Leotta as “the female John Grisham.”