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

Ursula Vernon's "Self-portrait."
Ursula Vernon

Ursula Vernon considers herself a “creator of oddities,” but she fell into this career by accident.

Her mother was a professional artist, so the artistic lifestyle held no mystery or appeal to her; she wanted to be a scientist. But after taking one art class in college she realized that art was her true calling.

Vernon has since authored a long-running text and graphic novel children’s book series called Dragonbreath and an award-winning adult comic called Digger.  

Host Frank Stasio talks to Ursula Vernon about her career, artistic style, and latest book “Castle Hangnail” (Dial Books for Young Readers/ 2015).

Javier Corrales authored a report on LGBT rights in Latin America.
Palgrave

 

LGBT rights have expanded more in Latin America than elsewhere in the North Atlantic region, according to a new report by the UNC LGBT Representation and Rights Research Initiative.

 Entire countries have legalized same-sex marriage and expanded health services for LGBT individuals. But the region also has countries, like Jamaica, that are some of the most dangerous places in the world to be gay. 

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun's smiling self-portrait.
Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun / Wikimedia Commons

A white-toothed smile is a gesture that many likely engage in dozens of times a day without thought. Historian Colin Jones traced the history of the smile and found a toothy smile is a relatively young phenomenon. 

In his recent book, "The Smile Revolution In Eighteenth Century Paris," he argues that the white-tooth smile emerged in 18th century Paris in conjunction with the cult of sensibility and the creation of modern dentistry.

The Secret Game

Apr 23, 2015
North Carolina College Eagles, 1943-1944, from left to right: George Parks, Aubrey Stanley, James “Boogie” Hardy, Floyd Brown, Henry “Big Dog” Thomas.
Alex Rivera

On a Sunday morning in March 1944, most of Durham, North Carolina, was in church. That's the way basketball coach John McLendon wanted it when his all-black college team from North Carolina Central University (then the North Carolina College for Negroes) faced off against an all-white team from Duke University’s medical school. 

Mark Katz

Six international artists in North Carolina this week demonstrate that international diplomacy can come in many different forms. While many may imagine diplomats wearing business suits and sitting in conference rooms, these artists paint a drastically different picture.

Cynthia Bulik

Cynthia Bulik grew up as a lover of international language and culture. She was the first in her family to leave the dry cleaning business and go to college, and she was determined to study diplomacy and international relations. But when she was required to take a psychology class her freshman year at The University of Notre Dame, it changed the course of her life.

Alicia Garza is the co-creator of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.
Alicia Garza

Alicia Garza first wrote the phrase “black lives matter” on Facebook as a note to her friends and followers the day George Zimmerman was acquitted in the killing of Trayvon Martin. 

Katherine Stewart's book investigates a Bible study club with chapters in thousands of U.S. schools.
PublicAffairs

In 2009, journalist Katherine Stewart heard that something called The Good News Club was coming to her daughter’s public elementary school in Santa Barbara, California.

At first she thought its mission seemed benign, but once she began to look into the organization and how it operated, she felt compelled to dig in further.

Chad Stevens

Last weekend marked the fifth anniversary of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster in West Virginia—the nation’s worst coal mine disaster in decades. Massey Energy, one of the largest American coal companies, ran the mine, and its CEO Don Blankenship has since been indicted on charges that he deliberately concealed health and safety violations at the mining site.

Image of UNC-Chapel Hill's Battle Hall building.
UNC-Chapel Hill Library

In 1915, former UNC President Kemp Plummer Battle sent a sealed box to the North Carolina Historical Society that contained two items: a letter and a Montgomery Ward catalog.

He wanted these objects to serve as an impetus for reflection on the past at two distinct points in the future—1965 and 2015. In 1965, Chancellor Robert B. House honored the request with an essay detailing major changes he had witnessed in the past 50 years. But this year, the UNC-Chapel Hill History Department is taking a more playful approach. They have asked four faculty members from distinct backgrounds to reflect on changes in American society from their perspective—from a look at leisure in America to an examination of modern-day advertising.  

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