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 Peach Pico de Gallo from Sandra Gutierrez's book 'The New Southern-Latino Table'
Sandra Gutierrez

The first community cookbook was published by Maria J. Moss in 1864 to raise funds for Union soldiers injured during the Civil War. Over the following centuries, thousands of other communities followed in her footsteps and used cookbooks as a way to raise money, share a particular message, and communicate peer-to-peer with others in their community.

Image of a sweat bee on button snakeroot
Barbara Driscoll

Bees are vital to the American food system. Honey bees alone contribute more than $15 billion to the American economy through pollination of plants that produce fruits, nuts and vegetables.

Image of the jacket cover image of The End of Consensus
UNC Press

School board elections usually garner little public attention, but in 2009, media outlets across the country were covering the contentious school board election in Wake County. The election occurred against a backdrop of increasing concerns over student assignment policies, tremendous population growth, and the rise of the state’s Republican party.

Image of Ramon, who helps out with a Know Your Rights training session.
Ramon Zepeda

Foreign-born farmworkers are vital to the American food system. But while most of the produce that ends up on American plates is handpicked, the day-to-day lives of people laboring in the fields still remains more or less invisible. Ramón Zepeda is a 28-year-old working to change visibility of farmworkers.He grew up in a small farming community in Jalisco, Mexico. Most of his family members have spent time in the fields, and he has devoted his life to working in solidarity with underrepresented workers.

Image of Ashley White, who lived in Raeford and died in action in 2011 and became the first woman remembered on the National Infantry Museum's Memorial Walk.
Department of Defense

American women were officially banned from serving in combat roles until 2013. But the new book “Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield” (Harper Collins/2015) documents the story of a team of women who were on night raids alongside Navy Seals and Green Berets before the ban was lifted.

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.