Hady Mawajdeh

Producer, "The State of Things"

Hady Mawajdeh is a native Texan, born and raised in San Antonio. He listened to Fresh Air growing up and fell in love with public radio. He earned his B.A. in Mass Communication at Texas State University and specialized in electronic media. He worked at NPR affiliate stations KUT and KUTX in Austin, Texas as an intern, producer, social media coordinator, and a late-night deejay.
Hady joined the team at The State of Things in 2014 as a producer. Though he is new to North Carolina, he is already a fan of the Durham Bulls and the newly-reformed Charlotte Hornets. In his spare time, Hady enjoys playing pick-up basketball, reading, seeing live music, and listening to a variety of podcasts.

Ways to Connect

Meet Robert Brown

Jan 18, 2016
Image of Robert Brown (second from right) meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his assistant Bernard Lee and Rev. L.V. Booth.
Robert Brown

Note: This is a rebroadcast from last year. To hear a follow up to this interview with Robert Brown, click here

Robert Brown is one of the most influential North Carolinians you’ve never heard of.

Concertina wire surrounding a prison
Kate Ter Harr / Flickr Creative Commons

Note: This is a rebroadcast from earlier this year.

A recent report by Human Rights Watch documents widespread abuse of mentally ill inmates in prisons across America. The abuses include dousing with chemical sprays, being shocked with stun guns and strapping inmates to beds for hours at a time.

NC General Assembly
Jorge Valencia

Republican leaders in the state house and senate have finally reached an agreement on at least part of the state budget.

They have made a deal that sets the budget at $21.735 billion. They still need to iron out agreements on state employee raises and funding for teaching assistants.

  Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC Capitol bureau chief Jeff Tiberii about the latest.

Pediatric oncologist Dr. Raymond Barfield has always loved storytelling. As a child he would often sit and listen to his grandfather tell tales, and in college he sought out the work of philosophers who illustrated their ideas with specific stories.

Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina education leaders are proposing dramatic changes to the state's public education system.

A group tasked with retooling the Common Core standards met yesterday to present their preliminary recommendations


Main Building of the former Black Mountain College, on the grounds of Camp Rockmont, a summer camp for boys.
Howard Morland

In the 1940's and 1950's, several professors at Black Mountain College in Western North Carolina attracted the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigations for their progressive political beliefs.

  Increasing anti-communist paranoia fueled a federal investigation, along with suspicion about whether or not the school was inappropriately using funds from the G.I. Bill to pay for tuition.

The Bull City Dignity Project
Kari Barclay

During the summer of 2015, a group of Durham high school students have been working on a documentary theatre production based on the true life stories of Durhamites.


They met with folks from all walks of life and recorded their stories. They then reinterpreted the narratives for the stage as part of The Bull City Dignity Project.

The Epic

Aug 7, 2015
Jazz musician Kamasi Washington
Mike Park

Kamasi Washington has long been known in the world of musical performers, but he is becoming a more popular name in mainstream music in 2015.

He performed on one of the most well-known and well-received hip-hop records this year, Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly. The album increased attention to the intersection of jazz and hip-hop.

Bill Maher

Aug 6, 2015
Image of Bill Maher
David Becker / WireImage

Comedian Bill Maher has been setting the standard for political talk shows for more than two decades.

  It all started in 1993 with his first talk show “Politically Incorrect.” As the host, Maher specialized in biting political humor. His latest Emmy-nominated program is “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

He wrote four bestselling books, starred in one of the highest grossing documentaries of all time, and still tours regularly on the stand-up circuit.

'Hashtags are the new protest signs'
Mark Dixon / https://www.flickr.com/photos/9602574@N02/15770344667

There are all kinds of conversations happening in the multiverse that is social media.

From discussions about Ta-Nehisi Coates’ new book to police brutality, social media takes a look at a wide array of issues in the headlines.

Meet Robert Brown

Aug 3, 2015
Image of Brown meeting with Nelson Mandela in South Africa at his home in Johannesburg.
Robert Brown

Robert Brown is one of the most influential North Carolinians you’ve never heard of.

He had a pretty humble start in High Point, where he was born and raised. He was among the city’s first African-American police officers in the 1950s.

But he moved on quickly, first as a federal drug enforcement officer, and then as an adviser to some of the world’s most powerful people: Martin Luther King Jr., Richard Nixon, Nelson Mandela and John F. Kennedy, and that’s only part of the list.

jasleen_kaur / Flickr Creative Commons

Scientists have set their sights on finding a cure for AIDS. At the opening of the International AIDS Society conference in Vancouver, AIDS researchers made a call to action for a worldwide shift in HIV treatment.

They now suggest that doctors provide medication immediately after a diagnosis instead of first waiting for the signs of illness to appear.

Image of P. Murali Doraiswamy
Duke University

More than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer's and new evidence that suggests women's brains are especially vulnerable to the disease.

Image of Asheville police cra
Osajus / Flickr Creative Commons

Thousands of untested rape kits are sitting in police storage throughout the country according to a new investigation by USA Today.

The kits include evidence that could be matched to attackers but some law enforcement agencies say the cost is prohibitive. Here in North Carolina, hundreds of rape kits remain untested. 

Image of Pat Cohen
Music Maker Tintype, Tim Duffy and Aaron Greenhood

The Music Maker Relief Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping true pioneers and forgotten heroes of the blues gain recognition as well as meet their day-to-day needs.

The foundation teamed up with Duke Performances to commemorate their 20th anniversary with a series of summer concerts.

I, Destini

Jul 22, 2015
Image of video being shot for the documentary - I, Destini. Nicholas Pilarski and Destini Riley (left) are working on a documentary to show what it's like having a family member in prison.
Nicholas Pilarski

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics there are approximately 2.3 million people in prisons or local jails in the United States. And many of those individuals have family members living life on the outside who experience their own set of challenges.

Image of Toyota Plant in Indiana. North Carolina was in the running to be the home of Toyota's North American Headquarters in 2014, but Plano, Texas won the bid.
Kurt Weber / Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina was able to lure 47 new or expansion business projects to the state last year. The haul promises to bring more than 8,000 jobs and $1.4 billion in capital investment.

But the state recently lost the bids for a Volvo manufacturing plant and the Mercedes Benz U.S. headquarters.

So how's the state doing with economic development overall?

Image of train running in western North Carolina. When the Western North Carolina Railroad Company expanded railroad access to western North Carolina, it allowed several industries to boom.
Gerald Ledford Collection

Railroads have always been important to the economic development of North Carolina, but for many years the western part of the state was left out of the equation. The intense, mountainous terrain deterred companies from developing in the area around Asheville.

But in 1877, the state-owned Western North Carolina Railroad Company, headed by Maj. James H. Wilson, began boring through the mountains west of Old Fort. And this started a new chapter in western North Carolina history. Industries like mining, timber and tourism all began to boom.

Image of Phil Jamison leading a flatfooting workshop in Virginia in 2010.
Phil Jamison

Professor, musician and flatfoot dancer Phil Jamison has journeyed into the past to tell the story behind the square dances, step dances, reels, and other forms of dance practiced in southern Appalachia.

Image of Joe Troop on the left and Diego Sanchez on the right, who play together to form an acoustic world music sound.
Joe Troop

When North Carolina native Joe Troop first moved to Argentina, he hoped to learn about Argentine culture. The musician had an interest in the lives, beliefs and music of Argentinean people.

And as a bluegrass musician, he thought the best way to jump into the scene was to start a band. He looked online for a local who could play the banjo and he found Diego Sanchez.


The Hunters

Jul 16, 2015
Image of the cover of Tom Young's newest novel, 'The Hunters.'
Tom Young

Author Tom Young is back with another novel about the adventures of Colonel Michael Parson. In The Hunters (Putnam/2015), the protagonist flies relief supplies into Somalia in an antique DC-3 cargo plane for a charitable organization.

Unfortunately, things get complicated when an al-Shabaab leader declares all aid a sin against God, and he begins launching attacks against planes and convoys to stop them. 

Image from a drone hovering in the air
NGAT at NC State

North Carolina is taking small steps toward opening up the skies for unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Department of Transportation has created a position to regulate the skies for recreation and commercial drone pilots and the state is creating new test that ensures pilots know the rules before they launch their planes into the skies.

Image of a drone being launched. The U.S. Navy launches an aeriel drone during a weapons firing exercise off the coast of Brazil in 2011.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Stuart Phillips / Flickr Creative Commons

Have you ever wondered why seemingly successful wars never seem to end?

Author and intelligence expert William M. Arkin tries to answer the question of unending wars in his new book Unmanned: Drones, Data, and the Illusion of Perfect Warfare (Little, Brown and Company/ 2015). Arkin argues the digital revolution’s creation of drones and a reluctance to put boots on the ground yields seemingly endless warfare.

Image of Jacqueline Woodson, who is an award-winning author, used her life experiences growing up in South Carolina as the basis for her memoir, 'Brown Girl Dreaming.'
Marty Umans

Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson grew up Greenville, S.C. during the '60s and ‘70s. During this period of her life, Woodson was very aware of the segregation in her community and throughout the South.

Robert Wilcoxson, right, is embraced by his father in 2011 after being proclaimed innocent in the murder of Walter Bowman. Wilcoxson now lives near Detroit.
Asheville Citizen-Times / Citizen-Times file photo

Robert Wilcoxson served 11 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit, and now he’s going to be compensated for the wrongful conviction.