Laura Pellicer

State of Things Producer

Laura Pellicer is a producer with The State of Things, a show that explores North Carolina through conversation.

Laura was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, a city she considers arrestingly beautiful, if not a little dysfunctional. She worked as a researcher for CBC Montreal and also contributed to their programming as an investigative journalist, social media reporter, and special projects planner. Her work has been nominated for two Canadian RTDNA Awards.

Laura loves looking into how cities work, pursuing stories about indigenous rights, and finding fresh voices to share with listeners. Laura is enamored with her new home in North Carolina—notably the lush forests, and the waves where she plans on moonlighting as a mediocre surfer.

Ways to Connect

Nikola Solic / AP Photo

The 21st FIFA World Cup hosted by Russia heads toward the final game on Sunday when France and Croatia will battle for the top spot. The tournament attracts millions of viewers from around the globe, with the last World Cup final between Germany and Argentina in 2014 drawing a record 1.01 billion viewers worldwide, according to FIFA.

Jean Leon Gerome / Public Domain

Blackbeard’s stolen vessel, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, ran aground off the North Carolina coastline three hundred years ago this summer.

Robot from French technology summit
École polytechnique - J.Barande / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/UBfMcH

Despite the enduring narrative in pop culture of an impending apocalyptic robot-takeover, humans decided a while back to keep moving forward with plans to imbue intelligence into machines. 

abstract art of a world map
Art by Nicholas Raymond / http://freestock.ca/flags_maps_g80-world_map__abstract_acrylic_p2970.html

In the middle of a landmass in the Northern Hemisphere bordered by oceans, people call themselves Americans. According to both their own laws and broader international ones, they are members of a group known as a nation-state – in this case the United States of America.

David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library / Duke University Archives

Last August, Duke University removed a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the entrance to the Duke University Chapel. The removal came amidst country-wide protests over Confederate symbols, and soon after the violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia. Since then, Duke has embarked on a project to interrogate its history and identify some of the unsung heroes of the school.

Fred Nijhout poses with crossed arms in front of abstract
Megan Mendenhall / Duke Photography

Frederik Nijhout grew up in post-World War II Holland, and his childhood was full of stories from the war, including his father's imprisonment by the Germans and his daring escape with forged travel documents. As a child, he moved to Guatemala and later to Curaçao where he was captivated by the diverse and colorful nature.

Seth Wenig / AP Photo

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement this week and sparked panic among many Democrats. During his time on the nation’s highest bench, he cast deciding votes on LGBTQ rights, abortion and the death penalty. President Trump has vowed to replace Kennedy’s seat with a more conservative justice.

Gabriella Bulgarelli / WUNC

Valerie June is known for her eclectic voice, energetic on-stage performance and soulful lyrics. She was born in Tennessee, raised in the church and got her start in the music biz by helping out her dad who promoted artists like Prince and Bobby Womack.

Courtesy of Lindsay Zanno

A group of scientists led by a North Carolina paleontologist have uncovered a rare trove of dinosaur eggs from a species that does not even have a name yet. The dinosaur belonged to the oviraptorosaur group: bird-like dinosaurs that looked a little like parrots or chickens and walked on two legs.

Gerry Dincher / Flickr Creative Commons

There is plenty of debate over whether an algae bloom, or chemicals, or a combination of the two led to the devastating fish kill on White Lake in Bladen County, NC. What is clear, is more than 100,000 fish of various species, including hearty largemouth bass, floated up to the surface and washed ashore starting in May.

Chris Gunn / NASA/GFSC

The number of women in STEM is growing, but large barriers remain. A new study shows that experiences of sexual harassment in the workplace have a long-term, negative impact on women faculty in sciences, engineering and medicine and diminish both their scientific productivity and opportunities for advancement.

Image of cartoon man standing in mountains on poster from documentary 'Fenn's Searchers'
Courtesy Matt Maisano

When Forrest Fenn was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he decided to give away some of his wealth in an unconventional way. Fenn is a collector, and he buried his gold, rare coins, and gems in a treasure chest and left a riddle leading to its location.

Gabriella Bulgarelli / WUNC

For James Roy Gorham, growing up in the small farming community of Falkland, NC was full of tough lessons, and he learned many of them from his father.

Courtesy of Omid Safi

As a prominent Islamic scholar, Omid Safi has written often in defense of the breadth and nuance of Islam. But for his latest book, Safi hones in on the idea of love, and how mystic Islamic poets interpreted the theme.

Courtesy of Nicole Zelniker

For Maia Dery, sitting still has never been much of an option. Her teacher had her sit out in the halls to not disturb other students, and as soon as she had her precious drivers license, Dery routinely skipped school to escape to Duke Forest. As Dery says, she never did well in boxes.

Courtesy of Shervin Lainez

Bette Smith sang in her church choir and for a while church music was all she knew. She wasn't allowed to listen to secular music. Smith was raised Seventh-day Adventist, and her father encouraged solely religious music at home and in church where he directed the choir. But the family lived in a diverse neighborhood in Brooklyn, where the sounds of the South were too hard to avoid.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper unveiled his first budget proposal on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at Durham Technical Community College.
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the latest state budget Wednesday, claiming the spending plan does not do enough to support teachers. But is Cooper’s budget plan fiscally sound? The legislature’s nonpartisan Fiscal Research Division says his proposed budget would rack up a nearly $500 million deficit by 2020.

book cover of 'The Source' by author Martin Doyle
Courtesy Martin Doyle

The history of rivers in America is a story of control, or at least an attempt at control. Early on, waterways determined where and how European settlers would live. Later, in the industrial age, humans would begin to exert their control over the rivers. Through massive projects like the Tennessee Valley Authority, Americans turned long rivers into a series of reservoirs and water into money-making energy. But in the process, they also drastically changed the ecosystems around the rivers.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

In less than one month, full-time state employees in North Carolina can expect a minimum wage boost to $15 per hour. It is one of the measures in the new state budget that was rushed through by Republican legislators last week in a process that did not allow amendments.

Courtesy of Emily Stewart and Matty Sheets

Magpie Thief is a stripped down folk-duo featuring Greensboro-based singer-songwriters Emily Stewart and Matty Sheets. For Stewart and Sheets, the heat of summer inspires some of their most creative work. They escape the sun and cozy up indoors in cool living rooms. As this summer approaches, Stewart and Sheets are hoping to veer away from their raw and eclectic folk sound and experiment with other genres, including the blues.

Poster image of art of Monét Noelle Marshall stuffing money in her mouth.
Derrick Beasley

Artist Monét Noelle Marshall has been working intensely on a new three-part performance art project: “Buy It Call It.” It explores the price people put on their bodies and souls and how capitalism uniquely impacts women and people of color.

In 'Gone Dollywood: Dolly Parton's Mountain Dream' author Graham Hoppe explores how the country-music star's theme-park is reclaiming Appalachian narratives and uplifting the community.
Courtesy of Graham Hoppe

Dollywood is Dolly Parton’s mountain, dream theme park in Sevier County, Tennessee. On the surface, the concept conjures up images of a kitchy and over-the-top Appalachian amusement park. But a new book by writer and folklorist Graham Hoppe looks behind a narrative of Appalachian stereotypes and reveals a place that has served and nourished a community and family for years.

NC State House
Courtesy of NCGA

Republican legislative leaders released their plan for the state budget late Monday. The bill includes a 6.5 percent average pay hike for teachers, raises for full-time state employees, and a $60 million fund for continued Hurricane Matthew recovery.

headshot of Bishop Michael Curry
www.dionc.org

Bishop Michael Curry became one of the stars at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after delivering a rousing 14-minute-long sermon at the event. 

Curry is the first African-American to head the Episcopal church and the first American to preach at a British royal wedding. 

A former employee at Candler Living Center, a facility for mentally ill and disabled adults outside Asheville, N.C., contracted with Recovery Connections for workers. It houses nearly 30 residents.
Courtesy of Nancy Pierce / Reveal

For years, clients who sought treatment for addiction at a North Carolina-based rehab program found themselves in a system of exploitative labor, according to a new investigation by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Isabel Taylor with guitar
Courtesy of Isabel Taylor

Isabel Taylor wanted to perform on stage for a long time. So long, in fact, that it became one of those dreams that lingered until it felt more and more distant. So she finally set a deadline: by 40 she would take the stage at an open mic.

Misumena Vatia, or Crab spiders, are able to change color to blend in with their surroundings.
Sean McCann / University of Chicago Press

Despite being an entomologist, Eleanor Spicer Rice was not a likely candidate to write a book about spiders. She is terrified of the creatures. Or at least she was until she partnered up with acclaimed arachnologist Chris Buddle of McGill University.

Supporters of raising pay for teachers began to march in downtown Raleigh on Wednesday morning.
James Morrison / WUNC

Thousands of North Carolina teachers march through the streets of Raleigh on Wednesday to call for higher pay and for more resources for their students. The march is part of the wave of educator-led activism across the nation in backlash to federal and state-level education budget cuts.

photo of michelle lhooq in a club
Luis Nieto Dickens

Female and queer artists will make up a majority of the lineup at this year’s Moogfest in downtown Durham. It’s a roster that pushes back against the prominence of men as the creators, performers and promoters in the electronic music industry.

photo of Candis Cox speaking at a podium with signs for the human rights campaign and equality NC
Courtesy of Candis Cox

Candis Cox was working as a representative with American Airlines at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport when she was thrust into the role of political activist. Cox is a transgender woman, and after the passage of North Carolina House Bill 2, she was told she could no longer use the bathroom that aligned with her gender identity.

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