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

Credit: NASA

Asheville may be tucked away in the mountains, but it is quickly building a reputation as “climate city,” a home for researchers, scientific entrepreneurs and nonprofit and governmental organizations working to address climate change.

Yale University Press

In his new book, political science professor Patrick Deneen calls on readers to take a long, hard look at America’s oft-exalted liberal ideology.

Racial segregation persists in American neighborhoods, and there is an enduring belief that the divide stems from factors like wealth, personal prejudice, and the decision to live among one’s own. In his latest book, housing policy expert Richard Rothstein rips aparts that belief. Instead, he argues decades of deliberate U.S. government policies created the racially-divided neighborhoods that exist across the country today.

Rothstein explains the long term effects of discriminatory housing policies that have led to the wealth and education gaps between white and black Americans. Host Frank Stasio interviews Rothstein about his book “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America” (Liveright Publishing/2017).

Creative Commons / pxhere

Kitchens in America’s top-rated restaurants have long been a boys club in which men hold the positions of power and women have to play by their rules, even when they cross the line. However, the reaction to allegations against top chefs and media darlings like Mario Batali show that the tides may be turning as the #MeToo movement enters the kitchen.

Pluto Press

Scholar Lawrence Grossberg has spent decades documenting the rise of the political right. In his latest book, he places the rise of President Trump within the historical timeline of American conservatism.

“Under The Cover Of Chaos: Trump and the Battle for the American Right” (Pluto Press/ 2018) digs into how the turmoil of the Trump presidency has spurred an “explosion of vital and diverse forms of organizing” on the left, but also how that organizing has bypassed real conversations that acknowledge the core of political disagreements and develop long-term strategy.

Courtesy Melina Kibbe

When Melina Kibbe took the helm of the department of surgery at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in 2016, she was only the 15th woman in the country in that role. Beyond carving a path as a woman in a top spot in the medical world, Kibbe is also on a mission for sex equity in research.

The sounds of bluegrass have taken over the streets and venues of Raleigh. The International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass is a five-day event that strings together free downtown shows, ticketed showcases, a business of bluegrass conference and the illustrious annual International Bluegrass Music Awards

Courtesy Lakota John

Lakota John did not have to wait long to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a touring musician. At just 12 years old he was invited to travel across the country and play his ragtime blues.

Courtesy of J.G. Hetherton / Crooked Lane Books

Laura Chambers did not want to come back to Hillsborough. But after the impulsive investigative journalist is fired from her job at the Boston Globe, she is forced to stumble home and take a gig at a small, hometown paper. After a missing girl turns up dead, Laura sees it as an opportunity to get back on the front page.

Linda Rupert

Tropical Depression Florence is well inland, but North Carolina is still reeling from the storm. All of the state’s 100 counties have experienced some form of National Weather System alert, from flash flood watch to hazardous weather outlook.

 In a two-hour special broadcast to stations around North Carolina, The State of Things speaks with residents, journalists, officials and experts about the devastating storm impact. 

Vehicles drive through water from the White Oak River flooding Highway 24 as Hurricane Florence hit Swansboro N.C., Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.
Tom Copeland / AP Photo

North Carolina is feeling the effects of Hurricane Florence. The major storm is expected to cause catastrophic flooding and long power outages. Host Frank Stasio talks to WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii and WUNC politics reporter Rusty Jacobs for the latest from the governor and on state response.

AP Photo/Chuck Burton

Hurricane Florence, which is now a Category 2 storm, continues to bear down on the Carolina coast. The National Weather Service says it is likely to be “the storm of a lifetime” for certain portions of that coastline. Officials have ordered the evacuation of over 1 million people from the coasts of North and South Carolina. Scott Sharp, a senior forecaster with the National Weather Service in Raleigh speaks with host Frank Stasio with the latest report.

Tom Copeland / AP Photo

Many North Carolina residents are evacuating coastal areas while others are preparing emergency stores to get them through what the Federal Emergency Management Agency is predicting will be the strongest storm to hit the state in decades. 

The University of North Carolina At Chapel Hill

American universities are designed to educate students while also responding to a public need. The research and innovation that stems from those schools is meant to lift up communities and the nation as a whole.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP Photo

Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh continue this week, and many have described them as a circus. Angry protesters repeatedly disrupted proceedings and were dragged out of the hearings. And Democrats themselves protested on the first day that they did not have sufficient time to review more than 40,000 pages of documents they received hours before the hearings were set to begin. 

UNC Press

Historian Malinda Maynor Lowery grew up hearing two distinct histories. One was American history taught in the classroom, and the other was the history of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, taught around the dinner table. 

Personality tests have become a common feature in the professional world. They are meant to tell candidates or employees who they are and how they fit into a group. But personality tests have their own character flaw: they can be faked. The test-taker can manipulate the questionnaire to deliver answers they think their employer wants to hear.

Photo of social media apps on a phone screen
Public Domain

A team of researchers led by Duke University sociologist Christopher Bail ran an experiment to expose a group of Twitter users to political views that were in opposition to their own. The study was aimed at gauging whether stepping out of a social media silo and reading about political perspectives from a broader ideological spectrum helped shift people’s own political leanings.

Teacher in classroom with students.
woodleywonderworks / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/auPuAq

Tens of thousands of North Carolina teachers flooded Raleigh in May to demand higher pay. But many of the teachers who marched also voiced a desire for more public school funding.

Courtesy Raymond Barfield

For most of his life, Raymond Barfield was a person of faith. He grew up in the church and maintained his faith right up to his early years as a physician. But his time working as a pediatric oncologist pushed him to the limits of his emotional and spiritual capacity.

Cover image of "Assembly" by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri.
Courtesy Michael Hardt

Ask Americans to name people who led the fight for civil rights in the 1960s and figures Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks will quickly emerge. But Duke professor Michael Hardt argues that contemporary social protest movements have moved away from centralizing power and promoting figureheads. That observation is the thesis of his latest book “Assembly” (Oxford University Press/2017) co-authored by Antonio Negri.

Courtesy of Cheetie Kumar

Cheetie Kumar grew up in Chandigarh, India with America on the mind. Her family talked often about moving overseas to pursue a fresh start in the United States. Her parents lived through Indian Partition in 1947, a bloody conflict during which Kumar’s mother lost both of her parents. For their family, moving to the U.S. was both about finding new opportunities and gaining distance from trauma. 

Silent Sam
Laura Pellicer / WUNC

Police arrested seven people on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill Saturday, as counter-protestors clashed with men carrying Confederate battle flags and other signs. This came five days after the Silent Sam statue was brought down on campus.

Gabriella Bulgarelli / WUNC

Silent Sam may no longer be standing on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus, but activist Maya Little says the fight is far from over. 

Gerry Broome / AP Photo

Silent Sam fell to the ground Monday night, breaking through the dirt around its pedestal. Protesters cheered, and police, for the most part, looked on as protesters kicked the statue and captured photos of the controversial Confederate symbol. 

Warner Bros

The best filmmakers can craft a world so vivid viewers can imagine themselves living alongside the characters. Through intricate sets, or the magic of animation, cinema becomes America’s dream machine. 

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library / Yale University

A team from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro has been working to identify the names of people who were made slaves in America through documents including wills and bills of sale. The Digital Library on American Slavery lists about 80,000 slaves, and is referenced by tens of thousands of users each month. 

Amanda Magnus / WUNC

When Triad-based artist Molly McGinn agreed to organize a new weekly music night at a local venue, she wanted it to look and sound a little different. 

Courtesy of Sidecar Social Club

The sound of Sidecar Social Club is rooted in the grit and authenticity of old jazz, but their performances are not stuck in the past. The band incorporates elements of rhythm and blues, Latin music and even rock. 

Madeline Uraneck and Tenzin Kalsang's family
Courtesy of Madeline Uraneck

 In the early 1990s, U.S. Congress authorized 1,000 special visas for displaced Tibetans living in exile in India and Nepal. Tenzin Kalsang is a Tibetan who came to the U.S. as part of that resettlement. Despite a steady stream of struggles, and trying to navigate life without her family, Kalsang took a job as a cleaner in an office building. It was there that she struck up a friendship with writer and educator Madeline Uraneck, and the two went on to consider each other family. 

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