Jennifer Brookland

American Homefront Project Veterans Reporting Fellow

Jennifer Brookland
Credit Jennifer Brookland

Jennifer Brookland is the American Homefront Project Veterans Reporting Fellow. She covers stories about the military and veterans as well as issues affecting the people and places of North Carolina.

Jennifer grew up in Baltimore, MD and studied International Politics and African Studies at Georgetown University. She spent four years as a Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations in North Carolina and Maryland, and deployed to Djibouti and the Comoros Islands.

After earning her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University she contributed to News21, a national reporting project on transportation safety in America. She also interned at PRI’s “The World” and in Nairobi with IRIN, the United Nations’ humanitarian news and analysis service. She received a master’s degree in human security and NGO management from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Jennifer spent three years producing content for international development organizations in D.C, highlighting aid work in countries including Tajikistan, Haiti, Honduras, India and Tanzania. She moved to Durham in 2015 and began freelance writing, editing and producing, including a yearlong stint as producer for "The State of Things." 
 

Jacob Fields, right, plays walks with his son Roan, left, in a wooded area adjacent to Murdoch Developmental Center in Butner, N.C. on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

For families with special needs children, putting kids into institutional care is often a desperate act of last resort. Many parents and caregivers prefer to keep their children at home where they can give them as much love and attention as possible, but they need help to do so. Families of children with severe intellectual and developmental disabilities are eligible for assistance from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services through a portion of Medicaid called the Innovations Waiver.

Women are the fastest growing subgroup among veterans. But many view the VA Health System as a place only for men.

Clifford Shuping feeds his goats outside his home in Rockwell, N.C. A Korean War era veteran, Shuping died of COVID-19 at the N.C. State Veterans Home in Salisbury last month.
Courtesy of Carrie McKinney

Clifford Paul Shuping, who served in the Army during the Korean conflict, passed away from COVID-19 at the State Veterans Home in Salisbury. As part of an effort to honor North Carolina veterans who have died during the pandemic, WUNC spoke with Shuping's family about his life and legacy.

In some states, recruiters are reporting an uptick in the number of people who are expressing interest in joining the Guard.

Courtesy of Ty Meyer

For students and educators around the state, this year’s learning is in a state of flux. Public schools are holding out hope that they will reopen their doors before the school year ends. 

In a statewide special, public radio stations from across North Carolina join together to examine the impact of Coronavirus on our health, schools and economy.

(AP Photo/ Daniel R. Patmore)

As of April 7, a surge of COVID-19 cases at the Federal Correctional Complex in Butner sent the total number of infections to 62 — the highest among the nation’s federal prisons, according to The News and Observer.

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union

Grocery clerks and delivery drivers are on the frontlines alongside healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus. But, unlike nurses, coming in contact with highly contagious diseases was not included in their job description. Low wages, limited benefits, and now the pervasive threat of illness?

The Irreverent Warriors, seen here holding a 2016 'silkies hike' in Jacksonville, N.C., has been forced to suspend its hikes and hangouts because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sean Berry / U.S. Marine Corps

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced most of us into social isolation. But for veterans with mental health issues, staying at home runs counter to advice they've long received to get out and interact with the world.

The VA informed student veterans they may become ineligible for GI Bill education and housing funds if their college transitions from in-person to online classes. Congress has quickly passed a fix.

RecruitMilitary

Kathryn Kuziel sees light at the end of the tunnel. With her husband Alex Kuziel getting out of the 82nd Airborne soon, she’s finally be able to look for a job as an IT project manager without worrying that potential employers will pass her over for someone with more staying power.

Courtesy of Chuck Liddy

Chuck Liddy stumbled into a career as a photojournalist after he found out he could walk into  high school football games for free if he had a camera around his neck. But the photography enthusiast had already converted a bathroom in his house into a darkroom and enjoyed experimenting with the camera his dad had taken into the Vietnam War. Once Liddy was on staff at a newspaper, he began a career of taking risks and adopting the new technology of the day, from digital cameras to drones.

courtesy of Jennifer Dasal

It can be as difficult to explain why an artist is driven to paint or sculpt as it is to define what makes great art. But for some of the highest-achieving artists the motivation to create is clear: competition.

Alan Stark / Flickr Creative Commons

The Environmental Protection Agency may change the way it calculates the health risks of air pollution, according to the New York Times. The change would make it easier to roll back the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which took steps to decarbonize the electricity sector. The EPA’s new math would attribute fewer predicted premature deaths to air pollution than the model that has been in place for decades. It would also suggest that improving air quality beyond a set threshold is unnecessary. 

Courtesy of Juan Alamo

For Juan Álamo, rhythm just comes naturally. He has a passion for percussion that surfaced when he was a little boy growing up in Puerto Rico. Juan parlayed that passion into serious classical study of the marimba, an instrument similar to a xylophone but bigger and with a deeper tone. In his recently-released album “Ruta Panoramica,” Álamo marries the Latin rhythms of his hometown with his classical training and a love of jazz to create a unique fusion sound not typically heard from a marimba. 

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

New abortion legislation is sweeping the country, with states introducing ever-more polarizing bills to constrict and expand access. With Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the bench, legislatures in states like Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi are pushing the envelope as they presume the Supreme Court may be receptive to rolling back or overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized the procedure. North Carolina has been issuing legislation aimed at restricting abortion providers, patients and employers since 2011.

Courtesy of Jacquelyn Dowd Hall

Growing up in turn-of-the-century Georgia, the Lumpkin children were steeped in a culture of white supremacy. The older girls performed in rallies for “The Lost Cause,” while their father took a direct role in the Ku Klux Klan. But the two youngest Lumpkin sisters, Grace and Katharine, veered well off the path their family had set for them. They became activists and authors who railed against racial and economic oppression.

Dopiaza / Flickr Creative Commons

In literature, film and popular culture, vegans have long been mocked and dismissed as naive, privileged white women who allow emotion to guide their lifestyles. Food choices are indeed shaped by class and race, but using a “vegan lens” to analyze what people see and read may allow them to better recognize these “enmeshed oppressions,” according to Western Carolina University English Professor Laura Wright. She’s the editor of “Through a Vegan Studies Lens: Textual Ethics and Lived Activism” (University of Nevada Press/2019). 

Jennifer Brookland

Sam Frazier is a Greensboro-based singer, songwriter and musician with two solo CDs under his belt in addition to collaborations with some of the area’s top talent. The lyrics in his original songs move between silly and soulful, as his poetic storytelling speaks to our all-too-human nature. 

UNCG Chemistry

Nadja Cech grew up in a hippy community in Oregon, spending her days building fairy houses in the woods and drawing and collecting plants. So after she became a scientist— and an associate professor of chemistry at just 23 years old — it made sense to her to look to nature for some of our most pressing medical needs. 

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Republicans in the House are moving forward with their version of the state budget. Teachers and supporters who took to the streets in protest over funding were disappointed that the proposal did not meet their demands. Gov. Roy Cooper was also left wanting; now questions have arisen over whether he would veto a budget that does not provide for Medicaid expansion. 

Photo courtesy of Katherine Goldstein

Working mothers have a lot stacked against them. From insufficient parental leave to workplace culture that penalizes family time, moms often find it extremely challenging to get ahead professionally while raising kids. In politics, the barriers are even more daunting. Young moms on the campaign trail are routinely asked about their ability to manage family and political life and field questions about their commitment to issues beyond kids and schools. 

Photo courtesy of Michael Malone

After writer Samia Serageldin lost her mother, she traveled to Cairo to go through her belongings and remember the woman she thought she knew intimately. Yet when she read through journals her mother had kept as a young bride and throughout her life, Serageldin realized there was much she had never considered or understood about her. Along with co-editor Lee Smith, Serageldin put a prompt out to Southern writers she admired: Discover what you know, or do not know, about your mother. An anthology of essays aptly named “Mothers and Strangers: Essays on Motherhood From the New South” (University of North Carolina Press/2019) is the result. 

Sam Javanrouh / Flikr Creative Commons

Although the majority of Americans support paid family leave, only 12 percent of North Carolina workers benefit from it. Employees are able to take unpaid family leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, but many workers simply cannot afford to go without pay while they take care of a new baby or sick relative. 

Photo courtesy of Susan Crawford

History tends to repeat itself, and when it comes to new technology, the adage could not be more true. As with the advent of railroads and electricity, fiber optic connection holds huge promise for households and cities but is being held up and held back by companies who do not want to lose control over internet provision. While countries like Sweden, Japan and China surge ahead with fiber networks that are transforming medicine, education and city management, the U.S. lags behind and suffers from low-quality, high-cost connectivity. 

Autumn Karen

As a professional ghostwriter, Autumn Karen is usually forbidden to discuss her projects or her behind-the-scenes role in creating them. But the author of a recently-published book insisted that her name grace the cover along with his. “Mississippi Still Burning: From Hoods to Suits” (One Human Race Inc./2018) is James Stern’s incredible true story of being a black man incarcerated with Edgar Ray Killen, an Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and the man convicted of the 1964 triple-homicide of three civil rights activitsts. 

Andy Eversole does not like to go places without his banjo. But that does not mean he sticks close to home. His most recent recording project took him to India to capture the sounds of the subcontinent and incorporate them into his Southern-rooted banjo music. He journeyed to New Delhi, Agra, Rajasthan and the Kashmir region and collaborated with musicians he met there. He discovered that Indian musicians have a penchant for playing live and that their cows and car horns do not stop for the occasion. Eversole documented the trip in a YouTube documentary

Michael Kasino

The American Issues Initiative’s new documentary “Rigged: The Voter Suppression Playbook,” wants to alarm people. It shows the myriad tactics that states, including North Carolina, used to suppress citizens’ right to vote leading up to and during the 2016 election.

“Many people don’t understand that a whole series of laws have been passed in over 20 states with the intent, and effect, of making it more difficult to vote,” says Mac Heller, co-executive producer on the film.

"Lassie Come Home" / MGM

Something in your eye? It’s not your fault, some movies are simply designed to be tearjerkers. On this installment of Movies on the Radio, The State of Things heard from listeners about the films that got the tears flowing.   

Courtesy of Nadia Orton

When Nadia Orton’s kidneys were failing, she sent letters to friends and relatives in the hopes that someone could be a donor or help defray the cost. Orton’s great-aunt Philgradore responded with money from her church. So a few years later, when Aunt Phil asked on her deathbed that her family not be forgotten, Orton knew she had to find a way to honor her ancestors. The problem was that she didn’t know who they were, or where to find them.

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