Suzanne Higgins

Executive Producer

Suzanne Higgins is an Executive Producer for WVPB, headquartered at WSWP-TV in Beckley.

Her recent projects have included the completion of the sixth documentary in the Inspiring West Virginians radio series, two companion Inspiring West Virginians television programs, and a web series on WV Learning Media targeted to middle school students.

Suzanne also recently wrote, co-produced and narrated Jay: A Rockefeller's Journey. This 2-hour documentary focuses on the life and half-century career of John D. Rockefeller, IV, and will be distributed through NETA to PBS stations in 2016.  

With the launch of the West Virginia Channel, she's working with independent producers and filmmakers throughout the state, building production partnerships and broadening program offerings.

Her past projects have included producing and hosting live television studio programs, documentaries, multiple radio series, and contributing reports to the network's ongoing news and public affairs programs.  

Suzanne is the recipient of the national Pew Charitable Trust’s Batten Award for Excellence in Civic Journalism, the Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting, an Emmy Award, several West Virginia Associated Press Broadcasters Association awards, and the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Virginias’ Associated Press Broadcasters Association.

Ways to Connect

Courtesy Dale Payne

If you’re a West Virginia history buff, West Virginia Public Broadcasting and the National Coal Heritage Area had you in mind as they arranged a preview of a national documentary in southern West Virginia. A special sneak peek of The Mine Wars, a new documentary from the PBS AMERICAN EXPERIENCE series, is scheduled Thursday, Jan. 21 at 6:30pm, in the Hulett C. Smith Theater at Tamarack.

Jean Snedegar

Keren Brown Wilson of War, WV says it all started with her mom, Jessie.  At just age 55, Jessie had a stoke that confined her to nursing homes for the next decade.

Jean Snedegar

Rod Van Meter strolls the halls at Duke University in Durham, N.C., knowing his very satisfying year here as a visiting professor on Fellowship is wrapping up.

Soon he’ll be returning to Keio University in Japan, and Shonan Fujisawa campus, about an hour southwest of Tokyo near the coast.

Forty-nine year old Van Meter of Williamson, WV is one of just a few thousand scientists and engineers in the world working on the future of Information Technology – quantum computers and networks. 

Jean Snedegar

She’s so beautiful that after retiring as a global executive for IBM, she was pursued by the Wilhelmina Modeling Agency as a mature model, appearing in numerous ads for national commercials.

But today Marilyn Johnson is one of the most high profile African-American businesswomen in the country.  She’s CEO of one of the most prestigious women’s organizations in the world – the International Women’s Forum headquartered in Washington, DC.

Inspiring West Virginians tells the stories of West Virginians who are exceptional leaders in science and business. We visit them where they are, learn about what they do, hear stories of their childhoods and the influence of a West Virginia upbringing.  Added to that are the perspectives of friends, relatives and colleagues.  

Coming from small towns or modest means, they’ve all overcome hardships and hurdles on their way to the top of their fields.

Jean Snedegar

He’s got a beautiful voice. 

In fact, he was once a member of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus - the house chorus for the Boston Symphony Orchestra – and he currently sings with the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. 

The Clinic for Special Children in Lancaster County, PA, a world-renowned treatment and research center for rare genetic disorders, will break ground on a second rural clinic in central Pennsylvania Saturday, Oct. 24 – part of the ongoing work of Dr. Holmes and Caroline Morton, West Virginia natives and subjects of WVPB’s series Inspiring West Virginians.

WVU Tech in Montgomery, West Virginia
WVU Tech

BridgeValley Community and Technical College and WVU Tech will sign an agreement this week establishing multiple associate-to-bachelor degree educational pathways.

Under the agreement, officials say students who complete an eligible associate degree program at BridgeValley in South Charleston will be able to seamlessly transition into a bachelor’s program at WVU Tech.  

Swimmerguy269 / wikimedia Commons

West Virginia University is creating a new office and a new position to oversee fraternities and sororities.
 

Student Life vice president Bill Schafer says a national search will be conducted to fill the position of associate dean and director of Greek life.

WVU President E. Gordon Gee says the new office and position are part of an effort to change the university's culture.

Gee promised significant changes following the death of 18-year-old freshman Nolan Burch during an initiation ceremony at the WVU Kappa Sigma house on Nov. 12, 2014.

Why would the heir of one of the wealthiest families in America come to one of its poorest states – and stay? What influenced him and who inspired him along his journey to becoming one of the state’s most influential leaders of the last 50 years?

Here are 4  moments from "Jay": A Rockefeller's Journey that describe the events that shaped the man. You can watch the broadcast premiere Monday, June 22, at 9 p.m. on West Virginia Public Broadcasting. 

Suzanne Higgins

The Dish Café, located in Daniels, WV, is serving up fantastic cuisine that is really good for you.

Open now 2 years, the Raleigh County eatery is a farm to table restaurant, cooking up original recipes using local produce and proteins as much as possible.

Some of the regular menu items include the falafel salad, Hawaiian flatbread, the roasted porketta sandwich, the black bean burger, and their signature 10 oz rib eye.

Chef Devin Billeter is an owner and also the operations manager.

Dan Ringer

Stirring images of Morgantown police officers marching through West Virginia University’s campus, with gas masks and large sticks, were captured May 7, 1970 by a student with his small black and white camera. Morgantown attorney Dan Ringer was a 21-year-old physics major when on a third day of what had been quiet anti-war demonstrations he decided to go check-out the growing crowd about mid-day.  

Ringer is sharing some of his photographs on our website, and recently shared his recollections of that day with Senior Producer Suzanne Higgins.

   

Inspiring West Virginians is West Virginia Public Broadcasting's radio documentary series featuring the personal stories of West Virginians who have made significant contributions in science, technology, engineering, mathematics or business.

Jean Snedegar

Jake Harriman is a Preston County farm boy who grew up to become a leader in the fight against one of the world’s biggest problems:  extreme poverty. 

Harriman is one of three leaders in science and business profiled in the public radio documentary Inspiring West Virginians.

U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation

In his final message from his United States Senate office, Sen. Jay Rockefeller announced Friday that he will endow a scholarship to the John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics at West Virginia University, the location of his Senatorial Archives.

The following is the Senator's announcement:

Jean Snedegar

Patrice Harris, MD, a native of Bluefield, WV,  is one of the nation’s leading psychiatrists.

Harris and 3 other leaders in science and business are featured in the public radio broadcast of Inspiring West Virginians.

Harris is currently the District Health Director for Fulton County, Georgia, which includes the city of Atlanta, and is responsible for more than a million patients.

Jean Snedegar

During his distinguished career, theoretical physicist and cosmologist Adrian Melott has been a pioneer in two completely different fields of space science – and he credits his focus and curiosity in large part to his grandfather who read a lot about science, and his father, a machinist who allowed him “free reign” in a chemistry lab in the family basement.

Not many pharmacists do cutting edge research in developing new drugs, and how drugs affect different patients differently.

But 53-year-old clinical pharmacologist Bill Petros of Wheeling, WV studies how cancer drugs react differently from one patient to the next.

For more than a decade Bill Petros led his own research lab at Duke University Cancer Center, one of the top cancer research centers in the United States. 

Then he got a call from West Virginia University, and was thrilled to return home.

pills
Wikimedia Commons

The pill is called Sovaldi and it’s profoundly changing outcomes for Hepatitis C patients.

Just 5 years ago the cure rate for most patients in the US was about 50%. Now with Sovaldi, made by Gilead Sciences Inc. of California and approved by the FDA last December, the latest Hep C regimen is making therapy shorter, more tolerable, and the cure rate is reaching 95-100 %.

That’s significant for West Virginia, which has the second highest prevalence of Hepatitis C in the country.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller participated in a Martinsburg panel discussion about video games
Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who announced Saturday the John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics at West Virginia University, will retire at the end of the year after 30 years in the U.S. Senate.

Rockefeller calls public life "all consuming if you go after it like you should."

He says personal time with family, especially his children, has been the price he's paid in public service, and he plans to make up for it in retirement.

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