Suzanne Higgins

Senior Producer

Suzanne Higgins is the news department’s Senior Producer, headquartered at WSWP-TV in Beckley.

She's currently producing Jay: A Rockefeller's Journey, a program focusing on the life and career of John D. Rockefeller, IV as the senator retires following 50 years of public service. 

Other current projects include the Inspiring West Virginians web series for middle school students, and contributions to radio newscasts.

One of Suzanne's recent projects was The Story of the Jews radio series. She also co-produced West Virginia 150: Commemorating Statehood, an hour-long program celebrating the state's sesquicentennial, which was awarded Best Documentary in 2014 by The Virginias Associated Press Broadcasters Association.

Suzanne's other ongoing projects include the Inspiring West Virginians documentary series, the McDowell County: Rebirth and Resilience radio series, the Aging with Grace & Dignity series, and contributions to West Virginia Morning, Inside Appalachia, and The Legislature Today.

Her past projects have included producing and hosting nightly television legislative coverage, producing West Virginia Music Hall of Fame specials, the Legacy series, the Mountain State Science series and the Healing in the Hills series.

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, and several West Virginia Associated Press Broadcasters Association awards.

Ways to Connect

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

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.

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.

Cong. Nick Rahall with veterans
Submitted Photo / Office of Nick Rahall

Democrat Nick Rahall of Beckley will leave his congressional office next month after 38 years of service, to be replaced by Republican Evan Jenkins.

West Virginia's District 3 congressman sat down with Suzanne Higgins on election night, to reflect on the 2014 campaign, and the successes he's had for southern West Virginia while in office.

While the Rahall campaign received between $3-$7 million in outside support to Jenkins' estimated $8-$10 million, the congressman said the practice has undermined the political process.

Clark Davis / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

After switching parties in the spring, Evan Jenkins will now head to D.C. after pulling off what could be called a monumental upset.  

Jenkins unseats Nick Rahall from the 3rd congressional district seat after a reign that lasted 38 years. Jenkins began his political career as a member of the House in 1994 and elected to the Senate in 2002. Even though he defeated a long time member of Congress, in his victory speech Jenkins says he appreciates what Rahall did for the state.

Love Krittaya, Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia is one of 10 states selected to launch a federal pilot program to keep more at-risk teenagers at home, reducing the number of children receiving services in out-of-home care facilities.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Children and Families will launch the Safe at Home West Virginia program.

The effort will provide wrap-around services and counseling to children and families around the state. The aim is the prevention of child abuse, neglect and the re-entry of children into foster care.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

West Virginia has received two national honors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for its efforts to control vaccine-preventable diseases.

The CDC ranks West Virginia among the top three states in the country for having the highest number of adults immunized against the flu. 

Approximately 52% of adults in West Virginia got a flu shot in the 2013-2014 season, compared to 42% nationally.

West Virginia was also cited for being among the top five states for most improved immunization coverage of adolescents, ages 13-17.

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Department of Health and Human Resources officials filed an order Wednesday requiring health care providers to report all cases that may be linked to a mysterious neurologic illness that has been seen in children in Colorado.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is making the request nationwide.

The CDC is investigating the illness of a cluster of nine pediatric patients in Colorado, all hospitalized with acute neurologic illness with limb weakness of undetermined origin that might be linked to the enterovirus D68. 

Prison Bars
Schavda / wikimedia Commons

Inmates at Mount Olive Correctional Complex can now pursue a four-year college degree that officials believe will reduce violence inside and outside of prison.

According to WV Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein, the new Moral Rehabilitation program that launched this week will change prison culture, save lives, reduce victims, reduce violence, and save money.

In a release the commissioner said the program will operate as an extension campus of Appalachian Bible College, an accredited Raleigh County institution.