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.


4:43 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Rockefeller Receives Award From Japan

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, recipient of national award from Japan.
Credit Politico

Sen. Jay Rockefeller say's he's deeply honored to receive the prestigious Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun from the Japanese government.  The award recognizes Rockefeller’s work to strengthen the economic and cultural relationship between the two countries.

In a news release the senator says the people of Japan have shaped his life and the lives of thousands of West Virginians.

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McDowell Revitalization
1:43 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Reconnecting McDowell helps bring new housing to Welch

Housing in demand throughout McDowell County.
Credit Suzanne Higgins / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

New housing is in the works for McDowell County, thanks to Reconnecting McDowell, a group working on improving schools, growing the economy and addressing the needs of local families.

The 2-year old public-private partnership has just hired an architecture firm to design housing in Welch.

The lack of housing has for years been cited as a major reason why recruiting teachers is an ongoing problem for the McDowell school system.

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3:14 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

School grades improving but still lagging behind

National report card shows improvements, but students still behind.
Credit Cecelia Mason

The 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress report shows 35 percent of West Virginia's fourth graders scored at or above the proficient level in math.

While that's up from a score of 31 percent in 2011, it's still below the national average. Nationwide, 42 percent of fourth graders are meeting or exceeding proficiency.

At the same time West Virginia’s eight graders show similar improvements and have similar disparities in scores.

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3:45 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

If you’re not wired yet, you may be soon

Sen. Jay Rockefeller is honorary chair of the Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation.
Credit Politico

West Virginia Internet providers say they're working hard to reach the nine percent of people who lack broadband access, but hurdles remain.

The internet providers spoke Monday at the third Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation Broadband Summit in Morgantown.

The Foundation was formed by Sen. Jay Rockefeller who noted when the last broadband summit was held four years ago, less than 72 percent of West Virginians had access to broadband. Today, 91 percent have access.

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Inspiring West Virginians Season 4
3:50 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Inspiring West Virginians: Season 4 featuring John Nash

John Forbes Nash, Jr, a 1994 winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. Nash grew up in Bluefield, West Virginia

The fourth series of Inspiring West Virginians  features one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century, John Forbes Nash, Jr, a 1994 winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. Nash grew up in Bluefield, West Virginia, and the town still holds an importance for him. Now 84, John Nash is currently a Senior Research Mathematician at Princeton University in New Jersey. 


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Inspiring West Virginians Season 4
4:39 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Beckley Native a Bio Engineer and Inspiring West Virginian

Beckley native Linda Powers in her bio-engineering lab.
Credit Jean Snedegar

Bio-safety-level-2 laboratories in the Bio5 Building at the University of Arizona Medical School is where Linda Powers has designed and built several impressive and important scientific instruments.

“Here we handle microbes that can make you sick, but generally not kill you,” said Powers on a recent tour.

But the 64-year-old Beckley native, now the Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Professor of Bio-Engineering at the University of Arizona, does handle microbes that can kill you.

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Inspiring West Virginians Season 4
11:09 am
Wed September 25, 2013

He’s Keeping the Wild in West Virginia

Rodney Bartgis, West Virginia Nature Conservancy
Credit Jean Snedegar

Fifty-four-year-old Rodney Bartgis, state director of the West Virginia Nature Conservancy, stood atop Cave Mountain in Pendleton County, an elevation of 2,777 feet.

“It almost looks like the Rocky Mountains,” said Bartgis. “This is the biggest uplift of limestone in the eastern mountains of the United States, and a lot of the rare plants and animals in this canyon are associated with this limestone,” he said. 

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3:37 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

West Virginia 150: Commemorating Statehood

The West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston on the state's 150th birthday.
Beth Vorhees WV Public Radio

June 20, 2013 · West Virginia is the only state in the Union that was created as a direct result of the Civil War. When war broke out in 1861 and Virginia seceded from the Union, some living in that state’s western regions saw it as an opportunity to break away and create a new state.


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Inspiring West Virginians Season 4
1:19 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

She’s Small Business Person of the Year – and an Inspiring West Virginian

Diane Lewis
Credit Jean Snedegar

Action Facilities Management – or AFM – overlooks I-79 near Morgantown and employs more than 300 people in nine states. 

“In Fairmont we work for the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation and we do the security, maintenance and janitorial for all these facilities here,” said founder, president and CEO Diane Lewis. “It’s one of our commercial clients.”   

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Inspiring West Virginians Season 4
10:26 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Still a Beautiful Mind – and an Inspiring West Virginian

John Nash, Jr. is a native of Bluefield and a mathematics genius. His life was detailed in the Ron Howard film 'A Beautiful Mind'.
Credit Jean Snedegar

The 9th floor of Fine Hall, the math building at Princeton University, is a place some people call the mathematical center of the universe. 

Here you’ll find the office of 84-year-old John Forbes Nash, Jr., one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century. 

One whole bookshelf in Nash’s office is lined with photos of his hometown, Bluefield, West Virginia. Nash left the state more than 60 years ago, but clearly it’s still important to him.

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Story of the Jews
1:06 pm
Sat November 4, 2006

Coalfield Jews Forged Niche as Retailers, Jewish Communities Flourished

Deborah R. Weiner's Coalfield Jews: An Appalachian History.
Credit Suzanne Higgins

Between the 1880’s and 1920’s there was an intersection of two historical phenomena in Appalachia. The railroads opened the region for the large scale extraction of coal and Jews from Eastern Europe came to the United States seeking opportunity.

In her book “Coalfield Jews: An Appalachian History,” Deborah Weiner writes “…their story is treated here as Jewish History and as Appalachian history, in equal measure.  The linkages that emerge between these two seemingly unrelated fields help to illuminate both.”

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