Leighton Rowell

On Second Thought Producer

Leighton Rowell is a producer for On Second Thought.

Prior to joining GPB, Leighton lived in Brazil, teaching English through a Fulbright Award and eating far too much pão de queijo.

Leighton's previous reporting has appeared on TIME.com, The Trace and in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; she also interned for NBC Sports during the Rio 2016 Olympics. For her work on investigations at the AJC and WSB-TV, Leighton was honored with two Larry Peterson Memorial Awards in 2016.

An Atlanta native, Leighton attended the University of Georgia, where she was a Foundation Fellow and managing editor of The Red & Black student newspaper. She also began her public radio career in Athens as an intern for WUGA's classical music program Afternoon Concert.

Leighton graduated from UGA summa cum laude with bachelor's degrees in history and Romance languages. She speaks Portuguese and French. 

Investigative Reporters and Editors

The city of Atlanta has received many honors over the years. In 1996, we were awarded the Summer Olympics. Next year, we'll host the Super Bowl. And this past weekend, Atlanta received the Golden Padlock Award. Given each year by a committee of investigative reporters and editors, that dubious distinction is awarded every year to the most secretive government agency or official.


GPB

The history of Juneteenth goes like this: President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. But two years later, on June 19, 1865, slaves in Texas finally got the news that they were free. Now Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. However, many people have never heard of the holiday or even celebrate it. Historian and storyteller Lillian Grant Baptiste joined us from Savannah to give the history of Juneteenth and why people should celebrate the holiday.


GPB

The United Methodist Children’s Home reports there are more than 15,000 children in Georgia's foster care system — and that number is growing. But because of the increased need, UMCH has to say turn away children in need at least 40 times a week, so it reached out to churches for help. That's how Brett Hillesheim started fostering children. Hillesheim has fostered 18 kids within the past few years, and he now works with UMCH. 


Leighton Rowell / GPB

Celebrated the month after Mother's Day, Father's Day can sometimes seem like an afterthought — or perhaps even a dad joke, if you will. But according to the Pew Research Center, dads are just as likely as moms to see parenting as central to their identity. So how do we change the way some people see fathers as playing second fiddle to mothers, or the vice presidents of the family? We asked three dads and On Second Thought regulars: Tony Harris, Adam Ragusea and Hector Fernandez

 


Leighton Rowell / GPB

Father's Day is this Sunday, so we handed the mic over to a dad whom we at On Second Thought know well: "Breakroom" regular Christian Zsilavetz. Zsilavetz, a queer-identified transman who co-founded Pride School Atlanta, has two daughters: Zoe and Emmalee. He and Zoe, who is exactly nine and a half years old, stopped by the studio to record a special father-daughter interview.

 


GPB

Flannery O’Connor is regarded by many as Georgia’s greatest fiction writer. Her books are written with dark humor, eccentric characters, and it’s all set in a devout Catholic faith. All of which made her a leading voice in southern gothic literature.

 

 


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The U.S. didn’t make the cut for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but Americans will still be represented when competition kicks off today in Russia — by a group of student journalists from Kennesaw State University. They’re in Moscow to report, podcast and live tweet the global spectacle, and yes, this plum assignment actually counts for college credit.

 

 

 

 


GPB

According the United States Census Bureau, there are nearly 50,000 homeless veterans in America. In order to combat these issues with housing, popular TV shows like “Tiny House Hunters”are looking to create tiny homes as a solution.

  

The Chatham Savannah Authority for Homeless has organized the “Tiny Home Project” in order to fight this growing problem.

 


GPB

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta says suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and according to a new report, the number of people who take their own lives has risen substantially since 1999. Per the report, nearly 45,000 Americans age 10 or older took their own lives in 2016. Georgia alone saw a 16 percent increase in suicides from 1999-2016. Emory University professor Nadine Kaslow and Doreen Marshall of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention say more needs to be done to prevent these tragedies.


Screenshot by GPB / nytimes.com

When fashion designer Kate Spade died last week of an apparent suicide, there was an outpouring of grief, from Twitter to the front page of the New York Times. "Buying a Kate Spade handbag was a coming-of-age ritual for a generation of American women," declared the Times.


GPB

Every month approximately 374 girls are sexually exploited in Georgia. On average, they are 12-14 years old. Last month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Atlanta office collaborated with nearly 40 local law enforcement agencies to rescue 148 missing children who had become victims of human trafficking. Some were as young as three years old.To learn more about Operation Safe Summer, we spoke with FBI agent Nathan Whiteman, who spearheaded the operation.


GPB

Thirty-seven million Americans live in poverty today. According to the National Women's Law Center, more than half of them are women. Race, health and gender discrimination contribute to this disparity, but to learn about the economic history that led us to where we are today, we spoke with Diana Pearce and George Robb.


Ilmicrofono Oggiono / Flickr

In the majority of Georgia families, mothers are the sole, primary or co-breadwinners, according to the Center for American Progress. But that doesn't mean they have the wages to adequately support themselves and their loved ones — particularly when it comes to minimum wage workers in Georgia, of whom 6 in 10 are women. And beyond the wage and wealth gap, women lack access to other things that Shilpa Phadke says are critical for their economic security: affordable child care, harassment-free work environments and quality health care. 


GPB

Jason Reynolds didn't get through a whole book until he was 17. He's now a bestselling author, and he's trying to change the way young people feel about reading. Inspired by hip-hop, Reynolds now writes books to get young people to excited about reading. He has various awards to his name, including an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for Youth/Teen and a National Book Award finalist designation for his book "Ghost."

Courtesy Penguin Random House

Lauren Groff never thought she would become a Floridian, but then again she also never anticipated that her novel "Fates and Furies" would become President Obama's favorite book of the year in 2015. The bestselling author moved to Gainesville in 2006 for her husband's business. Twelve years later, she's written a collection of short stories set in the state where she says she now realizes she belongs. It's called "Florida." 


GPB

The Georgia 2018 legislative session recently legalized the use of cannabis oil for treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD affects about 31 million people in the United States. The disorder is often associated with veterans, but another group of heroes — first responders — also struggle with the disorder. According to one survey, one in 15 paramedics and EMTs has attempted suicide. Heather Harp, a paramedic in Atlanta, says she and her colleagues need more support in their battle against PTSD. 

GPB

Graduation Achievement Charter High School was founded in 2012 to help at-risk students earn their diplomas. But after six years of poor performance, Georgia’s first virtual charter high school — and only “alternative”  school within the state charter system — is shutting down. The last senior class graduates later this month. To learn more about the future of virtual and alternative charter schools in Georgia, we spoke with Atlanta Journal-Constitution education reporter Vanessa McCray.

Still from GACHS advertisement on YouTube

Graduation Achievement Charter High School was founded in 2012 to help at-risk students earn their diplomas. But after six years of poor performance, Georgia’s first virtual charter high school — and only “alternative”  school within the state charter system — is shutting down. The last senior class graduates later this month.

GPB

The 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education made segregation of America’s public schools illegal. But decades before Thurgood Marshall argued for Linda Brown's right to attend the all-white school closest to her house in Topeka, Kansas, lawsuits brought by little girls and young women chipped away at the foundations of segregated education. New research finds their grassroots efforts paved the way for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's (NAACP) legal battle to integrate schools nationally.


Image from the website of the Norman Rockwell Museum

The 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education made segregation of America’s public schools illegal. But decades before Thurgood Marshall argued for Linda Brown's right to attend the all-white school closest to her house in Topeka, Kansas, lawsuits brought by little girls and young women chipped away at the foundations of segregated education. New research finds their grassroots efforts paved the way for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's (NAACP) legal battle to integrate schools nationally. 

 


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