Sean Powers

Producer/Reporter - On Second Thought

Sean Powers is a producer and reporter for "On Second Thought.” Powers is a native of the south suburbs of Chicago, and he graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Missouri.  In 2012, he completed a fellowship at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He moved to Atlanta after working as a reporter for the public radio station in Urbana, Ill. His reporting has earned him about a dozen Associated Press awards, two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, five national PRNDI awards, and recognition from the Atlanta Press Club. After a long week of public radio, Powers enjoys live jazz and soul food. He also mentors teenage journalists who report for VOX Teen Communications, a magazine in Atlanta.

Ways to Connect

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

Hundreds of refugees from Syria now call Georgia home. We hear from two of them, who have become good friends. One of them is a man who arrived in Georgia right after 9/11, but before the Syrian civil war. The other is a young child, who came to the state last year. Besides calling Syria their birthplace, they share an even greater bond.


Hector Alejandro / flickr

A federal appeals court upheld a stay on President Trump’s executive order that temporarily bans travel to the United States for refugees and people from seven countries. But that doesn't mean the travel ban is dead. The president may take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

slgckgc / flickr

A recent report from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau shows Georgia leads most states in harassment by debt collectors. Often these are for debts people already paid, or don’t even owe. Beth Kobliner is on a mission to make sure you and your kids don’t fall prey to one of these collectors.

Eric Gay / The Associated Press

Abortion rights groups are keeping a close eye on Washington as President Trump vows to see the landmark Roe v. Wade decision overturned. Last week, he announced his choice to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Atlanta Falcons

On Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons meet the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. It will wind up as the Falcons first Super Bowl win, or the Patriots’ fifth. GPB Senior Sports correspondent Jon Nelson joined us for a preview.

University of Georgia

In a world of screens, some teachers are putting their foot down with technology in the classroom. And research suggests there may be good reason behind that decision. A recent study from MIT found college students do better on exams when they’re not allowed access to computers.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

President Trump’s executive orders concerning immigrants and refugees have upset a lot of people across the country. The town of Clarkston, Georgia is home to a large refugee population. It’s been called the Ellis Island of the South. On Tuesday night, the city held a special meeting to discuss President Trump’s executive actions. We talk with Clarkston mayor Ted Terry about how the president’s orders may impact his refugee community.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

Over the weekend, federal immigration officials detained and later released 11 lawful permanent residents at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. They were returning from a trip to Iran, one of seven predominantly Muslim countries where there is now a three month ban on travel to the United States. That’s the result of an executive order signed by President Trump. We talked with Atlanta immigration attorney Sarah Owings about the impact of the order on Georgia.

The DePaulia / flickr

A class at Armstrong State University in Savannah teaches students about the music of OutKast. As part of our Lessons from Left Field series, we talk with professor Regina Bradley and two of her students: Anthony Scott and Gabby Nichols.


Thousands Protest Immigration Ban At Atlanta Airport

Jan 30, 2017
Sean Powers / On Second Thought

Eleven people detained over the weekend after flying from Iran to Atlanta are now free. But tensions still run high over President Trump’s executive order, which temporarily bans travel from several predominantly Muslim countries. As GPB’s Sean Powers reports Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport was the scene of a major protest on Sunday.

Beating drums and chanting "Love trumps hate!" thousands of peaceful demonstrators gathered at the Atlanta airport to join protesters across the country in opposing President Donald Trump's travel ban.

Keenan Jones / On Second Thought

The Breakroom gang joins host Celeste Headlee to weigh in on the week's news. The panel includes Georgia State University professor Eric Segall, writer and blogger Jessica SzilagyiNatalie Pawelski of Cater Communications, and Emory University professor Falguni Sheth.



Last month, the A&E Network canceled a documentary series about the Ku Klux Klan. The series, which featured Klan members in North Georgia, was scrapped because some of the people interviewed were paid to appear in it.

The Associated Press

Georgia led the nation last year in death row executions. Nine men were put to death by lethal injection in 2016. That’s more executions than any other year since capital punishment was reinstated nationwide 40 years ago.

Evan Vucci / The Associated Press

A high priority for President Donald Trump is getting his cabinet nominees approved by the U.S. Senate. Late last week, he named his one remaining choice: former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue as secretary of agriculture.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

It’s unclear how many protesters we’ll see at Donald Trump's inauguration. Some estimates say as many as 200,000 will attend the Women’s March on Saturday, and it’s just one of several planned protest events. Others are choosing not to attend the inauguration as a form of silent protest. More than 40 theatre companies, including three in Atlanta, are hosting readings of a play by Atlanta-native Lauren Gunderson.

Carolyn Kaster / The Associated Press

People from all over the world are in Washington DC on Friday to catch a glimpse of history. One of them is Greg Williams, a conservative radio talk show host based in Decatur, Georgia. Williams tells us this is the first presidential inauguration he’ll see up close. 


Also attending the inauguration are a number of Georgia students, including 50 middle schoolers in the Whitfield County School District. We check in with a couple of those students as they prepare for a moment they’ll never forget. 

A Look Back At Jimmy Carter's Inauguration

Jan 20, 2017
The Associated Press

On Jan. 20, 1977, Jimmy Carter was sworn in as the nation's 39th president. Following the ceremony and his Inaugural Address, President Carter and his wife Rosalynn did something no other president had done before. They walked down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. A.D. Frazier was watching from behind the scenes. He managed Jimmy Carter’s inauguration, and talked with us about the prep work leading up to the event.


History Of Presidential Inaugurations

Jan 20, 2017

Donald Trump makes history on Friday by becoming the 45th president of the United States. What follows is a weekend of inauguration pageantry, a parade, several inaugural balls -- even fireworks.The presidential inauguration has a rich history dating back to George Washington. For more on that legacy, we turned to historian Kenneth C.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

The U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade 44 years ago this month. At the same time, it also ruled on a companion case from Georgia called Doe v. Bolton. This case was another challenge to states' abortion restrictions.

Before The Legal Fight For Abortion

Jan 18, 2017
The Associated Press

Nearly 44 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized getting an abortion with its Roe v. Wade decision. The battle over abortion rights goes back a long way in the United States, long before the landmark decision in 1973. There was a time in the 19th century when abortions during early pregnancy were legal according to common law. But by 1880, most states had passed anti-abortion laws.

The Debate Over Abortion Rights

Jan 18, 2017
American Life League / flickr

The debate over a woman’s right to an abortion is one issue that’s expected to take center stage with the incoming Trump administration. Donald Trump has picked Georgia Congressman Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Price has long opposed abortion rights. For more on that side of the debate, we talk with two abortion critics: Emily Matson of Georgia Life Alliance and Ricardo Davis of Georgia Right to Life.

Furious Flower / flickr

Nikki Giovanni is one of the most celebrated poets of her generation. Her unique style weaves together strong ties to family, experiences as an African American woman growing up in the South, and her pride as an activist. We asked her about whether she considers herself a good poet, and how she feels America needs to come together amid so many divisions.


Sean Powers / On Second Thought

A favorite pastime for many people is playing with model trains. It can be exciting to watch them whiz by on tiny tracks. Recently, model train enthusiasts of all stripes came to Atlanta for a the World's Greatest Hobby on Tour, a show promoting model railroading across all gauges for all ages. GPB’s Sean Powers stopped by and sent us this audio postcard.

A problem with some fantasy fiction narratives is the misogynistic treatment of female characters. The sci-fi world may still be very much dominated by men behind the scenes, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been female trailblazers. A new book explores some of those unsung heroines.

Sean MacEntee / flickr

A new report slots Georgia third in the nation for credit card debt. The website figured the average credit card debt and median income in each state, and in this case, being high on the list is bad news. We talked more about this with Atlanta financial advisor Cecily Welch.

Stefano Brega / flickr

Pigs are a huge part of Georgia’s economy. They can also cause a lot of problems. A University of Georgia report last year says feral swine caused nearly $99 million in crop damage and $51 million in non-crop damage in 2014. But that doesn’t mean we should hate these animals.

Keenan Jones / On Second Thought

The Breakroom gang joins host Celeste Headlee to weigh in on the week's news. The panel includes former NPR correspondent Kathy Lohr, Georgia State University professor Hector Fernandez, Soumaya Khalifa ​of the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta, and Natalie Pawelski of of Cater Communications.


Sean Powers / On Second Thought

Atlanta teenager Nzinga Braswell, 17, traveled to Ghana in 2015 and documented her journey on film. The result was “A Queen’s Discovery,” which was recently honored by a PBS film festival. The film compares Nzinga's Black American experience with what she saw in Africa. We talked about the documentary with her and her father Kenneth, who is the director of President Obama’s Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse.


Georgia Institute of Technology

The first living organisms on Earth were probably single-celled organisms similar to bacteria. It took eons for those tiny forms to evolve into humans. But how did they begin? Georgia Tech researcher Nick Hud is working to answer that question. We talked with him about his work to discover the root of life on Earth.



Wikimedia Commons

​In​ ​November,​ ​voters​ ​approved​ ​the creation​ ​of​ ​two​ ​new​ ​cities​ ​-​ ​South​ ​Fulton​ ​in​ ​Fulton ​County​ ​and​ ​Stonecrest in​ ​DeKalb​ ​County.​ ​New​ ​commissions​ ​appointed​ ​by​ ​the​ ​governor​ ​are working​ ​to​ ​help​ ​each​ ​community​ ​operate.​ ​We talked more abou