Rachel Keith

News Graduate Fellow

Rachel is a first-year graduate student enrolled in University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Master of Public Administration program with a concentration in Public Policy Analysis. She attended N.C. State University both as a graduate and undergraduate student earning a Master of Education and two Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and French Language and Literature. She enjoys spending her time with her husband and two-year-old twins, and in her spare time, works for Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue and surfs.

Ways to Connect

U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Elliott Sprehe

The debate on firearms continues at the local, state, and national levels. As informed citizens, we look for debates based on logic and reason; but with more polarizing issues, it’s worth taking a look at the personal experiences that influence perceptions and resulting policy positions.   

NC Courts

Research shows that minority students are more likely to face disciplinary action in school than white students.  When students face more detentions, suspensions, and expulsions from school than their white counterparts, we also see more children of color in juvenile and criminal courts.  That phenomenon is often called the school-to-prison pipeline. 

Mitch Barrie from Reno, NV, USA / Wikimedia Commons

A 19-year-old gunman killed 17 people with an AR-15 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida about three weeks ago. 

Max Pixel

The kind of energy that human beings use to power their lives is shifting around the globe.  Renewable sources of energy are on the rise; the International Energy Agency expects renewable electricity generation to increase by more than a third over the next four years.  That’s according to CNBC. 

In the last 12 years, Charlotte-based Duke Energy has invested about six billion dollars in wind and solar energy, said company spokesman Randy Wheeless.  He identified North Carolina as second in the nation for solar energy. 

Samuel King, Jr. / U.S. Air Force

Active shooter situations are, by nature, unpredictable and evolve quickly. That’s the first observation officials with The Department of Homeland Security make before offering what tools and resources they have.  In many cases, DHS officials say, there is no pattern or method to the selection of victims by an active shooter.

The Carousel Center

North Carolina’s latest child health report card, just out this week, gives the state an ‘F’ in “Housing and Economic Security” due to the high percentage of children living in low-income homes and neighborhoods. Children from families that are not financially secure, according to NC Child, fare worse in almost every indicator of health, including birth outcomes, access to care, health-risk behaviors, and mortality.

John N. Smith Cemetery Restoration and Preservation, Inc.

Archaeologists have determined that 900 graves lie unmarked at the John N. Smith Cemetery in Southport.  This African American Cemetery, located on Leonard Street in the heart of Southport, has stories both known and many that are yet to be uncovered.  The oldest headstone, with a date of death in 1874, belongs to John N. Smith himself.  

St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office

Seventy-seven people killed their intimate partner in North Carolina last year.   62% of those people used a firearm.  That’s according to the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a  statewide nonprofit organization.

Wikimedia Commons

This year’s flu is the worst in nearly a decade.  So far this season, 63 elderly people have died in North Carolina alone from the flu.  25 people between the ages 50 to 64 have passed from the flu -- and four deaths fall into that low-risk category of people ages 25 to 49.  The total death toll in North Carolina from flu this season:  95.

Robert Parr

NASA ranks 2017 as the second hottest year on record behind 2016. The National Climate Assessment, a report published by the federal government in November of last year, states unequivocally that humans are causing climate change and the time to act is now. While there are no policy recommendations in this federal report, many state and municipal governments are taking their own steps to curb the impacts of climate change.

Good Shepherd Center

A third of the population in New Hanover County pays more than they can afford for housing.  That’s true for both homeowners and renters, but in the rental market, it’s worse.  Nearly half -- about 46% of people who rent in New Hanover County pay more than a third of their income for housing.  Some community leaders call that a clear sign of a shortage of affordable housing. 

Gentrification is a loaded word.  It typically connotes a rise in property values in a traditionally low-income neigborhood.  Wealthier people move in.  Those who’ve lived there and are already struggling to pay bills from month to month can no longer afford to live there due to rising rents and property taxes. 

North Carolina General Assembly

The way judges wind up on the bench in North Carolina is changing this year.  For one thing, elections will be partisan thanks to the passage of House Bill 100 last March.  Governor Roy Cooper vetoed that bill, and the legislature easily overrode the veto the next day.  Supporters contend partisan races give voters more information; opponents say they further politicize the court.  

Villalobos, Horacio, Photographer / National Archives and Records Administration

Men are taking on more responsibility in the household today than they did a generation ago.  But according to the Pew Research Center, women are still doing the majority of the domestic work.  That’s true across the spectrum – including couples in which both people work full-time outside the home.  So what does this mean for a career professional who is female? 

Wikimedia Commons


December 21st marks the first official day of winter – and the winter solstice – the longest night of the year.  According to Rick Kline of the Spacecraft Planetary Imaging Facility at Cornell University, solstices and equinoxes denote either the beginnings of the seasons or the center points of them.  Kline tells USA Today that Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other holidays have arisen out of just these markings.


It’s a romp across the holiday table today – whether you’re one of those people who dreads the days-on-end slog in the kitchen as relatives eat you out of house and home or if you love the chance to throw dietary concerns aside and let your creativity fly, we’re going to have some ideas for you. 

North Carolina Department of Transportation / Wikimedia Commons

The National Flood Insurance Program is set to expire on December 8th.   The U.S. House of Representatives voted in November to reauthorize the NFIP until 2022.  Now, the Senate must decide whether and how to move forward with the program.  Congressman David Rouzer, a Republican from North Carolina’s seventh district, voted in support of the 21st Century Flood Reform Act.  Fellow Republican Walter Jones, from the neighboring 3rd district, voted against it – along with a majority of Democrats.