Rachel Otwell

Rachel focuses on the arts, community, and diverse culture. She's a 2012 graduate of the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois Springfield. While working toward that degree she spent a semester covering the state legislature for WUIS and Illinois Public Radio. Rachel also holds degrees from UIS in Liberal & Integrative Studies, Women & Gender Studies, and African-American Studies. She's tutored Rwandan refugees in Ohio, volunteered at a Kenyan orphanage,  served as an activities assistant at a nursing home, and volunteered at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand.

Rachel started a career in public media in 2011 when she interned for the National Public Radio program Tell Me More with Michel Martin in Washington, DC. Her reports have also appeared on NPR's Weekend Edition, NPR's All Things Considered, NPR's Morning Edition, and WorkingNow.org. 


State News
4:36 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

New exhibits at the Abraham Lincoln Presidental Library

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield will host new exhibits, features, and events this coming year. The facility's 10th anniversary will coincide with the 150th observance of Lincoln's assassination. 

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State News
5:12 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Transforming A Personal History Of Racism

Jim and Debbie Pauley at their home
Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 1:45 am

The holidays can bring out the compassionate side of people. Some might be inspired to donate to charities or take on volunteer work. For one local man, helping the less fortunate is something he does on a daily basis. But it wasn't always that way.

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State News
1:03 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Report Looks At LGBT Equality In Cities

Graphic of cities considered for the MEI

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 1:44 am

Same sex marriage took effect in Illinois earlier this year, and while our state has joined the ranks of others that offer an increased amount of rights and protections to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, cities differ in laws and policies that promote equality. A report that was released a few weeks ago looked at cities from around the country - seven of which are in Illinois.

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State News
3:04 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

A discussion about Illinois budget problems

It's veto session this week at the statehouse and talks of the state's budget problems aren't going away any time soon. 

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NPR Story
7:35 am
Sun November 16, 2014

Africans In Central Illinois Host Cultural Event To Combat Ebola

Braimah Kanu & Munah Jallah

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 11:16 am

The group "Africans in Central Illinois" and  Grace United Methodist Church  are hosting an event on Saturday night at 5 at Southeast High School. It will raise funds for Doctors Without Borders  in the fight against Ebola and include dance, a fashion show, music, and a silent auction. We spoke with Munah Jallah and Braimah Kanu about it:

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State News
4:32 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

PechaKucha - From Tokyo To Illinois

A crowd assembles for PechaKucha at the Hoogland in Springfield

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 10:15 am

For some people, paying to watch one Power Point presentation after another might sound insane. But with interesting topics covered at a brisk pace, plenty of refreshments and a snazzy name - such events are becoming popular around the globe.

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State News
11:46 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Wild Bison Return To IL

Ferran Salat Coll/TNC

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 11:15 am

It’s been a long time since you could say there were bison roaming the prairie in Illinois. The last ones were thought to have died off here or moved to other places in the 1800s. And while bison have still been raised here on farms, there haven’t been efforts for bison conservation in the state. That is, until now.

Cody Considine is an ecologist for the The Nature Conservancy at the Nachusa Grasslands. He joined us for this interview:

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State News
6:43 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Jimmy Carter Brings Human Rights Mission To Jacksonville

Jimmy Carter at Illinois College

Originally published on Wed October 15, 2014 10:56 am

Former president Jimmy Carter made a stop in Jacksonville Tuesday and spoke to over 2,000 people about his quest for peace and human rights. He spoke in a crowded gymnasium at Illinois College. 

His appearance coincided with the school's new initiative called 'Pathways to Peace' in which students and faculty will study the Middle East, and have participants travel to Dubai and the West Bank.

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State News
12:54 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Fracking Study Shows Consequences Are Uncertain

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 11:07 am

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly called "fracking" - is an extraction method of natural gas that has many environmentalists concerned. It also has energy business booming in towns across the nation, and those towns will soon include ones in southern Illinois.


But in states where fracking is already underway, some say public health is at risk and pollution is happening. A recent study in Texas has looked at the liquid byproduct left over from fracking - and how it could be safely handled. Jamey Dunn joins us to talk about her recent column on the topic:

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State News
5:15 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

UIS gets nursing program

A new four-year nursing program is coming to the University of Illinois Springfield.  It will be the first medical major the campus is offering. 

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