Robbie Harris

WVTF/RADIO IQ New River Valley Bureau Chief

Robbie Harris is based in Blacksburg,  covering the New River Valley and southwestern Virginia. 

The former news director of  WBEZ/ Chicago Public Radio and WHYY in Philadelphia, she led award-winning news teams and creative projects.  Early in her career, she was the Humanities Reporter at New Hampshire Public Radio, and also served as a tape editor on Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

Robbie worked at New Jersey Public Television and WCAU/CBS TV in Philadelphia while she pursued  her Master's Degree at the University of Pennsylvania.  During college, she was a Page at Saturday Night Live in New York and a reporter and program host for Cross Country Cable Television in Somerville, NJ.  Robbie also worked at the Rutgers College Radio Station, WRSU and was part of the team which founded "Knight Time Television" at the university.

Pages

Virginia Tech Research
3:52 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Changing Mosquito Gender

Undergraduate students Jessica Overcash and Mallory Brangan
Credit Virginia Tech

Scientists at Virginia Tech are one step closer to controlling a species of mosquito that carries deadly disease. It’s not a pesticide or repellant, it’s a gene that can literally change the gender of a mosquito from potentially deadly females to harmless males.

Sex matters in mosquitos, because it is females only which bite to nourish their young. That’s how they can spread disease.  Bio Chemistry Professor Jake Tu is part of the team that discovered the elusive gene called NIX, which can change female mosquitos and their offspring into males. 

Read more
Thriving Forests
3:45 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Garlic Mustard Pesto: Recipe For Defeating Invasive Species?

You’ve probably seen it in your garden, along roadways, just about everywhere: Garlic Mustard.  It’s an invasive plant that stealthily out-competes native species, threatening the diversity of forests in many parts of the country. But what if there were a recipe to change that?

They don’t call it garlic mustard for nothing. Rachel Collins is Associate Professor of Biology at Roanoke College. 

“The chemical that it’s making that smells like garlic is one of these herbivore defense chemicals like basil and all the other yummy flavors in bail and mint.”

Read more
Community Service & Volunteerism
4:00 am
Mon May 18, 2015

Give a Crop - or Chop - to those in Need

Plenty! in Floyd.

Food banks are a lifesaver, but they don’t always make for the healthiest of diets.  A volunteer organization in Floyd County is moving to bring more fresh vegetables and healthy proteins to the table. 

The food bank and farm known as PLENTY in Floyd County, is constantly coming up with ways to provide that missing link.  Connecting people who have surplus food with others who don’t have enough. 

Read more
Political Literature
10:49 am
Fri May 15, 2015

Former Journalist Brings Political Reality to New Fictional Novel

When it comes to writing about controversial current events, sometimes fiction can go where journalism cannot.  A novel by a former journalist examines political corruption and the misdeeds of the powerful.  And while it may be a work of fiction, its author says it’s based on real events, people and places. 

“I had to change a lot of names, so I had that liberty to flesh things out, to make them larger than life and, of course, to make them dramatic.”

Read more
Part 2 of 2
4:00 am
Wed May 6, 2015

VT Student Researcher Tackles Modern Bathroom Design

Credit http://vtalxndria.houzz.com/projects/1020048/Bathroom-Design-for-the-21st-Century-User

This next story, part 2 of our look at the work of undergraduate researchers, reminds us that the process of finding things out, is not always something you want to discuss in polite company. 

But before you accuse us of having a ‘potty mouth’ listen to how this Virginia Tech design major, got the idea for creating greener cleaner bathrooms. 

Alexandria Hubbard is a junior in the residential and environmental design program. Last year she did a semester abroad that took her to Morocco.

Read more

Pages