Robin Sussingham

Reporter/Host

Robin Sussingham is a reporter/producer and host at WUSF Public Broadcasting.  A native of Lakeland, she frequently reports on events and issues in Polk County.

She came to WUSF from public radio stations KUER and KCPW in Utah, has contributed stories to NPR and Marketplace, and has an extensive background in newspapers, magazines and online reporting. 

Robin majored in chemistry at Duke, and went to NYU for a Masters Degree in Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting. She's reported on everything from the Olympics to the oil spill, but will jump at a chance to talk about food or books.

Ways to Connect

Daylina Miller/WUSF

A massive fish kill in the Indian River Lagoon in spring has been linked to fertilizer use, and with growing concerns about pesticides and where food comes from, more people are growing their own produce right in their own yard. 

Crisis Center of Tampa Bay

Last weekend's nightclub massacre in Orlando will, no doubt, leave an indelible mark on the families, friends, and survivors.  Scenes of carnage and terror often leave people traumatized.  

There are those who are specially trained to help treat the psychological wounds of such events.  

The shooter in the Orlando mass murder was Omar Mateen, a US citizen who said he was a practicing Muslim. He professed his allegiance to ISIS during his attack on the gay nightclub.

In this Florida Matters preview, Retired Army Colonel Derek Harvey, a senior fellow at USF's Global Initiative for Civil Society and Conflict, and Dave Couvertier, who recently retired from the FBI with 33 years in law enforcement including experience with SWAT, hostage negotiations and as an agency spokesman, speak with Robin Sussingham of WUSF's Florida Matters. Harvey and Courvertier discuss extremist Muslim groups, and the way  the Internet is one big way they spread their message.
 

Robin Sussingham

You hear a lot of bad news about Florida's agriculture industry. Competition from foreign markets, labor shortages, insects, the loss of farmland to development. And most seriously, the disease of citrus greening, which has devastated Florida's signature crop.

But surprisingly, young people aren't shying away from agriculture education in their schools. In fact, participation is at record highs.

Laura Reiley / Tampa Bay Times

"Locally-grown," "farm-to-table," and "pasture-raised" are the new buzzwords in the food culture, and restaurants are rushing to meet the demand. But one reporter says that at many Tampa Bay area restaurants we're being -- as she writes -- "fed fiction." When she investigated, she found that even farmer's markets are mainly absent of local farmers. Florida Matters' Robin Sussingham sat down with food critic Laura Reiley of the Tampa Bay Times to talk about her recent exposé, "Farm to Fable."

Jayne Chapman

 Two years ago the Florida High School Athletic Association, or FHSAA, passed a wildly unpopular mandate, requiring girls lacrosse players to wear head gear. The organization said it was responding to concussion risks -- but critics say policy and public perception of risk are getting ahead of the actual data.

Within the massive education bill awaiting Gov. Rick Scott's signature is a provision that says that parents will be able to enroll their child in any school they choose, as long as there's space available.

If there's room on the roster, those students also can immediately start playing a sanctioned sport.

Courtesy of Catherine Eskin

WUSF’s Robin Sussingham recently hosted “Our Jewish Communion: Religious Identity and Growing Up Jewish in Polk County” at Florida Southern College in Lakeland to discuss what it was like to come of age in a predominantly Christian region. This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, March 15 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 20 at 7:30 a.m.), we bring you highlights of the conversation.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Computer coding is the language that tells a computer what to do, but is it a foreign language? The Florida Senate has approved a bill saying yes; if it passes into law, high school students could substitute computer coding for required foreign language credits. It's an attempt to get more of the state's students into computer science classes.

Robin Sussingham / WUSF

College can be expensive, and most families need some help paying for it. To get that help, they have to fill out something called the FAFSA  -- "the Free Application for Federal Student Aid." The FAFSA is important. In 2014, Florida high school grads left unclaimed more than $167 MILLION  in federal grant money  -- which they wouldn't have had to pay back -- because they didn't turn in a FAFSA.

Kristen M. Clark

The Florida House of Representatives last week wrestled with key education proposals. 
 

Judithanne McLauchlan

College students in the Road To The White House course at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg have just returned from working on the New Hampshire primary. This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 21 at 7:30 a.m.), they join us to talk about what it's like to be up close to the candidates and their campaigns.

Like many parents of high school juniors, I'm getting anxious about upcoming college applications and what it'll take to get in, such as doing well on the SAT. Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that the College Board, creator of the SAT,  is debuting a new test in March and these are the first changes in more than a decade.

The push to bring back recess to the state's public schools got another boost Tuesday. A bill that would require 20 minutes of recess every day for elementary school students passed its second House committee.

Several mothers -- who called themselves "recess moms" --  grew clearly emotional when speaking in favor of the bill. Amy Narvaez, a parent of students in Orange County, told the committee that she became a "recess mom" in October of 2014, when her youngest daughter  started kindergarten.

Robin Sussingham

Physics is the most  fundamental of sciences; it's an essential stepping stone for  careers in engineering or science. But around the country, fewer than 40 percent of high school students take a physics class. In Florida , that number is much lower -- only about a quarter of high school students take physics. Experts say that the trend affects the future earning potential of the state's students.

Associated Press

The 2016 Florida Legislative session starts Jan. 12, and this week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, Jan. 5 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 10 at 7:30 a.m.), we are previewing some of the bills lawmakers are proposing.

State Sen. John Legg heads the education committee in the Florida Senate. StateImpact Florida's Robin Sussingham sat down with Legg recently, and asked him to sum up the most important education issues that will be in front of the legislature this year.

Legg: The biggest education issues I see are class size; [also], the House has made a priority of looking at Best and Brightest which is a recruitment and merit reward for teachers around  $10,000...

Sussingham: That's pretty controversial. If you took the SAT 30 years ago, you're going to get $10,000 if you did well?

flsenate.gov

It's been just days since President Obama signed into law the new Every Child Succeeds Act, doing away with No Child Left Behind. State lawmakers likely will not be dealing with the law's effects during the next session, but anticipate big changes in 2017.

Robin Sussingham

The Polk County School Board has given the nod to a "recess" requirement for the county's public elementary schools during their work session on Tuesday.

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