Carmen Baskauf | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

Carmen Baskauf

Producer, Where We Live

Credit Ryan Caron King

Carmen Baskauf is a producer for Connecticut Public Radio's news-talk show Where We Live, hosted by Lucy Nalpathanchil. She has also contributed to The Colin McEnroe Show.

Carmen produces shows on a wide variety of topics for Where We Live; she especially loves producing shows about science and history. Some highlights include producing a full hour about menstruation (recipient of a national PRNDI award) and meeting a real-live glowing axolotl in studio for a show on bioluminescence and biofluorescence.

In 2020, Carmen and Where We Live host Lucy Nalpathanchil received a national Gracies Award from the Alliance for Women in Media for their conversation with a Connecticut mother and her trans son.

Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, Carmen now lives in New Haven, Connecticut. She has a B.A. in History from Yale University, where she studied nationalist movements in 20th-century North Africa and the Middle East.

In her free time, Carmen likes reading about science, playing bridge, and learning new languages.

Ways to Connect

Agapostemon splendens bee sitting on a flower
Michael C. Thomas / PNAS

Insects are the most abundant group of animals on the planet. There are an estimated 10 quintillion of them on Earth.

But in recent years, scientists have found disturbing evidence that insect populations are on the decline around the world.

The first people are brought in as the City of Hartford’s Department of Health and Human Services hosted a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for Hartford residents 75 and over at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford, Connecticut on February 06, 2021.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

The pandemic has put public health in the spotlight across the world. But in the United States local public health departments have been chronically underfunded, and Connecticut is no exception.

This hour, we hear from a local health director about the challenges public health departments in Connecticut are facing, even as the state celebrates high vaccination rates compared with other states.

And, we look beyond the pandemic: what should the public health workforce of the future look like?

January 22, 2021: Resident Austin Anglin 67, is given the vaccine by Nurse Practitioner Geriann Gallagher as Hartford HealthCare launched a mobile vaccine clinic to get the COVID-19 vaccine to vulnerable populations starting at The Open Hearth in Hartford
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Grocery store employees and other essential workers had expected to soon be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Now, Governor Lamont says the state’s vaccination plan will focus on age groups.

Today, we talk with Dr. Deidre Gifford, Acting Commissioner of the state Department of Public Health.  We ask: how does this new plan impact vaccine equity?

A memorial takes shape on a telephone pole near the site where 26-year-old Yale forestry graduate student Kevin Jiang was shot and killed in the Goatville section of New Haven’s East Rock neighborhood.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Earlier this month a Yale graduate student was murdered in New Haven’s East Rock neighborhood, leading to widespread media coverage.

This hour, we ask: why do some shootings get media attention while others do not? We take a look at the way race and privilege shape gun violence coverage.

And we talk with journalists and community members. What trends have you noticed in news coverage of violent crime?

Portrait of Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.) Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel
Federal Communications Commission

Telehealth, Google Classrooms, and Zoom have become essential for daily life in the pandemic.

This hour, we learn about the role of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to make sure all Americans have access to broadband internet.

We talk with the FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, a West Hartford native.

5317367 / Pixabay

Plumbers and electricians are essential workers with well-paying jobs.  And yet skilled trades face worker shortages and struggle to recruit young people.

This hour, we take a look at vocational education. We talk with a teacher and a student from one of Connecticut’s technical high schools.

And we ask a national expert: what can the Biden administration do to build up a new generation of tradespeople?

Desks are spaced 6 feet apart in a classroom at the CREC Academy of Science and Innovation in August, 2020.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

As COVID-19 cases rise, teachers, parents, and students worry--is school safe? At the same time, as many students engage in education remotely, many students are falling farther and farther behind, and the impact of that learning loss is disproportionately falling on nonwhite students.

Official Ballot Boxes outside West Hartford Town Hall.
Ali Oshinskie / Connecticut Public Radio

More than a third of Connecticut votes cast in the November 2020 election were by absentee ballot.  Will ballot drop boxes and mail-in options become permanent? Today, we talk with Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill about the future of voting in Connecticut.

And later: President Biden has been in office for less than a month. But he’s already setting records with his use of executive orders. We hear from a law professor about what this use of executive power means for the country.

Black and white image of Mary and Luther with their first born, Roy, on Easter Sunday 1941 in New Haven
Courtesy of Jill Snyder

Jill Snyder’s parents carried on a long-distance courtship through letters.

After her mother’s death, Snyder found these letters, and compiled them into a book, called Dear Mary, Dear Luther: A Courtship in Letters.

This hour, Snyder joins us to talk about her family’s story. It’s a lens into the lives of African Americans in the Northeast before the start of World War II.

Snyder tells us why it’s especially important for Black families to document their own family history.

Infrared photo of Venus at night, from the Japanese robotic spacecraft Akatsuki, which orbits the planet
JAXA / ISAS / DARTS / Damia Bouic

Extreme heat, crushing air pressure, and toxic clouds. Venus may not seem like a hospitable place.

But the discovery of a certain chemical, phosphine, in that planet’s atmosphere has raised new questions about the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Scientists wonder if a living organism could possibly be creating this unexpected chemical.

This hour, we sit down Martha Gilmore, a Wesleyan professor. She’s a planetary geologist and Venus expert.

What questions do you have about Venus or our solar system?

Pixabay

Broadband access is not just a convenience, it’s essential for life under COVID-19. 

This hour, we take a look at Connecticut’s digital divide. We talk with a researcher whose report highlights the stark racial and economic disparities in internet access in our state.

Governor Lamont has proposed universal broadband by September 2022. But is the state taking strong enough steps to put all residents on an equal footing when it comes to internet access?

Image of the Wikipedia logo on white background
Eukaryogurt / Wikimedia Commons

When you want to learn about an obscure topic, where do you turn? For many, it’s a free, online encyclopedia which now contains more than 55 million user-created articles. This hour, we talk about 20 years of Wikipedia.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public

Dr. Miguel Cardona’s journey as an educator started in an elementary school classroom in Meriden, Connecticut. Now, Connecticut’s education commissioner is heading to Washington D.C. as President Biden’s pick for nation’s Secretary of Education.  This hour, we sit down down with Dr. Cardona.

If confirmed by the Senate, Cardona will take the helm of the U.S. Department of Education during a pandemic that has profoundly disrupted the country’s education system.  As Education Commissioner, Cardona advocated strongly for an in-person return to the classroom in Connecticut. How will he navigate education during COVID-19 at a national scale?

A high school boy studies with a volunteer teacher at his home, in an iron lung provided by the New Haven Hospital (c. 1943)
courtesy of the Yale New Haven Hospital Archives

It was a plague that came every summer and left thousands of American children paralyzed -- or dead -- in its wake. This hour we take a look at the legacy of polio.

How did the development of the polio vaccine change the course of history?

A Hartford HealthCare worker prepares a COVID-19 vaccine
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Bridgeport has lost its top health official as the state battles COVID-19’s second wave. This hour, we talk with Connecticut Post reporter Brian Lockhart about the vacancy in the health department of the state’s largest city.

And later, some Connecticut residents over the age of 75 will receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine this week. Does Connecticut have the right tools in place to reach seniors?

We talk with Department of Public Health Acting Commissioner Deidre Gifford, and we hear from AARP Connecticut.

Image of the U.S. Capitol Building
Scazon / Creative Commons

President Trump has been impeached by the House of Representatives again, making him the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. With just days before President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, what happens next?

We check in with impeachment legal expert Ross Garber.

We also talk with The New York Times Interpreter columnist Amanda Taub. What lessons can we take from attacks on democracies globally to better understand our current moment?

A Hartford HealthCare worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

So far, tens of thousands of Connecticut residents have already received the COVID-19 vaccine. Yet nationally, vaccine rollout has been going slower than experts had hoped.

This hour, we hear from reporters about how policies have shaped vaccine availability. And we get answers from a doctor about the science behind the shot.

What questions do you have about the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Bill Ingalls / NASA

Astronaut Kayla Barron was one of the first women commissioned as a submarine warfare officer in the US Navy. Now, she’s part of another groundbreaking group, NASA’s Artemis Team.

This hour, we talk with Barron about her training for the next set of missions to return to the moon.  The Artemis Program aims to put the first woman on the moon in coming years.

Mr_Incognito_ / Pixabay

Last January, an estimated 2,500 young people experienced homelessness in Connecticut, according to the Connecticut Coalition To End Homelessness annual Youth Count. And that was before the pandemic that overturned so many lives.

Connecticut had made a goal to end youth homelessness by 2020. So what gaps remain? We hear from advocates, providers, and a young person about how the state can help youth at risk of housing insecurity and homelessness.

Have you or someone you know experienced housing insecurity or homelessness?

Members of Students for a Democratic Society stage demonstrations New Haven Green near area where huge rally was being held by Black Panthers and supporters, May 1, 1970. Panthers were protesting the jailing of eight of their group in New Haven.
AP

On May 1, 1970, the eyes of the nation were on the Elm City. Students and others from around the country had gathered to protest the murder trial of Black Panther Party leaders Bobby Seale and Ericka Huggins.

Zoom screenshot of the Where We Live team. Clockwise from top left: Carmen Baskauf, Catie Talarski, Tess Terrible, Cat Pastor, Lucy Nalpathanchil
Connecticut Public Radio

What a year! The Where We Live team has been working remotely since March but we haven't stopped bringing you live conversations.

Image of sunlight ight shining through a tree
Jannatul Hasan / Wikimedia Commons

Faith can play an important role in times of uncertainty - offering comfort and hope.  Since COVID-19 hit Connecticut, many churches, synagogues and mosques have closed across the state.  Faith leaders have moved worship online - and found new ways to bring people together.

It has not been easy.  Leaders across religious traditions are under tremendous pressure guiding their congregations through grief and trauma - while helping their communities build resilience.

In a conversation recorded earlier this month, guest host Diane Orson talks with a pastor, a rabbi and an imam who have walked into a pandemic - and it is not a joke.   They speak about what it has been like for clergy, where they turn when they’re feeling stressed, and whether their own faith has wavered.

A screen showing icons of multiple different television streaming services
Harrison Weber / Flickr

2020 is finally almost over, and it’s time for a break. But if your holiday plans are looking different than normal, we’ve got you!  This hour, we talk with NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans, who gives us his recommendations on what to binge watch over the holidays.

We also check in with Vox book critic Constance Grady about her recommendations from the best books of 2020.

And later: are you among the 67% of Americans who play videogames? We talk with Washington Post videogame reporter Gene Park about his favorite games of the year. If you’re not a gamer yet never fear—we talk about how to get started exploring the world of gaming.

In a file photo, the Berlin train station at night.
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

COVID has changed the way we live, work, even move. This hour, we talk about the future of public transportation in Connecticut, with commuter advocate Jim Cameron. We also hear from the State Department of Transportation (DOT) public transit bureau chief.

Ridership has plummeted on rains and buses as many residents continue to work from home. This, even as Connecticut’s often-overlooked bus systems have been critical for many of the state’s essential workers to get to their jobs.

Will Connecticut’s mass transit system be able to recover from the economic toll of COVID?

The MIRA trash-to-energy plant in Hartford, which is now slated to shut down in 2022
Cloe Poisson / Connecticut Mirror

For years, Connecticut sent large portions of waste to the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA) trash-to-energy plant in Hartford. This, in spite of protests by Hartford residents, who say pollution from the plant has caused health problems. Now, the plant will close in 2022.

Today, we talk with Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Katie Dykes about the state's garbage.

The commissioner has said the state is facing a “waste crisis” in coming years. So what’s the solution?

Three coyote pups in the Bronx, captured in a camera trap image
Gotham Coyote Project

Have you spotted a coyote in your neighborhood? These carnivores can live just about everywhere, from Canada to Central America, from California to -- just recently -- Long Island.

This hour, we talk with two researchers that study coyotes. We learn about how coyotes have expanded their range over the last 200 years to cover much of North America.

As other species have struggled to survive amidst human habitat destruction, why has the scrappy coyote been able to thrive?  We want to hear from you, too. Do you have coyotes in your town or city?

Do you like seeing them or do you worry they will snag your cat for supper?

Rhoda Baer/National Cancer Institute / Creative Commons

Pfizer may receive emergency approval from the FDA this week, but who’s in line to get the COVID-19 vaccine first?

This hour, we talk with members of Connecticut’s Vaccine Advisory Group, including co-chair Dr. Reginald Eadie. He’s one of the leaders who’s planning how COVID-19 vaccines will be stored and distributed in our state in the coming weeks and months.

We also talk with Tekisha Dwan Everette, a health equity expert who’s a member of the vaccine group. Given the disparate impact COVID has had on racial and socioeconomic groups, how will Connecticut give out the vaccine fairly?

Are you one of the people who may be eligible to be vaccinated later this month? Will you get it?

We want to hear from you. What questions do you have about the COVID vaccine?

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Restaurants are among the small businesses that are struggling. And even though the state hasn’t shut down many sectors this COVID wave, some small businesses are considering whether to close for good.

This hour, we talk with David Lehman, the Commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD).

Southern Connecticut State University senior Asma Rahimyar has a history of breaking new ground. The 20-year-old Trumbull resident is the child of Afghan immigrants and was the first in her family born in the United States.

Now the political science and philosophy major has achieved another remarkable first -- she is Southern Connecticut State University’s first-ever Rhodes Scholar, one of the most prestigious academic awards in the world. 

SCSU student Asma Rahimyar stands on the university campus
Southern Connecticut State University

Asma Rahimyar was the first person in her family to be born in the U.S. after her parents left Afghanistan fleeing conflict. This hour, the 20 year old Connecticut resident joins us to talk about another first. She’s Southern Connecticut State University’s first-ever Rhodes Scholar.

Pages