Tennessee Watson

Education Reporter

Phone: 307-766-5064
Email: twatso17@uwyo.edu

Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-­producing Wage/Working (a jukebox­-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.

Ways to Connect

Andrew Graham, WyoFile

In February, Albany County Sheriff David O'Malley dismissed concerns raised by a Laramie resident about a controversial deputy by telling a county human resources official that the complainant needed "professional help" and was "difficult to listen to."

A lawsuit alleging the Albany County Sheriff's Department violated a sexual assault victim's civil rights will move forward, according to a federal judge's ruling Tuesday, May 12.

Wikimedia.org

COVID-19 poses a challenge for Wyoming's juvenile justice system. Secure juvenile detention facilities in Laramie, Natrona, Campbell and Sweetwater counties typically serve the entire state. However, starting in March those facilities placed restrictions on the out-of-county juveniles they would detain, a measure taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

This story includes descriptions of sexual assault.

This week the Casper Star-Tribune broke a story about a lawsuit against the Albany County Sheriff's Office, over the alleged mishandling of a sexual assault investigation. Wyoming Public Radio has an interview with the plaintiff, as well as audio of the law enforcement interview at the heart of the complaint.



On a tour of the Juvenile Services Center in Cheyenne, Sgt. Jay Stewart explains that juvenile offenders stay here for an average of 49 days. But whether they're here for a week or a year, kids are required to go to school. 

"I Wouldn't Change A Thing About Wyoming"

Sep 9, 2019
Charles Fournier

Recent Torrington High School graduates Quentin Meyer and Ryan Walson love Wyoming as it is. For our "Belonging" series, the childhood friends sat down to reflect on the agriculture and stories that pull them to stay while acknowledging the career possibilities that may draw their lives outside of the state they hold dear.

Each fall the Wyoming Department of Education releases school performance ratings. Those ratings help school boards and the general public assess how well schools are serving students' needs.

University of Wyoming

University of Wyoming students will have access to more financial aid starting in the fall of 2020. At their July meeting, the UW Board of Trustees voted to expand both merit and need-based scholarship opportunities using institutional funds.

"We Kind Of Live In The Middle"

Jul 19, 2019
Charles Fournier


Though they have felt like outsiders at times, Allen Pino and Catalina Pedroza—who are both pursuing careers as educators—feel a strong sense of loyalty to Wyoming. For WPR's "Belonging" series, they sat down to discuss racial identity and how Wyoming stereotypes can be at odds with a vision of a state full of potential.

Tennessee Watson


In her newest book, Wyoming author Mary Billiter takes the life-altering mental health issues faced by her actual son and turns the experience into a work of fiction. A Divided Mind is a story told through the eyes of Tara and her son Branson as they confront the voices and hallucinations taking over his mind. Billiter consulted her son Kyle Thomas throughout the writing process. Wyoming Public Radio's Tennessee Watson sat down with them to learn more.

Photo from Flickr by Fellowship of the Rich

It's rodeo season in Wyoming, which means livestock from across the country are traveling into the state. With that comes the possibility of spreading disease. Jim Logan, the Wyoming State Veterinarian, is encouraging livestock owners and rodeo organizers to take extra precaution.

More families will be eligible for WIC, the Women, Infants and Children Program under the Wyoming Department of Health new eligibility guidelines.

Kim Deti with the WDH said the program is designed to get young kids off to a healthy start.

"What the program offers is really food. It offers food for pregnant women, food for families, and for children under five. It also offers support for breastfeeding for new moms," said Deti.

Homeschoolers of Wyoming

There about 2,000 kids who are homeschooled in Wyoming, according to Heather Hager from Homeschoolers of Wyoming. The group has its annual conference on July 12-13 in Cheyenne.

Photo provided by Meaghan Todd

 

Around three-quarters of Americans say they are dissatisfied with the state of politics in the country. That's according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll conducted just before the 2018 mid-term election.

Charles Fournier

June is Pride Month. So this first installation of the "Belonging" series is a conversation between Connor Sears and Jesse Archambeau. They're both 2018 Cheyenne East High School grads who left for college in Peoria, Illinois where a more prominent LGBTQ community has helped them to foster their own identities. Now, they struggle with the reality that their absences perpetuate a trend that leaves Wyoming's queer youth without the mentorship they themselves yearned for.


Wyoming's Joint Symposium on Children & Youth is underway in Cheyenne this week. The multi-disciplinary training event brings together professionals who are responding to crimes against children. That includes law enforcement, attorneys, educators, medical professionals and victim advocates.

They are early risers and hard workers. They have a "talent for struggling through" and the determination that follows. Some are the first in their family to go to college — or even graduate from high school — and many are financially independent from their parents. They're often struggling to pay for rent, groceries and transportation while taking classes. And that means working while in school — in retail, on campus or even with a lawn care business.

2019 Kids Count Data Book

Wyoming is a pretty good place to be a kid, and the 2019 Kids Count Data Book agrees. Their report released this week gave the Equality State high marks for education, economic well-being, and family and community. But when it comes to health Wyoming is second to last in the nation.

Annie E. Casey Foundation

Health insurance coverage has increased for kids in 45 states since 2010, and 95 percent of kids in the United States are insured. But that's not the case in Wyoming.

The Wyoming Catholic Register

In the June issue of the Wyoming Catholic Register, the Diocese of Cheyenne announced the names of 11 clergy members it says were credibly accused of sexual abuse.

Screen shot from Wyoming PBS live stream

Wyoming is the only state not using Medicaid to cover special education services in schools, and that could be costing the state money.

University of Wyoming

Laurie Nichols has been named interim president at Black Hills State University. That's according to a statement released Monday from the university located in Spearfish, South Dakota.

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