Stephanie Colombini

Veterans and Military Issues Reporter

Stephanie Colombini joined WUSF Public Media in December 2016 as Producer of Florida Matters, WUSF's public affairs show. She's also a reporter for WUSF's Health News Florida project.

Stephanie was born and raised just outside New York City. She graduated from Fordham University in the Bronx, where she got her start in radio at NPR member station WFUV in 2012. In addition to reporting and anchoring, Stephanie helped launch the news department's first podcast series, Issues Tank.

Prior to joining WUSF, Stephanie spent a year reporting for CBS Radio's flagship station WCBS Newsradio 880 in Manhattan. Her assignments included breaking news stories such as the 2016 bombings in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood and Seaside Park, N.J. and political campaigns.

Her work in feature reporting and podcast production has earned her awards from the Public Radio News Directors, Inc. and the Alliance for Women in Media.

While off the clock, you might catch Stephanie at a rock concert, on a fishing boat or anywhere that serves delicious food.

Ways to Connect

Protesters opposed to the Trump Administration's military transgender ban march in Washington, D.C. in a July 2107 demonstration.
Ted Eytan / Wikimedia

The recent Supreme Court decision on LGBTQ job discrimination doesn't directly affect the military's transgender service ban, but people opposed to the ban say it may help their own court fight.

Service members receive thanks from the hospital staff at Jacobi Medical Center in New York, where  they helped treat COVID-19 patients.
Xavier Navarro / U.S. Air Force

Some doctors and nurses with the Air Force Reserves are warning the public not to underestimate the continued threat posed by the coronavirus. They were among thousands of military personnel who deployed to New York City during the height of its pandemic.

Maria and John Mishkind video chat with Maria's brother, Army veteran Harry Stapleton, who is a resident at the Orlando VA Community Living Center.
Stephanie Colombini / American Homefront

Like most long-term care facilities, VA nursing homes haven't allowed in-person visitation since early March.

Disruptions to everyday life caused by the coronavirus pandemic are putting a strain on veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Some are seeking help virtually.

Marine Corps veteran Travis Holt has been doing his schoolwork in a makeshift office in his spare bedroom. His internet connection at home isn't great, which can make getting online assignments done difficult.
Courtesy Travis Holt

The transition from classroom to virtual learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for many student veterans, and the worries won't end with the spring semester.

Gene Popiolek, 68, (left) visits his father Bernie, 95, at an assisted living facility outside Baltimore. Bernie, a WWII veteran, pays to live here with help from the VA's Aid and Attendance benefit.
Stephanie Colombini / American Homefront

The VA Aid and Attendance benefit can help some vets and spouses pay for nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home health care. But the application process is often long and complicated.

Drs. Andrew Borkowski (left) and Stephen Mastorides analyze slides under a microscope to spot cancer in tissue samples. They trained a computer to do the same thing.
Stephanie Colombini / American Homefront

Researchers at the Tampa veterans' hospital are training computers to diagnose cancer. It's one example of how the Department of Veterans Affairs is expanding artificial intelligence development.

Air Force veteran Ronald West, 70, said he leaves his hospital room several times a day to smoke outside the Tampa VA property.
Stephanie Colombini / American Homefront

The VA has eliminated the designated smoking areas at its hospitals, clinics, and other buildings. It's a difficult transition for some patients, visitors, and VA workers.

Veteran David Wheaton said he's noticed his COPD has improved since he began playing the harmonica. He said he used to be able to exercise for only a few minutes, but now can work out longer.
Stephanie Colombini / American Homefront

Some Florida veterans are putting on a holiday performance at their local VA, but not just to spread cheer. It’s part of a program that uses harmonicas to help treat COPD.

Maureen Sevilla, Chief of the Epidemiology and Disease Control Clinic on Fort Bragg, hosts a game of 'STI Jeopardy' for a small group of soldiers. It's one way health officials are trying to make STI prevention training more relatable for young troops.
Krystle Burns / Fort Bragg Department of Public Health

Military health officials say troops are engaging in more high-risk sexual behavior, and part of the reason might be the popularity of smartphone dating apps.

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