Leslie Snow


Leslie is a WUOT News contributor. She was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but has been moving steadily south since her college days at Indiana University. She received her master’s degree in English from the University of Texas at Arlington before settling in Knoxville with her husband and three children.

Leslie began working on special projects for the station in 2010 and liked it so much she decided to stay. In her spare time she writes a weekly column for the Knoxville News Sentinel, hikes the Smoky Mountains, and reads nerdy fantasy novels. Anything with a dragon will do. She has large dogs, small cats and medium-sized kids.

Ways to Connect

Data from a recent United Way report show that 23,000 Knox County seniors live in isolation. Knox PAWS, a unique local program, tries to address the problem by matching low-income seniors with adoptable animals. The program covers the cost of pet supplies, vaccinations, and all medical expenses. 

Photo by Linda Williams

For more than a year, COVID-19 and social distancing rules have kept friends and families apart. But in one Loudon County neighborhood, weekly driveway parties have become a unique way for neighbors to stay connected. WUOT News Contributor Leslie Snow went to visit. 

Photo, right to left:

Abigail Brumfield/University of Tennessee

In 2017 the University of Tennessee conducted its first blanket survey, asking students to assess their eating habits. The results of that survey, along with another in 2019, revealed what nutritionists have long suspected; many college students are struggling with food insecurity.

The USDA describes food insecurity as the lack of access to enough food to lead a healthy, active life. At UT and other college campuses, thirty percent of students suffer from food insecurity.

The Fight Goes On

Sep 9, 2020
Susan Cunningham

In February 2019, WUOT News contributor Leslie Snow spoke with five local civil rights activists who participated in the sit-ins in downtown Knoxville during the 1960’s. Restricted by Jim Crow laws, these students picketed outside movie theaters, marched down Gay Street, and asked to be served at restaurants designated “whites only.”

Hidden in Plain Sight

Aug 13, 2020
Susan Cunningham

The Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking is a local non-profit that serves thirty-three counties in East Tennessee. Last year, the organization trained more than 5,000 community members to recognize and respond to trafficking cases while also providing shelter and support to 90 victims.

Susan Cunningham

In December 2015, fifteen-year-old Zaevion Dobson was shot and killed while shielding three friends from a spray of bullets. For many, Dobson’s death marked the moment they first learned there were gangs operating in Knoxville. But for others, Dobson’s shooting was part of a familiar and tragic pattern of gang violence in their community. More than four years after his death, WUOT News contributor Leslie Snow examines some of the challenges law enforcement face in tackling gang violence and looks at one community’s novel approach to fighting gang activity in their neighborhood.

Dreamers Deferred

Jan 9, 2020
Molly Adams, vis Flickr/Creative Commons

Over the past few years, Tennessee legislators have debated bills that would have allowed undocumented students to receive in-state tuition at Tennessee colleges. Despite bipartisan support, those bills have been narrowly defeated each time, leaving the over 8,000 DACA recipients in the state with nearly insurmountable financial barriers to higher education. Tennessee DACA recipients don’t qualify for in-state tuition, the Hope Scholarship, Tennessee Promise, state or federal financial aid, grants, or even federal student loans.

Leslie Snow

Over the last two years, the number of children in foster care in Tennessee has jumped more than ten percent, in large part due to the opioid crisis. In Knox County alone, there are over 750 children living in state custody. Safe Baby Court works to protect the youngest children caught in the judicial system by helping them find safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible. But the program doesn’t focus on children alone, it also provides support for parents struggling with addiction and other chronic problems.

A Seat at the Counter

Feb 21, 2019
Susan Cunningham

Brown vs. Board of Education, the landmark civil rights case that found segregated schools unconstitutional, brought hope that change was coming. But while the 1954 ruling may have marked the beginning of the end for “separate but equal,” in cities across the country, change was slow in coming. Six years after Brown, segregated facilities were still common - not just schools, but buses and restaurants, movie theaters, and hospitals.

Leslie Snow

In an ordinary classroom, a group of mostly inner-city students is seated around a chalkboard. They tease each other and joke with their instructor as they engage in a discussion about “green” building techniques.

Despite the jovial atmosphere, the twenty-seven students gathered for Knoxville Leadership Foundation’s construction training program are serious about their work. And they’re relieved to be done with something called “mental toughness.”