Roadtrip Nation is a weekly half-hour documentary series that tracks the up-close and personal journeys of young people as they cross the nation to figure out what to do with their lives.
Roadtrip Productions and KQED are proud to announce Season Ten of Roadtrip Nation launching in September 2013, and distributed through American Public Television to public television stations across the country.
Throughout eight episodes, three soul-searching “Roadtrippers” — all college students or recent graduates — travel in the iconic Roadtrip Nation Green RV across the country to interview leaders in innovative fields and learn the steps they took to get where they are today. By speaking with individuals who have found success on their own terms, the Roadtrippers are inspired to take the next steps to define their own roads in life.
Roadtripper Jackie, a 21-year-old Ph.D. student, has just earned a degree in chemistry from the University of Texas, El Paso, and left her home in Mexico to do so. With her family’s high hopes hinging on her success, she seeks to find a balance between her academic demands and outside interests. Megan, a recent graduate with a degree in elementary education, has wanted to be a teacher since she was a child, but is struggling to hold onto her dream in the face of a difficult job market. Zachariah, an animated geology major at Ohio State University, seeks to channel his many interests into one concrete path.
Joined by a common desire to explore the worlds of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), the Roadtrippers set out on an eye-opening experience that expose them to the vast breadth of exciting career possibilities in STEM — including jobs such as Jelly Belly food scientist, video game level designer and outdoor science school director.
Several of the leaders interviewed include two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Paul Salopek; Jad Abumrad, host and creator of the public radio show Radio Lab; Mariette DiChristina, editor-in-chief of Scientific American; Delfina Eberly, director of data operations at Facebook; and Dr. Graeme Rae, chief scientist, Surfline.com.
The philosophy that drives Roadtrip Nation is the search for individuals who have resisted pressures to conform and who have become successful by following their own paths. For local airtimes, go to roadtripnation.com/watch.
Christina Mitchell, firstname.lastname@example.org
Season ten of Roadtrip Nation is made possible by our friends at AT&T, Change the Equation, Hobsons, University of Phoenix Foundation and The Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
New Interactive Project
In conjunction with the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, and as a part of the College Knowledge Challenge, a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation initiative, Roadtrip Nation will open up the hood on its experiential learning model by leveraging the power of social networking to connect people with similar interests and pass on advice about how they found their roads in life.
“What’s Your Road?”, an interactive game-like tool, will prompt professionals who have built fulfilling careers to answer questions about how they got to where they are today, generating a profile of constructive advice for students to explore and learn from. On the flip side, students who are still working to discover their paths will answer a sequence of self-assessment questions, and will be matched accordingly with professionals who share students’ interests and core work tendencies. Students can explore the profiles of professionals in the industries that interest them, gaining valuable insight on how to make their aspirations a reality.
‘What’s Your Road?’ will launch in the fall of 2013 at roadtripnation.com.
Websites and Social Media
Education Site: roadtripnation.org
Roadtrip Nation 10 – Member Guide Article (pdf)
Roadtrip Nation 10 – Social Media Toolkit (pdf)
#1001: Breaking Out of the Comfort Zone
Joined by the common desire to get out of their comfort zones, a new team of Roadtrippers embarks on a cross-country journey to interview innovative Leaders who can provide insight on building a fulfilling life. Roadtripper Jackie has just earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the University of Texas, and left her home in Mexico to do so. With her family’s high hopes hinging on her success, she seeks to find a balance between her academic demands and outside interests. Recent-grad Megan has always wanted to become a teacher, but feels she must break out of her insulated surroundings to determine whether that dream is still right for her. Zachariah, an animated student at Ohio State, seeks to channel his many interests into one concrete path. After meeting each other (and their 36-foot home-on-wheels), the crew hits the beach to interview Dr. Graeme Rae, the Chief Scientist for Surfline.com, who discusses leaving the world of academia to help surfers score waves.
#1002: Embracing Change
After settling into life on the Road (which includes dumping septic tanks and sleeping 3 feet away from each other), the team heads towards Hollywood. There, they meet Dr. Valerie Weiss, a film director who went through the trouble of getting a Ph.D in Biophysics so she could determine whether she really wanted to pursue science or filmmaking. Valerie’s decision to set aside her Ph.D shows the Roadtrippers that it’s never too late to alter your course. Later, the team heads to Facebook headquarters to meet with Delfina Eberly, the Director of Data Operations, who, as a confident Hispanic woman overseeing a mostly-male staff, inspires Jackie. Later, the team takes a zip-line adventure through Redwoods guided by Suzy Clark, the Director of the Mount Hermon Outdoor Science School. Suzy recounts the many jobs she’s had, and allays the team’s quarter-life anxiety by telling them that they don’t need to know exactly where they’re going in life.
#1003: The Power of Serendipity
Outside of San Francisco, the team arrives at the Jelly Belly factory to meet with Elise Benstein, a food scientist who develops new Jelly Belly flavors. Elise encourages the Roadtrippers to be open to unplanned opportunity; after all, she never would have thought her job would consist of making Root Beer-flavored candy, but she loves it. From California, the crew winds east to Arizona, where they meet with Deon Clark, a nuclear engineer. Deon joined the navy as a teenager to escape the drugs and violence of his neighborhood, and stresses the importance of rejecting peer pressure. Moving onto New Mexico, the team meets two-time Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Paul Salopek, whose non-linear life experiences teach the Roadtrippers to embrace serendipity.
#1004: Don’t Feel Trapped
In Texas, the Roadtrippers head to the Texas Instruments headquarters to meet Process Integration Engineer Byron Williams. Byron shares his struggle with self-doubt that almost stopped him from pursuing a career in science, and encourages the Roadtrippers to re-frame challenge as a motivator. Later, the crew heads to the ATT Foundry to speak with Senior Marketing Manager Tracy Parrish. Tracy discusses her switch from engineering to teaching, and helps Megan overcome her anxiety about teaching STEM subjects. The team ends the week at the National Space Biomedical Research Facility in Houston. There, Deputy Chief Scientist Dorit Donoviel discusses the courage it took to leave a comfortable job and try a new field. She encourages the team to never be afraid of venturing in new directions if they start to feel stagnant.
#1005: No More ‘What if’s
Leaving Houston, the team takes a brief hiatus from interviews with a 2-day drive to Chicago that allows them to reflect on the experience thus far. Once in the Windy City, they find themselves speaking with Zach Kaplan, the CEO and Co-founder of Inventables, a company that connects product developers with novel materials. Zach recounts the many rejections he’s been dealt over the years, emphasizing perseverance in the face of challenge. Next, the team heads to Chicagoland Skydive to meet with skydiving instructor Ward Hessig. Once a policeman on track to becoming a lawyer, Ward discusses the fortuitous turn of events that led to his shift in paths. After their chat, the Roadtrippers nervously prepare for a skydive, but are ultimately able to let go of trepidation by following Ward’s advice to ‘push through fear and embrace the reward.’
#1006: Uncertainty is Opportunity
As they enter the 5th week of their 7-week Roadtrip, the team reflects on how comfortable they’ve become with the unpredictable eccentricities of the Road. Megan, who is naturally wired to adhere to routine, is learning to embrace uncertainly, and this helps her cope with an influx of job rejections. In New York, the team’s interview with Radiolab radio host Jad Abumrad serves to reinforce Megan’s newfound acceptance of the unknown. Jad describes his unsuccessful attempts at other careers, noting that although he never thought he would get into radio, he has found it to be a surprisingly satisfying assimilation of his interests. His ability to adapt to changing circumstance teaches the Roadtrippers although they might not end up where they planned in life, their ultimate trajectory might be even better than what they expected.
#1007: Be Well-Rounded
In New York City, the team meets with Mariette DiChristina, Editor-in-Chief of Scientific American, who was able to combine her interests in writing, science, and art into a meaningful career. Mariette urges the Roadtrippers to incorporate their passions into their work—even if they face criticism from others. Moving north, the Roadtrippers arrange a visit with Vicki Smith, a game designer at Vicarious Visions. Vicki shares her circuitous route to game design, explaining that she initially abandoned her own dreams in favor of following her parents’ expectations. In offering advice to the Roadtrippers, she stresses the importance of being well-rounded, and educating oneself in a wide range of disciplines—even if they don’t particularly interest you. That way, you have an arsenal of knowledge to inform the work you do.
#1008: It Doesn’t End Here
After traveling over 5,000 miles in 45 days, the Roadtrippers reach Massachusetts for the final week of their journey. There, they meet with Jeremy England, an MIT biophysicist, and Juan Enriquez, the CEO of Biotechnonomy LLC. Change is the topic of discussion with Juan, who tells the Roadtrippers to ‘scare the hell’ out of themselves sometimes because stagnancy is the enemy of personal growth. Moving onto the last interview of the trip, the Roadtrippers meet with Lydia Villa-Komaroff, an internationally-acclaimed molecular biologist and Chief Scientific Officer at CytonomeST. Lydia discusses the challenges of being a Mexican-American woman in a male-dominated field, and credits her passion for helping her to overcome obstacles. Afterwards, the team heads to the airport where they reflect on their personal growth and future paths before sharing one last group hug.
About Roadtrip Nation
In the summer of 2001, three friends decided to take a Roadtrip to seek their place in the world. The idea behind the Roadtrip was simple: If you don’t know what to do with your life, talk to people who are doing what they love, then ask them how they got there. The trio hit the road in a mechanically unsound Green RV, and three months and 17,000 miles later had interviewed 85 eclectic individuals.
Since then, Roadtrip Nation has evolved into a Movement to help individuals define their own Roads in life: including nine seasons on public television, three books, an online community, and a student network on more than 350 college campuses.
In 2009, the Movement expanded into education with the creation of RoadtripNation.org and the development of The Roadtrip Nation Experience—a hands-on, engaging curriculum that guides students through an explorative process to learn about pathways relevant to their own individuality.
Roadtrip Nation is dedicated to inspiring people everywhere to create lives based on doing what they love. To learn more, go to roadtripnation.com. And to learn more about Roadtrip Nation in education go to roadtripnation.org.
About KQED Public Television:
KQED Public Television, one of the country’s most popular public television stations, brings the values of public media to homes around the Bay Area with EMMY® Award–winning programming that inspires, informs and entertains. KQED produces local series like Check, Please! Bay Area, This Week in Northern California, Truly CA, San Francisco Opera and ImageMakers, as well as popular programs for national broadcast such as Essential Pépin, QUEST and Film School Shorts. KQED also distributes programming, including The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, Roadtrip Nation andJoanne Weir’s Cooking Confidence, to public media stations across the country.
KQED Public Television channels are KQED 9 (San Francisco/Bay Area, also available in HD), KQED Plus (Bay Area, also available in HD) and KQET (Monterey/Salinas).
KQED also offers digital channels available via XFINITY and over-the-air, each with distinct quality programming: KQED World, KQED Life, KQED Kids and KQED V-me (Spanish language).
About American Public Television
APT (APTonline.org) has been a leading distributor of high-quality, top-rated programming to America’s public television stations since 1961. Since 2004, APT has distributed approximately half of the top 100 highest-rated public television titles. Among its 300 new program titles per year are prominent documentaries, news and current affairs programs, dramatic series, how-to programs, children’s series and classic movies, including For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s Black Patriots, A Ripple of Hope, Rick Steves’ Europe, Newsline, Globe Trekker, Simply Ming, Joseph Rosendo’s Travelscope, America’s Test Kitchen From Cook’s Illustrated, Lidia’s Italy, P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home, Midsomer Murders, Moyers & Company, Doc Martin, Rosemary & Thyme, BBC World News, The Rat Pack: Live and Swingin’, Johnny Mathis: Wonderful, Wonderful! and John Denver: The Wildlife Concert. APT also licenses programs internationally through its APT Worldwide service. In 2006, APT launched and nationally distributed Create® – the TV channel featuring the best of public television’s lifestyle programming. APT is also a partner in the WORLD™ channel expansion project including its web presence at WORLDcompass.org. For more information about APT’s programs and services, visit APTonline.org. For more information on Create, visit CreateTV.com.