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This series follows charismatic young adults as they pile in to a big green RV and cross the country to interview entrepreneurs and community leaders about how they got in touch with their passion and created their road in life. This is only one aspect of its ever-expanding, multi-platform plan to lower the nation's dropout rates.
Roadtrip Nation Previous Broadcasts
Be Well-Rounded (Episode #1007H)
KQED World: Fri, Mar 7, 2014 -- 9:30 PM
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.
Breaking Out of the Comfort Zone (Episode #1001H)
KQED Plus: Thu, Mar 6, 2014 -- 11:30 PM
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.
- KQED Plus: Fri, Mar 7, 2014 -- 5:30 AM
Uncertainty Is Opportunity (Episode #1006H)
KQED World: Thu, Mar 6, 2014 -- 9:30 PM
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.
No More What If's (Episode #1005H)
KQED World: Wed, Mar 5, 2014 -- 9:30 PM
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.'
KQED Plus: Wed, Mar 5, 2014 -- 12:30 AM
Meet Team "Tabula Rasa" and follow their first attempts at cold calling, from local restaurants to the White House, hoping to speak with Michelle Obama. They meet each other and their RV for the first time in Southern California, before heading to interview Christian Jacobs, lead singer of The Aquabats, and co-creator, writer, and director of the hugely popular Yo Gabba Gabba pre-school television show.
Don't Feel Trapped (Episode #1004H)
KQED World: Tue, Mar 4, 2014 -- 9:30 PM
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.
Portland - Cambridge (Episode #901H)
KQED Plus: Mon, Mar 3, 2014 -- 11:30 PM
A new team of Roadtrippers shares a desire to search for something bigger in life. Brooklyn, a self-proclaimed dreamer who left an unfulfilling job in New York City to move back in with her parents and eight siblings, hopes this Roadtrip will "jumpstart" her life. Elliott, a former high school English teacher, gets out of the classroom to explore a life around education, community and creativity. Nekeed escaped a rough childhood in Yonkers, N.Y., where he lost a brother to gang violence. Now, as the first male in his family to graduate college, Nekeed wants to define his next steps in life. At the New Skete monastery in New York, they interview Brother Stavros, co-founder of the monastery; he also works with its famous German Shepherd breeding program.
- KQED Plus: Tue, Mar 4, 2014 -- 5:30 AM
The Power of Serendipity (Episode #1003H)
KQED World: Mon, Mar 3, 2014 -- 9:30 PM
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.