Graduate Students profiled in Roadtrip Nation's Degree of Impact

Open Road in the Green RV

Coming this February to Public Television and KQED, Roadtrip Nation: Degree of Impact dives into the world of graduate studies, following three Roadtrippers, all pursuing doctoral degrees, Kylie Yearwood (38, Hogansville, GA), Jason Vanfosson (30, Kalamazoo, MI) & Crystal Francis (31, Baltimore, MD) as they travel the 3,247 Mile journey across the US visiting doctorate-holding professionals from various backgrounds and disciplines along the way to educate themselves on what life beyond the syllabus looks like.

Doctoral degrees are often seen as an accomplishment reserved for scholars in the ivory towers of academia, but contrary to popular belief, a doctorate has practical, real-world applications. ROADTRIP NATION: DEGREE OF IMPACT explores the surprising ways people are applying their doctoral degrees beyond the walls of a university, making a direct impact on their communities—and the world at large.

Interviews include Adam Foss, a lawyer who advocates for compassion in the criminal justice system; musician, Artina McCain, a pianist who teaches at the University of Memphis; and athlete Ivan Joseph, a sports psychologist, and award-winning soccer coach.


Roadtripper Bios:

Kylie Yearwood

Age 38

From Hogansville, GA


Born and raised in Georgia, Kylie's never been west of Missouri—but she’s ready to expand her horizons. Already a registered nurse with a master’s degree in nursing education, Kylie knows that she could walk away from her studies today and have a perfectly satisfying career as a teacher or nurse...but she wants more. After seeing her sister struggle to get a nurse’s attention during a hospital stay, she’s realized what she really wants is “a seat at the table”—a voice in shaping the policies that will impact the future of medical care on a national scale, and for the better. Just four classes away from starting her dissertation, she hopes this road trip will steer her away from her usual, well-trodden paths, and open her eyes to all of the opportunities her education can offer.


 Jason Vanfosson

Age 30

From Kalamazoo, MI

 Jason’s doctoral research revolves around boyhood road trips in young adult literature—and now he’s eager to take a formative road trip of his own. As a kid who felt like he never fit in with his working-class West Virginia community, the refuge he found in reading naturally developed into a lifelong love of literature. Jason was the first person in his family to go to college, and once there, he realized he’d finally found an environment where he could thrive. But as graduation quickly approaches, he’s realized that he’s been in school for 27 years and doesn’t know what’s next. After spending so much time honing his critical skills, he’s eager to see how he can cultivate them into a creative career.

Crystal Francis

Age 31

From Baltimore, MD

An avid biker who can be seen riding her motorcycle to her government-agency job, Crystal likes to toe the line between chaos and order. After she finishes her doctoral studies on prisoner reentry and employment, Crystal wants to take a big leap and run for public office, which would give her the platform she needs to apply her research to the real world. But she’s scared of jumping without the protection of a safety net—in order to mount a serious campaign, she’d have to quit the government job that she’s been working at for over ten years. She hopes that this road trip will introduce her to risk-takers and planners alike, giving her some insight about what to do after her dissertation is done.


Roadtrip Nation Degree of Impact is a (1) One, 60-minute episode.

Roadtrip Nation is produced by Roadtrip Productions, presented by KQED and distributed by APT and will be coming to public television in February 2018.


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About Roadtrip Nation

Roadtrip Nation started in 2001 when three friends fresh out of college weren’t sure what to do with their lives. Their solution? To road-trip around the country and ask people who do what they love how they got to where they are today. What started as a road trip sparked an annual documentary series, a number of books, online tools, and an educational organization—all dedicated to helping individuals define their own roads in life. In 2009, Roadtrip Nation expanded into education with the creation of The Roadtrip Nation Experience, a project-based self-discovery curriculum designed to help students explore their identities and find careers aligned with their interests. Today, Roadtrip Nation continues to empower individuals to create meaningful lives doing what they love. To learn more about Roadtrip Nation, visit For more information about Roadtrip Nation in education, visit

About KQED Public Television

KQED serves the people of Northern California with a public-supported alternative to commercial media. An NPR and PBS affiliate based in San Francisco, KQED is home to one of the most listened-to public radio stations in the nation, one of the highest-rated public television services and an award-winning education program helping students and educators thrive in 21st-century classrooms. A trusted news source and leader and innovator in interactive technology, KQED takes people of all ages on journeys of exploration — exposing them to new people, places, and ideas.

About American Public Television

APT ( 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 PatriotsA 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 ItalyP. Allen Smith’s Garden Home, Midsomer Murders, Moyers & Company, Doc Martin, Rosemary & ThymeBBC 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 For more information about APT’s programs and services, visit For more information on Create, visit
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