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Walden News // Apr 26, 2017

New Roadtrip Nation Documentary to Illustrate the Impact of a Doctoral Degree

Minneapolis—April 26, 2017—Roadtrip Nation, a career exploration organization that creates resources to help individuals pursue fulfilling careers, announced today that its new one-hour documentary will kick off its three-week filming in Los Angeles on April 30, 2017. The inspiring road trip will follow three doctoral students—including two Walden University students—as they travel across the country in an RV on a journey to discover the importance of achieving the highest educational degree.

Road Trip Nation logo

The documentary, which is made possible by Walden University, will feature the diverse stories of three road-trippers. The students will meet and interview professionals and doctoral graduates who pursued their educational dreams, overcame challenges and went on to successful and diverse careers.

According to the most recent 2016 U.S. Census data on educational attainment, more than 3.9 million people age 25 and older in the United States have doctoral degrees. With the current challenges in the U.S. job market and a growing demand for advanced higher education, more people are pursuing doctoral degrees, and many while balancing a career and family.

“Walden’s mission to support working professionals in achieving their professional and academic goals is perfectly matched with Roadtrip Nation’s documentary, which will present some of the obstacles and successes doctoral students encounter as they work to improve their lives and communities through education,” said Jonathan A. Kaplan, president, Walden University.

“Education is a major hallmark of career success, and we recognize the difficulties many face in pursuing their dreams. We are honored to work with Walden University to support those that are pursuing the highest degree in their field, and are proud to share their stories of triumph over adversity,” said Mike Marriner, cofounder of Roadtrip Nation.

The road trip and stories will illustrate the remarkable impact that earning a doctorate can have and that there is no typical doctoral candidate. The three road-trippers are:

  • Crystal Francis, a PhD in Public Policy and Administration student from Walden University, is from Houston, Texas, but currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland. She has her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in homeland security. Crystal is currently working on her dissertation, which focuses on prisoner re-entry and employment, and she hopes to create tools and pathways for individuals with a criminal record to become employed.
  • Kylie Yearwood is a PhD in Nursing student at Walden University and mother of three from LaGrange, Georgia. After receiving her associate degree in nursing and an MSN with a specialization in Nursing Education, she decided to pursue her doctoral degree with a focus on Interdisciplinary Health. She has always loved working as a nurse but wants to use her PhD to have a greater impact on the field of nursing.
  • Jason Vanfosson, a PhD candidate at Western Michigan University, is pursuing a doctorate in English literature, with a focus on children’s literature. Jason is the first in his family to attend college and believes the road trip will provide him with an opportunity to change the conversation about doctoral students and graduates who decide not to pursue academic careers.

The documentary is set to premiere on local American Public Television stations across the country in early 2018.

Follow the journey of the three doctoral students and the successful professionals they meet on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #DoctoralRoadtrip.

Visit to learn more about Walden University’s doctoral programs.

About Walden University:
For more than 45 years, Walden University has supported working professionals in achieving their academic goals and making a greater impact in their professions and their communities. Students from all 50 states in the U.S. and more than 150 countries are pursuing their bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees online at Walden. The university offers more than 85 degree programs with more than 435 specializations and concentrations. Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. Walden is one of more than 70 institutions in 25 countries that comprise the Laureate International Universities network. For more information about Walden, visit

About Roadtrip Nation
Roadtrip Nation, renowned for its New York Times best-selling career guide, award-winning documentary television series and acclaimed classroom curriculum, is a career exploration organization that creates content, products and experiences to help individuals pursue fulfilling careers. Combining self-reflection with real-world exposure, Roadtrip Nation’s tools enable individuals to connect their interests to relevant life pathways and stay engaged with their futures. For more information, visit and