Skip to Content
Walden News // Feb 15, 2018

New Doctoral Roadtrip Documentary Premieres on Public Television Stations Nationwide

Minneapolis—February 15, 2018Degree of Impact, a new 1-hour documentary created by career exploration company Roadtrip Nation—and made possible by Walden University—premiered on public television stations nationwide starting on February 4, 2018.

The documentary followed the inspiring road trip of three doctoral students as they traveled 3,000 miles across the country in an RV last spring, on a journey to discover the importance of achieving the highest educational degree.

Degree of Impact features the unique stories of the road-trippers and the doctoral graduates they interviewed along the way who pursued their educational dreams, overcame challenges and went on to successful and diverse careers. The documentary shares with viewers the remarkable impact that earning a doctorate can have and highlights that there is no typical doctoral candidate or path.

“At Walden, we recognize that earning a doctoral degree is a journey—one that takes hard work and commitment. We were proud to partner with Roadtrip Nation to further explore the successes and challenges doctoral students encounter on their educational journeys while also celebrating those who are making their career aspirations a priority through education,” said Dr. Eric Riedel, chief academic officer and provost of Walden University.

Crystal Francis, one of the road-trippers and a PhD in Public Policy and Administration student from Walden, said of her reason to embark on this trip, “I saw it as a great opportunity to hear directly from leaders around the country working in a field I’m interested in, and learn how they overcame barriers to get their foot in the door. I wanted to understand what other people are doing with their degree and to see what other windows of opportunity are available to me.” Francis is from Houston but currently resides in Baltimore. She has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in homeland security. Francis 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.

The other two road-trippers are Kylie Yearwood and Jason Vanfosson. Yearwood is a PhD in Nursing student at Walden and mother of three who currently resides in Minnesota. After receiving her associate degree in nursing and her Master of Science in Nursing (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 and wants to use her PhD to have a greater impact on the field of nursing.

Vanfosson is a PhD candidate at Western Michigan University and is pursuing a doctorate in English literature, with a focus on children’s literature. He 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.

To learn more about Degree of Impact, watch the documentary, or find air times for public television broadcasts near you, visit or Follow the journey on social media using the hashtag #DoctoralRoadtrip.

To learn more about Walden University’s doctoral programs, visit

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 make up the Laureate International Universities network. For more information about Walden, visit

About Roadtrip Nation
“What should I do with my life?” For over 15 years, Roadtrip Nation has made it their mission to help individuals answer this question. Through best-selling books, an acclaimed documentary series and interactive classroom curricula, Roadtrip Nation empowers people to turn what they like into careers they’ll love—and helps them navigate any obstacles encountered along the way. For more information, visit and