Tune In To Ascend’s Student Parent Podcast: 1 in 5!


The experiences of students who are parents should not be unfamiliar or unheard especially on college campuses. They’re in classrooms and clubs, working jobs and managing finances just like their peers. In fact, 22 percent or 1 in 5 undergraduates are parents. So why don’t we know more about this so-called “invisible population?    

Ascend at the Aspen Institute and production company Lantigua Williams & Co. sought to answer this question by launching the 1 in 5 podcast to learn what it’s like to care for a child and pursue a postsecondary credential from student parents themselves. 1 in 5 features interviews with Ascend PSP Parent AdvisorsNetwork Partners, and student parents who are affiliated with our Network Partners. This 15-episode narrative documentary collection not only underscores the barriers they face balancing their studies with childcare, but also celebrates their resilience to improve their well-being and highlights the organizations that are advancing their success.  

As 1 in 5 moderator Pamela Kirkland said in the show’s trailer, “They are remarkable for their strength and determination, for their hard work to lift themselves up and their families, for navigating the complex and often unforgiving world of higher education, and for striving to make scores of dedicated student parents more visible to their campus communities and institutions where they’re often overlooked and uncounted. 

Lesley Del Rio, career pathways trainer at Mi Casa Resource Center and Ascend PSP Parent Advisor, said opening up on the podcast about raising her young son, working full time, and attending online school, has been cathartic 

“There have been times where I have doubted my choices to be so transparent in sharing my life,” she said. “This was a great reminder that our stories have power and influence.” 

Listen to the 1 in 5 trailer below and find new episodes every Tuesday from February 16 – May 25, 2021 at 1in5.simplecast.com. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Pandora, Amazon Music, and other podcast platforms. 

1 in 5 vividly profiles students who are parents pursuing their education while raising a family and working. Today, more than one in five college students (22%) are parents.

Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, guests also share the challenges they faced working, studying, parenting, and staying healthy from home. New episodes will be released every Tuesday from February 16 to March 25, 2021.

From Ascend at the Aspen Institute1 in 5 episodes feature in-depth conversations with student parents and those who advocate for them in the fields of education, philanthropy, non-profit, and research, among others – including Ascend’s Parent Advisors who inform our Postsecondary Success for Parents (PSP) Initiative. Download the trailer transcript here.

She grew up dreaming of climbing the corporate ladder and creating a big beautiful career for herself. But when she entered the job market, and became a mom, she realized her path to success would not be so straightforward. Reporter Giovana Romano Sanchez captures the story of Waukecha’s journey into higher education, and how she found the village she would need to succeed from then on. Download the episode transcript here. Download and share the resource guide based on this episode here.

Jesus Benitez always put his family first. As a single dad, he worked long hours to ensure all of his son’s needs were met. One day, it became clear he couldn’t do it alone. But learning to ask for help, and tapping into the resources around him, turned out to be a harder lesson for Jesus, than he anticipated. Reporter Rhana Natour tells us what happened when he decides to go back to school, for his son.

The CUNY Fatherhood Academy is a free program for unemployed or underemployed young parents, that promotes responsible parenting and economic stability through education, employment, and personal development. Download the episode transcript here. Download and share the resource guide based on this episode here.

Just as she was enrolling in college, Michaela became a mom. This dual experience opened her eyes to the realities of parenting while in school, and led her to become an advocate. Journalist Sarah McClure reports on Michaela’s journey and the legislative project she’s working on that could transform the experience of student parents like her. Download and share the resource guide based on this episode here. You can read the episode transcript here.

When she had her second child, Remy, Savannah Steiger’s life was forever changed. The complications from his birth, and the support system she discovered in the aftermath, helped her find the direction she longed for. Reporter Rhana Natour chronicles Savannah’s journey overcoming trauma, entering the world of higher education, and clarifying her purpose.

Family Futures Downeast is a two-generation program that improves economic outcomes for low-income families in Washington County, Maine. Download the episode transcript here. Download and share the resource guide based on this episode here.

When Drayton Jackson decided to go back to college as an adult with grown children, he was afraid his peers would not be able to relate to him. To his surprise, they elected him Student Body President. Reporter Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong chronicles how he drew on his life experiences to identify and remedy on-campus gaps in services impacting student parents, and those experiencing homelessness like he himself once had.

Download the episode transcript here. Download and share the resource guide based on this episode here. NOTE: This episode contains a reference to suicide.

Angelina Kery was a single mother to two elementary-aged kids when she decided to go back to college. She was working full-time, was recently divorced, and wondered how she was going to juggle it all. Reporter Hannah Kingsley-Ma explores how a supportive coach and a community of other moms helped buoy her to graduation and beyond — to become a mentor to other student parents.

Jeremiah Program offers one of the nation’s most successful strategies for transforming families from poverty to prosperity two generations at a time. Learn more about their work at jeremiahprogram.org.

Download and share the resource guide based on this episode here. You can read the episode transcript here.

 

Lori Barr and her NFL-playing son Anthony started Raise the Barr, their scholarship fund for student parents, in 2016. It was inspired by their own family’s journey of challenge and perseverance. When she found out she was pregnant at age 19, Lori dropped out of college. Motivated by the desire to provide a better life for Anthony, she eventually went back to school and earned a master’s degree in special education. Reporter Katie Thornton details how mother and son use their life experience as a springboard to help others.

Download and share the resource guide based on this episode here. You can read the episode transcript here.

 

Ariel Ventura-Lazo is a first-generation American and the first in his family to attend college. A father of two, he’s faced many challenges along the way. Reporter Michael Castañeda brings us along on Ariel’s journey from nearly dropping out of high school to becoming a passionate advocate for postsecondary education, student parents, and first-generation Americans — sharing his experiences on national platforms.

Generation Hope uses a two-generation approach by surrounding motivated teen parents and their children with mentors, emotional support, and financial resources that they need to thrive in college and kindergarten.

Download and share the resource guide based on this episode here.

You can read the episode transcript here.

Sydney Martens grew up playing basketball and participating in mock trial at school. When injuries, and then an unplanned pregnancy, sidelined her dreams of playing pro ball, she turned to her other passion: criminal justice. She’s currently a pre-law student and legal advocate focused on social justice and racial equity. Reporter Ambriehl Crutchfield shows us how a holistic approach to student parent support, along with the irreplaceable strength of friendship, have helped Sydney find her path and her calling.

Jeremiah Program offers one of the nation’s most successful strategies for transforming families from poverty to prosperity two generations at a time. Learn more about their work at jeremiahprogram.org.

Download and share the resource guide based on this episode here.

You can read the episode transcript here.

 

 

Lorena Barton became a single parent unexpectedly, when her son was just months old. Facing a crossroads, she decided to go back to school in pursuit of a new career in nursing. Reporter Natalie Rivera illuminates Lorena’s journey — how with the support of on-campus resources and childcare, along with a community of student parent peers, she’s now moving toward her degree with confidence in a brighter future for herself and her child. 

Download and share the resource guide based on this episode here.

You can read the episode transcript here.

 

Rashika Lee’s educational path was not linear, but in the end, it brought her to exactly where she needed to be. After several tries at postsecondary attainment while raising her son, she finally found a school that fit her needs — with educational, emotional and community support built into its programming. Reporter Elizabeth Gabriel and host Pamela Kirkland take us along on Rashika’s journey.

Download and share the resource guide based on this episode here.

You can read the episode transcript here.

 

Lynnette Coney had always dreamed of working in healthcare, but her educational journey was full of starts and stops. With multiple family caretaking responsibilities on her plate, support with childcare, parenting, and financial planning was critical. Reporter Lisa Bartfai details Lynnette’s setbacks and successes on her way to becoming a nurse. 

Download and share the resource guide based on this episode here.

You can read the episode transcript here.