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.