Brendan Creamer | March 20, 2023 | Aspen Postsecondary Success for Parents, Press Releases

Ascend at the Aspen Institute’s highly rated podcast presents portraits of parents navigating school, work, and life, highlighting solutions that support their success

Washington, DC – Today, Ascend at the Aspen Institute and its podcast production partner, LWC Studios, released the second half of season 2 episodes of “1 in 5,” its highly rated podcast that explores the multifaceted lives of the one in five college students raising children. Over the course of five new episodes, Season 2 of “1 in 5” continues to feature student parents sharing their lived expertise, while widening the lens to lift up lessons from leaders working to transform their communities with student parents’ success in mind.

Ascend’s Postsecondary Success for Parents Initiative and LWC Studios launched “1 in 5” in 2021 to give student parents a platform to share their stories in their own words about what it’s like to care for a child and pursue a postsecondary credential. Season 2’s continued exploration of student parents’ journeys is part of Ascend’s expanded commitment to equip leaders within and across systems with parent-informed solutions  that advance student parent success.

In Season 2’s new “Spring Break” episodes, we meet five former and current student parents seeking to transform their lives and the systems that shape success, starting with 2023 Ascend Parent Advisor Dominique Baker.

“There were so many roadblocks, and I was just like, ‘I’m going to crash through anything that stands in my way,’” says Dominique in episode 6, which follows her journey from housing instability and financial difficulties to graduating at the top of her class from West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology. Dominique is now a Business Office Coordinator for Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and advocate for better alignment between postsecondary programs and childcare resources in support of student parent access and success. Her story underscores how supporting student parents’ dreams and ambitions is a community effort that also benefits future generations, a key theme of “1 in 5” season 2. “I think that’s where the importance of community comes in and the importance of having a support system, especially when you’re a parent, because you have to be the strong one for your kids. You need somebody to lean on. For me, through this journey, I’ve learned the strength of vulnerability,” Dominique shares.

“I am always moved by the wisdom and determination exemplified by student parents. Listening to student parents’ experiences emphasizes the key point that when we center their needs in higher education and workforce opportunities, we all benefit,” said David Croom, associate director of Postsecondary Success for Parents at Ascend and host of “1 in 5” season 2. “The student parents you’ll meet through the podcast are representative of so many working adults – dedicated, resilient, and highly motivated to succeed. Each podcast episode challenges listeners, practitioners, and policymakers to consider what higher education, our economy, and society as a whole could look like if we made the success of this population a priority.”

Listen to the first five episodes of season 2 now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Pandora, Amazon Music, Listen to episode 6 now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Pandora, Amazon Music, and other podcast platforms and subscribe to be notified of new weekly “Spring Break” episodes starting March 21, 2023.



Ascend at the Aspen Institute is a catalyst and convener for diverse leaders working across systems and sectors to build intergenerational family prosperity and well-being by intentionally focusing on children and the adults in their lives together. We believe in  the power of co-creation. We are a community of leaders – well-connected, well-prepared, and well-positioned – building political will that transforms hearts, minds, policies, and practices.

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing communities at home and around the world. For more information, visit

LWC Studios is an award-winning digital media studio whose original work reaches rising audiences with programming that has a social-justice vein. Its flagship show, 70 Million, is the first open-source solutions journalism podcast chronicling how locals are tackling jail reform around the country. In 2020, LWC Studios received a Peabody Award nomination, earned silver in the audio documentary category at the New York International Radio Festival, and won “The Director’s Prize,” their first Third Coast award, also known as “The Oscars of Audio.” In 2021, “Driving the Green Book,” which the company produced for Macmillan Podcasts, earned the inaugural Ambies Award for Best History Podcast. Learn more at


Contact: Kathy Lugo
Communications Officer
Ascend at the Aspen Institute

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