Saturday, August 2, 2014
Breaking Out of the Comfort Zone
Joined by the common desire to get out of their comfort zones, a new team of Roadtrippers embarks on a cross-country journey to interview innovative Leaders who can provide insight on building a fulfilling life. Roadtripper Jackie has just earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry at the University of Texas, and left her home in Mexico to do so. With her family's high hopes hinging on her success, she seeks to find a balance between her academic demands and outside interests. Recent-grad Megan has always wanted to become a teacher, but feels she must break out of her insulated surroundings to determine whether that dream is still right for her. Zachariah, an animated student at Ohio State, seeks to channel his many interests into one concrete path. After meeting each other (and their 36-foot home-on-wheels), the crew hits the beach to interview Dr. Graeme Rae, the Chief Scientist for Surfline.com, who discusses leaving the world of academia to help surfers score waves.
Saturday, August 9, 2014
After settling into life on the Road (which includes dumping septic tanks and sleeping 3 feet away from each other), the team heads towards Hollywood. There, they meet Dr. Valerie Weiss, a film director who went through the trouble of getting a Ph.D in Biophysics so she could determine whether she really wanted to pursue science or filmmaking. Valerie's decision to set aside her Ph.D shows the Roadtrippers that it's never too late to alter your course. Later, the team heads to Facebook headquarters to meet with Delfina Eberly, the Director of Data Operations, who, as a confident Hispanic woman overseeing a mostly-male staff, inspires Jackie. Later, the team takes a zip-line adventure through Redwoods guided by Suzy Clark, the Director of the Mount Hermon Outdoor Science School. Suzy recounts the many jobs she's had, and allays the team's quarter-life anxiety by telling them that they don't need to know exactly where they're going in life.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
The Power of Serendipity
Outside of San Francisco, the team arrives at the Jelly Belly factory to meet with Elise Benstein, a food scientist who develops new Jelly Belly flavors. Elise encourages the Roadtrippers to be open to unplanned opportunity; after all, she never would have thought her job would consist of making Root Beer-flavored candy, but she loves it. From California, the crew winds east to Arizona, where they meet with Deon Clark, a nuclear engineer. Deon joined the navy as a teenager to escape the drugs and violence of his neighborhood, and stresses the importance of rejecting peer pressure. Moving onto New Mexico, the team meets two-time Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Paul Salopek, whose non-linear life experiences teach the Roadtrippers to embrace serendipity.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Don't Feel Trapped
In Texas, the Roadtrippers head to the Texas Instruments headquarters to meet Process Integration Engineer Byron Williams. Byron shares his struggle with self-doubt that almost stopped him from pursuing a career in science, and encourages the Roadtrippers to re-frame challenge as a motivator. Later, the crew heads to the ATT Foundry to speak with Senior Marketing Manager Tracy Parrish. Tracy discusses her switch from engineering to teaching, and helps Megan overcome her anxiety about teaching STEM subjects. The team ends the week at the National Space Biomedical Research Facility in Houston. There, Deputy Chief Scientist Dorit Donoviel discusses the courage it took to leave a comfortable job and try a new field. She encourages the team to never be afraid of venturing in new directions if they start to feel stagnant.
Saturday, August 30, 2014
No More What If's
Leaving Houston, the team takes a brief hiatus from interviews with a 2-day drive to Chicago that allows them to reflect on the experience thus far. Once in the Windy City, they find themselves speaking with Zach Kaplan, the CEO and Co-founder of Inventables, a company that connects product developers with novel materials. Zach recounts the many rejections he's been dealt over the years, emphasizing perseverance in the face of challenge. Next, the team heads to Chicagoland Skydive to meet with skydiving instructor Ward Hessig. Once a policeman on track to becoming a lawyer, Ward discusses the fortuitous turn of events that led to his shift in paths. After their chat, the Roadtrippers nervously prepare for a skydive, but are ultimately able to let go of trepidation by following Ward's advice to "push through fear and embrace the reward."