‘Roadtrip Nation’ makes detour to UNCP


PBS’s Roadtrip Nation (RTN) made a pit stop in its trademark big green recreational vehicle (RV) on September 27 at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.


Students waiting in line outside Roadtrip Nation RV

They were looking for additional “roadies” to make their own journey of discovery on the road to a career, said Crystal Heintz, a RTN crewmember.

“Roadtrip Nation asks students to think about how to explore your passions and turn them into a career,” Heintz told a crowd of 1,200 at the Givens Performing Arts Center. “The world’s a big place with lots of opportunity. Why not see what’s out there?”

There was considerable enthusiasm among UNCP students, said Michelle Krivonak, a health and physical education major.

“I had a blast and cannot wait to see if I am picked to ‘Go Behind the Wheel’ this summer with Roadtrip Nation,” Krivonak said. The people who came with Roadtrip Nation were very excited to be able to spread the word about Roadtrip Nation to others who had not heard about it before. 

“I would love to be able to experience something as cool as Roadtrip Nation,” she said. “I’m glad I went to the presentation and hung out with the cast after their presentation.”

UNCP is the only official RTN partner campus in the Carolinas. Sponsored by the Career Center, UNCP joined approximately 100 colleges and universities in partnership with Roadtrip Nation, the grassroots organization that helps college students discover the truth about careers and success.

RTN representatives explained that its grant program allows students to take their own roadtrip and interview people about life and careers. More information is available at: www.roadtripnation.com/htr/grants/.


Roadtrip Nation RV

RTN’s Southern Tour will visit 15 universities and colleges, and they will visit 35 institutions nationwide this year. Heintz said she was inspired by Roadtrip Nation’s mission, and, after finishing graduate school, she was able to combine her passion for music and inspiring others.

Whether it is a traditional career or one that begins with a road trip, now is the time to start the quest, said Dr. Denisha Sanders director of UNCP’s Career Center.

“It’s never too early to start your career planning,” Dr. Sanders. “Career Services assists UNCP students with all aspects of career planning from choosing a major or career to resume building and interview training.”
RTN began in 2001 when a group of recent college grads decided to hit the road in an old green RV to see what else was out there besides the career plans that had been imposed on them by friends and family. After more than 17,000 miles of interviews with leaders in different careers, they learned simple but powerful career advice they had never gotten from their parents or college professors.

The RTN crew captured this advice on camera and turned the experience into a PBS documentary and a movement on college campuses to provide students the same opportunity to learn about careers and success from leaders across the country, said Lori Bumgarner, assistant director of UNCP’s Career Center.

“The road trip experience helps students develop networking skills and clarify career goals,” Bumgarner said. “College students have the chance to become part of this movement and the annual PBS documentary series through RTN’s ‘Behind the Wheel’ program.”

“Behind the Wheel” is RTN’s annual summer road trip where three teams of three students each from official RTN campuses are selected to travel across the country in three new green RVs with an RTN film crew that documents the experience for the television series on PBS. “Behind the Wheel” creates a for-students-by-students social movement that exposes this generation to the different ways they can build their careers and their lives.

Every fall semester, RTN tours the country in its big green RV to visit all of their partner campuses to get students involved in their programs and career exploration. One of the reasons RTN was so interested in selecting UNCP as a partner campus is because of the cultural diversity of its student body.

 “We’ve really been looking forward to our visit to UNCP,” said Jason Manion, RTN representative. “It’s exciting to finally be here and talk with your students. The hospitality and the student interest here has been overwhelming.”

For more information about Roadtrip Nation, visit their Web site at www.roadtripnation.com or contact Lori Bumgarner in the UNCP Career Center. Copies of their book “Finding the Open Road” and DVDs of their PBS documentary are available in the Career Center library in Room 210 of the University Center.