Press Release

New Podcast Series Profiles the “1 in 5” Student Parents Navigating College During the Pandemic
Undergraduate student parents and supporters share the challenges, triumphs, and unique needs of the more than 1 in 5 college students who are parents,

Contact: Brendan Creamer, Brendan.Creamer@aspeninstitute.org

Washington, DC1 in 5, a captivating new podcast from Ascend at the Aspen Institute, features in-depth conversations with students who are parents to share a glimpse into what it is like to navigate school, parenting, work, and life during the pandemic. Each of the 15 episodes, reported by journalists based around the country, provides a portrait of student parents and their family as well as insights from education, philanthropy, non-profit, and research experts.

1 in 5 is produced by podcast network Lantigua Williams & Co. and moderated by award-winning journalist Pamela Kirkland. Episodes give listeners an unfiltered look at how postsecondary  students strive to graduate and balance their course load, job, mental health, finances, and more while raising children. Notably, guests share timely insight into how their lives have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic — from serving as their children’s teachers and gaining access to laptops to coping with mental health issues and maintaining employment. 

The show’s title derives from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study statistic that found more than one in five college students, or 22 percent of all undergraduates, are parents. Guests also share details about the two-generation (2Gen) approach that builds family well-being by intentionally and simultaneously supporting children and parents together. Episodes feature organizations that are supporting both parents’ academic pursuits and their children’s well-being, including Ascend Network Partners such as Generation Hope, the Los Angeles Valley College Family Resource Center, and the City University of New York Fatherhood Academy.

1 in 5 is a project led by the Aspen Postsecondary Success for Parents (PSP) Initiative – a partnership between Ascend at the Aspen Institute, Imaginable Futures, and ECMC Foundation - that raises awareness about and shares strategies to better support student parents. A cohort of Ascend PSP Parent Advisors collaborates with the Initiative by sharing their first-hand experience and expertise as student parents to inform policy and practice recommendations.

“This show will share our journey, not just our story,” said Drayton Jackson, Ascend PSP Parent Advisor and board director for the Central Kitsap School District 3 . “You’ll learn how we’ve dealt with life challenges and persevered. Being a student parent goes way beyond just managing our time. Many times, I had to make hard decisions at the expense of my education to be there for my children. I know this show will help other student parents feel seen and understood.”

“Lifting up the real-life stories and solutions of parents offers powerful promise as we rebuild better and boldly together,” said Anne Mosle, vice president at the Aspen Institute and executive director of Ascend. “1 in 5 beautifully captures the courage and resilience of families. I continue to be inspired by Ascend’s Parent Advisors for their determination to accomplish their goals and improve their family’s well-being. My hope is that each episode inspires researchers, educators, and policymakers alike to create and advocate for more resources to advance postsecondary success for parents. More organizations, like Lantigua Williams & Co., need to respectfully curate these important student parent stories so parent voices can be heard, understood, and valued.”

“What a privilege to tell the stories of remarkable people who are having a transformational impact on themselves, their families and communities, and our country at large,” said Juleyka Lantigua-Williams, chief executive officer of Lantigua Williams & Co. “Creating 1 in 5 with Ascend’s dedicated team was a welcomed respite from the chaos of the last year—and an inspiring reminder of the life force each of us carries within.” 

Listen to the 1 in 5 trailer here. Episodes of 1 in 5 can be found at https://ascend.aspeninstitute.org/1in5podcast/. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music, and other podcast platforms.

Ascend at the Aspen Institute is the national hub for breakthrough ideas and collaborations that move children and their parents toward educational success, economic security, and health and well-being. We embrace a commitment to racial equity and a gender lens. For more information, visit http://ascend.aspeninstitute.org

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 the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.

Pamela Kirkland is an award-winning journalist based in Atlanta, GA. She’s covered breaking news events around the country ranging from hurricanes to presidential elections. Previously, she worked at the PBS NewsHour as a general assignment producer reporting long-form stories looking at the opioid crisis, immigration, education, and more. She joined the NewsHour in 2015 from the Washington Post where she was part of the video team that produced the Emmy-nominated “N-word Project.” She’s traveled the country covering four presidential campaigns, Congress, and the White House. She graduated with a degree in Political Science and Communication from the University of Pittsburgh. Follow her @PamelaKirkland.

Lantigua Williams & Co., Inc. is a Peabody Award-nominated digital production studio founded in 2017 with the mission of supporting storytellers working in audio and film. The network produces podcasts, documentaries, films, and other types of original narrative-driven works. Visit LantiguaWilliams.com or @LanWilCo to learn more.


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