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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Roadtrip Nation


In their Roadtrip Nation journey last fall, three Old Dominion students zigzagged more than 1,000 miles across the Northeast in a big green RV, interviewing University alumni.

The meandering trip, facilitated by national career exploration organization Roadtrip Nation, provided an apt metaphor for the ODU students' own experiences.

The three students - Stephanie Rochelle, Mikalah Lake and Chase Hewitt - attended the premiere of the webcast series chronicling their journey on April 25 at Webb University Center.

All have faced challenges during their time at Old Dominion.

Rochelle is a mature student with adult children. Lake dealt with significant family health issues and anxiety about her career prospects. Hewitt is an engineering student who has taken a little longer to complete his studies, discovering this fact: Engineering is hard.

Roadtrip Nation followed the students as they spent 10 days in November visiting and interviewing 10 alumni in Virginia, Washington, Philadelphia and New York.

The students learned that the alumni experienced their own trials on the way to success. "It was really empowering to meet people who, in a way, share our experience," Hewitt said.

"Just do the next right thing," Shamina Singh '91 counseled the students when they interviewed her at her New York office.

Lake said Singh, president of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, was particularly inspiring: She minored in women's studies, Lake's undergraduate major, and pursued her passion. Singh, she said, "is someone I can aspire to be someday."

Indeed, none of the ODU alumni interviewed by the students immediately jumped on the elevator to success. It took many twists and turns for them to reach ultimate satisfaction with where life has taken them.

That is the message Roadtrip Nation seeks to convey: People must define their own roads in life.

ODU was one of only four schools nationwide to participate in the Roadtrip program. At "The Final Stop," the April 25 event at Old Dominion, students played web episodes of the program and shared anecdotes from 10 days on the road.

"I consider Mikalah and Chase to be like a younger sister and brother now," Rochelle said. "We had our little arguments but came out of the experience as such good friends."

The ODU Roadtrip Nation webisodes and trailer can be seen at rtn.is/odu.

University alumni are encouraged to engage with students and share their professional successes through Roadtrip Nation's "Share Your Road" platform at odu.shareyourroad.com.

The trip was funded by a grant from the Strada Education Network.

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