Mike Marriner

Ashoka Fellow
Costa Mesa, CA, United States, North America
Fellow Since 2014
Roadtrip Nation
My work: Helping students define their own roads in life by exposing them to an unlimited number of careers & pathways.

Citation

This profile was prepared when Mike Marriner was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2014.
The New Idea
In an effort to make education relevant, Mike and the team are expanding the focus of today’s K-12 education system beyond mastery of content standards and grade completion, to one that instead aims to help students identify and pursue their passions, and the educational pathways required to get there. To date, Roadtrip Nation (RTN) has developed a 3,500 video database featuring interviews with people from across the country – from the CEO of National Geographic, to stand-up comedians, to rocket scientists and lobster fishermen – and organized them by interest and theme. A student interested in food, for instance, can comb through 31 different leaders who have built their careers on a shared passion, learning how they got there and what they did to overcome obstacles along the way.

Mike realized that Roadtrip Nation could play a role similar to that of the Myers-Briggs test, which high school guidance counselors and others have long used as a tool to help students better understand themselves and others. He and the team thus developed a 12-part curriculum, comprised of online lessons pulled from their interview archive, journal activities, and a process through which young people create their own “Roadtrip Nation Experience.”

Rather than attempt to implement the program themselves, Mike is partnering with an array of key networks comprised of guidance counselors and educators in need of better tools to deepen student engagement and improve career readiness, with the result that more than 100,000 high school students in 22 states have participated in the Roadtrip Nation Experience in the four and a half years since it launched. Their reach within schools is complemented by an extensive grassroots network, powered by an annual PBS television show, live events on more than 350 college campuses, and a best-selling book, all aimed at helping people young and old answer the age-old question, “What do you want to do with your life?”
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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