Today we air Episode 5 of Upgraded by Hobsons, a free monthly podcast accessible through iTunes, featuring stories and interviews with students and educators exploring innovative topics in K-12 and higher education. Join more than 1 million listeners who have made Upgraded one of the most popular education podcasts on the air.

In this episode, we hear from an official with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative how well-timed texts can preserve the college-going ambitions of students. We explore why the goal of creating diverse, welcoming campuses is still far from accomplished and how volunteering in your community helps you to learn. And we learn about a popular college course on the economics of love and sex.

Here’s a preview:

Timely Texts: There are many reasons high school graduates experience “summer melt,” failure to follow through on their college-bound intentions. But research shows that well-timed texts with specific, actionable messages can counteract this trend. We hear from University of Virginia Assistant Professor Ben Castleman, who leads the Up Next campaign for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative, and Alex Chewning of uAspire.

Diversity on Campus: Increased diversity on college campuses is a goal for most institutions, but how is that working out? We talk to college student Mason Greer and Lorelle Espinosa, of the American Council on Education, about the challenges of creating a truly diverse culture.

Community Service: American teen-agers do more community service than any other age group in the country -- a collective 1.3 billion hours a year. And more of them are doing it. Almost twice as many 12th graders volunteered in 2014 than in the year 2000. You might think these kids want to get a leg up on the college admissions race, but there are academic benefits to volunteering. We talk to Michele Pitman, CEO of Hobsons partner intelliVOL.

Harbor School: At this school in New York, the day starts on a boat and then moves to the beach. Its city-dwelling students are learning through nature.

Weird 101: The Economics of Love and Sex: There’s an off-the-beaten-path course being taught at a Canadian university. Listen in to learn about the connections between love, sex, and economics.

To listen to Episode 5, subscribe to Upgraded today. It’s free!

Your comments and your ideas are also welcome. You can comment directly through iTunes, tweet us using #UpgradedbyHobsons, or email us at


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