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Celebrating Silver

SATELLITE camp marks 25 years of introducing high school students to STEM, NC State and the Caldwell Fellows program.

By Stacy Chandler

Now in its 25th year, the SATELLITE camp run by Caldwell Fellows is designed to give high school sophomores from rural North Carolina counties a weeklong preview of STEM careers and areas of study. Along the way, they get a taste of college life as they stay in dorms and work with professors — and some end up attending NC State.

Zayne Perkins, a sophomore from Bayboro, N.C., was one of those campers a few years ago, and he remembers the enthusiasm he saw in the Caldwell Fellows running the camp. As a high school sophomore, Perkins learned about engineering and teamwork through a group project — building a container to protect an egg from a drop off the Dan Allen parking deck — during camp.

“I think the biggest thing I got from SATELLITE was what I needed to work on as a leader myself,” says Perkins, now a Caldwell Fellow majoring in marine science. “And also the importance of inclusion, making sure everybody’s voice was heard when we were doing group activities.”

Deepening the whole impact is the biggest goal.

Tiffany Williams, a sophomore nutrition education major and Caldwell Fellow from Henderson, N.C., came to the camp to see if a science career was for her. The experience helped her find her science spark and see some appealing career paths in her future. Those paths didn’t involve pursuing a degree from NC State — until she learned about the Caldwell program. “SATELLITE made me really want to go to State,” she says, “but Caldwell made me feel like I could go to State the way I wanted to, which was to live on campus and not get a bunch of student loans.”

A quarter century into the program, Caldwell program director Janice Odom ’94 PHD says SATELLITE has remained on mission. But she hopes an infusion of funding around its 25th anniversary will launch it into an even higher orbit. The university’s annual Day of Giving in March raised $40,000 for the camp, Odom says, and she hopes an endowment is in the near future.

“Deepening the whole impact is the biggest goal,” she says.

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