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On Becoming WISE: From Camper to College Student

December 3, 2020

Written by Beth Anne Johnson, College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences

From summer camp to college freshman, Skyler Holland is back on campus to craft a bright future and create success. Hailing from Hampton, South Carolina, Holland joins the 4200 first-year students on campus this fall as a general engineering student in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences.

Skyler Holland, General Engineering

Inspired by her days as a middle school camper, Holland is working hard and studying often in hopes of joining the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “I was inspired by the solar panel robots we built during Project WISE,” she explains, “I loved taking it apart, studying the mechanics and piecing it back together.”

As a part of the educational outreach programs, PEER & WISE hosts 60 middle school students each summer. The campers then participate in the foundations of engineering, computing and applied science with hands-on and engaging opportunities taught by Clemson University faculty.

“The faculty are an integral part of our success at Project WISE,” says Serita Acker, executive director of PEER & WISE, “They join us in celebrating diversity and inclusion in STEM education and even more so, that these fields are fun and for everyone.”

Holland’s experience from camper to college freshman demonstrates the viability of these engagement opportunities with young students. Holland shares, “I knew Clemson was the place for me. It felt like home then, and it feels like home now.”

“We love to hear stories like Skyler’s,” shares Beth Anne Johnson, associate director of the WISE Program. “It lets us know we are doing our part to recruit and retain South Carolina’s best and brightest students.”

Holland joins the Clemson family during unprecedented times, but as Johnson shares, Holland seems well adjusted and making the most of her first year at Clemson. “We met over Zoom and enjoyed getting to know one another! Skyler expressed how she would like to help with Project WISE in future summers and I could not be more delighted. How powerful it would be for young campers to hear her story!”

Project WISE, 2019

Plans for Project WISE are already in the works with camp counselor applications opening February 2021. Without a doubt, PEER & WISE is looking forward to serving a new cohort of campers. For more information about our Project WISE camp, visit our website.