Dantzler Bonner | Farmville, North Carolina
Farmville is the kind of small town where everybody knows everybody and “word spreads pretty fast.” But it’s a community full of people who are quick to support each other and help out no matter what.
Dantzler Bonner sees some of Farmville in Campbell University (which has more students than her hometown has residents).
“Campbell just felt like family to me every time I visited,” she says. “Everybody seems so close.”
Bonner says she hopes to gain leadership skills and hands-on experience in her engineering classes during her undergraduate experience. She comes in with a bit more experience than other freshmen in those areas — she was a leader on her conference champion volleyball team, and she started her own small business designing logos and artwork during the pandemic (the business flourished).
“There are biases against young women in STEM fields, and I’d like to one day work to change those stereotypes,” she says. “I’d love to see more girls in STEM and help give them opportunities like I had and start when they’re young.”
These stories are only the beginning. For this edition of Campbell Magazine, they’re an introduction to 12 students —chosen randomly during the third of four summer orientations hosted on the main campus this year — and a documentation of expectations heading into a four-year college journey.
All 12 agreed to give us more than just the 20 minutes it took to talk and take a few photos back in June. They’re allowing us to check in over the next four years to help chronicle their Campbell experience. And they’ve all agreed to sit down with us again in May 2026 to share their updated stories (and take a few more photos). In order to tell a story of growth and maturation, it’s best to start at the very beginning.
These interviews revealed a heightened sense of hope for a group whose high school careers were defined and marred by a global pandemic. Online classes became the norm, and many of their gatherings and social events were masked or socially distanced. Proms, athletic events and milestone ceremonies were either canceled, altered or virtual.
“Man is, by nature, a social animal,” Aristotle once wrote. Second to earning a degree and starting a career, this class is eager to connect socially with their peers and become part of an “experience” and a community that they mostly missed out on in high school.
It’s our hope that all 12 of these students join us again in four years to tell us all about their Campbell experience. We’re confident that those who do will return older, wiser, more confident and ready to take on the world.
We’re excited to tell these stories. See you in 2026.