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Howling Success

Howling Success: Nathan Campbell

Nathan Campbell is a fourth-year student with a jam-packed schedule, and that's just how he wants it. He takes pride in leading several organizations dedicated to helping Native American students find success at NC State.

Nathan Campbell shows off his Howling Success banner in front of the Wolf Plaza statues.
Nathan Campbell shows off his Howling Success banner in front of the Wolf Plaza statues.

Nathan Campbell, a fourth-year NC State student studying Computer Science, is, by his own description, “a pretty busy guy.” 

And that’s just how he likes it. 

“At the end of the day, I’d rather be busy and do something than sit around,” Campbell said. “I want to turn around and look and ask myself, what have I done, and how have I helped not only myself but other people.”

The bulk of Campbell’s work helping others revolves around supporting the Native American community at NC State and offering guidance to his fellow Native students. 

Nathan Campbell (middle) gathers with other Native students at NC State’s Powwow.

Campbell belongs to the Lumbee tribe, and his father is Waccamaw Siouan. Native American male students have the lowest graduation rate of any demographic, so Campbell works with and leads several organizations on campus designed to help them succeed in and out of the classroom. 

“My biggest thing is I really want to see students come on this campus and be successful,” Campbell said. 

One of Campbell’s biggest involvements at NC State is as the president of Phi Sigma Nu Fraternity Inc., an organization he joined in 2021. 

Phi Sigma Nu Fraternity Inc. is a Native-based fraternity first founded at UNC-Pembroke, and is dedicated to supporting tribal families and communities in America and the world. 

Nathan Campbell hangs out with his fellow students at Phi Sigma Nu Fraternity Inc.’s cookout.

“I can say that’s one of the better things I’ve done on this campus,” Campbell said. “It has allowed me to grow. We are a platform for Native men. My biggest focus is getting Native students, especially Native men, the resources that they need to be successful on this campus. I think the fraternity has allowed me a platform and given me a resource to do that.” 

My biggest focus is getting Native students, especially Native men, the resources that they need to be successful on this campus.

Campbell also serves as a Multicultural Scholars Symposium Mentor for Multicultural Student Affairs. At the beginning of each school year, the symposium is a three-to-four-day process that starts with the mentors receiving Title IX training and leadership training. 

They then greet new students arriving at NC State and spend the week helping them find their way around campus with activities such as organization fairs and tours, as well as teaching them about resources to help them succeed on campus. 

“Those kids are coming from all different walks of life, in-state, out-of-state, whatever,” said Multicultural Student Affairs Assistant Director Gavin Bell. “Nathan has done that consistently with us for about three years now. His students clearly love him, because they continue to follow up with him and check in even long after the program finishes, which is only in August. They’ll still be following up with him in the spring semester, checking in and all that good stuff. So he’s just a really good asset for not only community building, but also from a programmatic lens.”

As a computer science major, Campbell was also instrumental in bringing the American Indians in Science and Engineering Society back to NC State. 

The organization, which focuses on helping native students in STEM areas of study make professional connections, was at NC State from 1999-2020 before shutting down during the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with another student, Campbell re-opened bank accounts and re-established the organization. 

In 2022, the organization went to a conference in Palm Springs, and, in 2023, brought a record 15 students to Spokane, Washington, giving them the opportunity to experience a trip across the country. 

“I think a lot of times, Native students grow up in really small communities, and they think the world is small or only at home,” Campbell said. When you get in a plane and fly 2,000 miles, you look over, you see the Grand Canyon, you see the Mississippi, you’re like, whoa! It’s kind of eye-opening.”

In addition to his work as a leader in the Native community, Campbell is also involved in several celebrations of Native American culture at NC State. 

Nathan Campbell dances at the NC State Powwow.

In 2023, he was the student chair of the NC State Powwow, an annual celebration of indigenous culture. This involved coordinating over 700 vendors, dancers and staff, managing the location at Miller Field and managing a budget of over $10,000. 

“We come out, we drum, we sing, we show our cultures, there’s a little bit of a competitive side to it,” Campbell said. “It’s a really good thing for the native community, especially the ones here who can’t go home all the time, to come in here and have that fellowship, see people they haven’t seen in years, it’s really just a pillar of our community. It was definitely the biggest thing that I’ve ever done, so taking on all that responsibility and being able to see all of those smiling faces on the day made everything worth it.” 

This year, Campbell danced during the opening ceremony of the Powwow, held March 30 at Miller Fields. 

It’s really just a pillar of our community.

He also helped reintroduce the Indigenous Drum Group to campus for the first time since 2020 last year. The group practices in Talley, and recently performed at the Powwow. 

“I think it’s just a really good thing that we’ve been able to bring up a tradition that had been kind of dead,” Campbell said. “I was the last one to know about it, so if I didn’t take initiative, we might not have it.”

Campbell is motivated to succeed and actively participates in several campus organizations. He feels a sense of responsibility towards his family and tribe, which drives him to give his best in everything he does, not just for his own future but to represent his community positively.

He wants to set a good example for other young Native students, especially in his hometown in Robeson County, and demonstrate the importance of pursuing higher education. 

“Even when I go home, you sit there and realize that your whole family thinks you’re number one, you’re doing all this,” Campbell said. “And then you kind of translate it to while you’re here, and you get lost in the forest for the trees. You don’t realize how far you’ve actually come.” 

“I’ll get a phone call from someone asking me to talk with their son who is coming to State. I’ll sit there and talk for hours with them. I have a vested interest in being part of this community. People have done that for me, so I think it’s my responsibility to do the same thing for the ones behind me and to bring everybody up.”

In his free time, Campbell likes to work out at the Wellness and Recreation Center, as well as play basketball, pickleball and golf. 

I want to allow people a platform and jumping off point to set their own career and trajectory.

After graduation, Campbell has a job lined up at Bank of America in Charlotte, where he’ll start in July. He said he hopes to work in the software engineering industry but also wants to connect with NC State as an alumnus and continue working with Native students, especially those studying STEM disciplines. 

“I want to allow people a platform and jumping off point to set their own career and trajectory,” he said. 

One thing’s certain: when he leaves NC State, Campbell will feel satisfied about his goal of looking back and seeing how he’s helped other people. 

He stated, “I think I can confidently say at the end of graduation that I can turn around and have no regrets about what I’ve done.”