Science tools, molecules and beakers

PROMISE summer camp: A camper perspective

Sanford PROMISE offers summer camp experiences for teens that provides them with hands-on experience in a biomedical research lab setting. These day- camps allow students to dive deep into a science topic such as genetics, anatomy, and engineering. We talked to a student who has attended multiple PROMISE camps to learn about her experience.

Mazzi Moore is a freshman at Brandon Valley High School in Brandon, SD. She was in 6th grade when she attended her first PROMISE camp.

 Mazzi Moore Profile Picture

Tell us about your experience with PROMISE summer camp. What stands out to you? What were some of your favorite moments?

Mazzi: I've been attending PROMISE summer camps consistently for the past few years, so clearly, the program has something amazing to offer. When I registered for my first program, I was a typical nerdy kid who loved STEM and quickly agreed to sacrifice part of my summer to attend a "science" camp. This "science" camp turned out to be one of Sanford PROMISE's summer programs at the Washington Pavilion, and I've kept signing up ever since. From the beginning, I was fascinated by the official-looking equipment and exciting experiments and lectures. Although that might've been enough to check all my boxes as a middle schooler, I have now realized the immense list of other exceptional qualities displayed by the program. First, the instructors are incredible. They are always present to help and to answer your questions in the kindest manner. Although they are adults, their teaching styles create a friendly atmosphere of discovery. Additionally, the programs allow you to explore your interests and passions in a hands-on fashion; each camp exposes you to a new realm of ideas that invites exciting futures. Even though I have adored looking at my DNA, dissecting sheep lungs, and watching worms wriggle under a microscope, my most vivid memory at Sanford PROMISE would have to be touring the research facility for the first time. Seeing the researchers hard at work and all the complicated machinery made my jaw drop. It shocked me that you could actually be a "scientist," that it was an actual career. My Sanford PROMISE experience has been an absolutely incredible opportunity.

How is a PROMISE camp different than other summer camps you have attended?

Mazzi: PROMISE camps are dramatically different from any other summer camp that you could attend. The programs are incredibly individualized with small class sizes that allow you to develop long-term bonds and relationships as well as receive personalized attention from instructors. The materials and tools available for the experiments and activities make the visits and camps even more memorable. There is also an exhilarating chance for career development. Most youth programs do not focus on this key component, but Sanford PROMISE prioritizes speaking with researchers about their work in the Sanford Research Facility.


How have the PROMISE camps shaped your thoughts around future career opportunities?

Mazzi: The PROMISE camps have shaped my thoughts about career opportunities. My dad would always joke about how I was going to be a doctor when I was older, but during elementary school, I never would have thought that I'd be interested in anything medicine related. However, PROMISE programs have allowed me to explore biomedical engineering and see a side of the medical field that does not necessarily take place in a hospital. Although I've not decided on my career path officially, I have great interest in engineering and biology mainly due to the exposure of the PROMISE summer camps.


Would you recommend PROMISE camps to a friend? Why?

Mazzi: I would recommend PROMISE camps to a friend without any hesitation. In fact, I have already shared my experience with numerous individuals, some of whom even attended a camp following our discussion. Overall, the Sanford PROMISE experience is astoundingly memorable; the environment is one rooted in furthering learning, exploration, and discovery. When I first attended a PROMISE camp, I had little idea about future career choices and just thought that it sounded interesting. However, I have gone on to participate in almost every opportunity through Sanford PROMISE that is available and will continue coming back. My most important piece of advice is to not be intimidated by the programs. Even if you are uncertain about your future goals or have questions about the medical field, the purpose of the camps is to explore and develop your interests. In my opinion, anyone with a thirst for knowledge and the slightest underlying interest in STEM or medicine would find the PROMISE camps incredibly rewarding.


Visit to learn more about the current summer camp offerings.