VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (September 14, 2020) – On August 8, 2020, Caleb Stern, (SCA, ’11) and three of his colleagues at the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) earned an Emmy Award for their video work on behalf of NASA. It is an honor that came unexpectedly that Stern speaks of with great humility.
“Winning an Emmy was always something to strive for, but I was floored when it happened,” he shared. “I always try to make the story the best it can be, but to showcase creation … knowing personally that the heavens declare the glory of God … and to have that work acknowledged by others in the industry is very rewarding.”
The video series began as a simple request from his boss to help put together a two-part series through which a subject matter expert would share what it’s like to be a scientist at NASA and then team up with a colleague to explain why carbon is essential for life on earth. As media program manager and a producer of the project, Stern conducted the interview, edited the biographical segment, and delivered the final product to the client.
Fast forward several months, and Stern received word that the work was submitted to the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) for Emmy consideration. Next, it advanced to “nomination” status in the Informational/Instructional – Feature/Segment/Series category. The actual win has been a catalyst for Stern to reflect on God’s ability to fit together talents and passions as only He can.
“Throughout high school, I was making short videos with my friends with a small camera and a chintzy tripod, and it was incredibly rewarding but not exactly the most stable launching pad for my future.”
A natural math and science guy but also highly creative, Stern attempted to bring those worlds together by earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering from a local university. Engineering degree in hand, he couldn’t shake his love for film and that nagging desire to “just go for it.” That’s when he got the buy-in from his family to pursue his MFA in Film-Television from Regent University.
He found his sweet spot behind the camera.
“I had an idea of the different steps of making a video; there’s the basic principles that I abided by as a kid. But studying at Regent gave me the confidence,” said Stern. The collaborative Christian environment made room for the talents of many artists “to make something special, something awesome.” And they had a lot of fun while they did the work. Through this season of high growth, Stern began to assemble a strong portfolio of student and freelance projects. He also honed the interpersonal side of working effectively on creative teams – a skill that serves him well today.
Post graduate school, Stern freelanced in film for a few years but eventually wanted something more stable – a personal goal before he asked his then-girlfriend to marry him. He calls his work with NASA his “no-way-under-the-sun-does-this-exist” position. Yet, “lo and behold,” here he is, combining his technical expertise with engineering and love for video creation. And, for the record, he got the wife too. Stern also shared that just two years ago, he and his bride welcomed their first child, a rosey-cheek, cherub-like daughter. Already, she loves a good children’s story about the wonder of creation.
Stern is still a taking in his recent Emmy win with gratitude for the gifts he’s received professionally and personally and bolstered sureness in his creative insights. He acknowledges the temptation to let the busyness and stress of the day-to-day work overshadow the joys of the process, and so lays out this challenge for himself and for others: “To the best of your ability, you have to do what you love, making room for God’s next steps – even when you can’t see them coming.”
Founded in 1978, Regent University has more than 11,000 students studying on its 70-acre campus in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and online around the world. The university offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from a Christian perspective in 135+ areas of study including business, communication and the arts, counseling, cybersecurity, divinity, education, government, law, leadership, nursing, healthcare and psychology. Regent University, ranked among top national universities (U.S. News & World Report, 2020), is one of only 23 universities nationally to receive an “A” rating for its comprehensive liberal arts core curriculum.
The School of Communication & the Arts is ranked among the Top 5 Most Prestigious Communication Programs in Virginia (Plexuss, 2020). Equipped with a $35 million Communication & Performing Arts Center, this state-of-the-art school produces over 100 student films per year and has won over 500 national and international student film awards. The school offers on campus and online degree programs in highly competitive fields, including Master of Arts in Communication, Film-Television (Producing, Production, Script Writing), Journalism, and Theatre; Master of Fine Arts in Acting and Film-Television (Directing, Producing, and Script & Screenwriting); Doctor of Strategic Communication and Ph.D. in Communication.