This is part of a monthly “Why I Chose Education” series in which NC State College of Education alumni, students, faculty and staff share why they chose education.
As an undergraduate at NC State, Tangie Fleming ‘98, ‘24PHD enrolled in engineering. But when the engineering program didn’t feel like the right “fit,” she transferred into the College of Education’s technology, engineering, and design education program, where she earned her bachelor’s degree with a minor in graphic communications.
While pursuing her undergraduate degree, Fleming landed a part-time student job with the then NC State Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Development J. Lin Dawson, who did consulting work in the sports industry. He gave her the opportunity to help on some of his projects with the NBA and Major League Soccer. And that sparked her interest in consulting.
“I liked how his consulting work gave him the opportunity to do things he enjoyed while also doing his ‘regular job,’ so when I graduated, I started designing websites and marketing materials as a side hustle,” Fleming said.
The knowledge and skills she gained from the technology, engineering, and design education program — especially the skills from her graphic communications minor — and her job experience allowed Fleming to start her own digital and print media consulting company, TGF Consulting, Inc., in 2013, where she currently serves as president. She also works as the program manager for the Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs at NC State.
Most of Fleming’s professional and consulting experiences have been at universities or working with education programs. When she returned to NC State to pursue her Master of Arts in liberal studies with a minor in business administration, her main source of income was her design work, which became the driving force behind her landing a full-time job with the NC State Graduate School after completing her master’s degree.
Now, Fleming is enrolled in the NC State College of Education’s Ph.D. in Learning and Teaching in STEM in the engineering and technology education program area of study.
“My previous experience fully prepared me for everything I’ve done professionally up to this point, and this degree will give me more experience, and honestly, leverage, as I continue to expand my educational consulting services,” Fleming said.
Because of her background in graphic communications, Fleming is generally hired at the conclusion of program evaluations and research projects to design the final reports. Several of her clients, she says, have told her that an advantage to working with her is that, unlike many evaluators and researchers, she has the design experience to use data visualization techniques to help make the reports easier to understand and “look pretty.” And, unlike most designers, Fleming says, she has the research evaluation experience that allows her to be able to understand the data well enough to accurately convey it in a more visually-pleasing format.
“This Ph.D. will help me further my work because I will have a great understanding of true data visualization techniques while also having a better understanding of data in general. It will also help me acquire skills to teach others about data visualization as well,” she said.
As a wife, mother and dog lover, when Fleming isn’t studying or working, she enjoys college basketball, intelligent conversation, IKEA and Starbucks. But the most important thing is spending time with her family and her new adopted puppy, Cara, a four-month-old lab mix.
Fleming shares why she chose the NC State College of Education, what she enjoys most about the college, how education has shaped her as an educational consultant and an experience within the College of Education that impacted her life.
Why I Chose the NC State College of Education: It is and always has felt like “home.” I have worked as an educational consultant and have recently had opportunities which allow for more consulting. I felt that now was a good time to further my education in order to make myself more marketable as a consultant, and hopefully teach, as well as provide information to others that has been provided to me.
What I Enjoy Most About Being a Part of the NC State College of Education: I enjoy the people, though unfortunately I’ve only met everyone virtually this year. I like how classmates work together and support each other — even posting encouraging messages in the chat section of Zoom. The professors I’ve had have been amazingly supportive — something I didn’t expect.
How Education Has Shaped Me: I’ve always said, “You know what you know.” I personally always want to know more. Education has given me a more evaluative view of things in general and of the world in which we live.
An Experience in the College of Education That Has Changed Me: Not so much an experience, but a person. Dr. Alice Scales, who is now retired, was my advisor as an undergraduate, and served on my committee for my M.A. in liberal studies in 2002. From the first time I met her back in the mid-90s, she was one to encourage and support me, especially when I was ready to give up. She was also willing to write one of my recommendation letters when I decided to apply to school this time around, and continued to be supportive through that entire process. Now if I can just convince her to serve on my committee for this degree…
What Others Should Know About the College of Education: It is a supportive, encouraging community of people who want you to be successful.