Alumni Spotlight: Tia Cole
Tia Cole, a graduate of UNO’s Master of Arts in English program, describes herself as someone committed to “sharing her story as well as helping people to articulate theirs.” Her story starts at a premature birth. She explained how “the doctor told [her] mom that [she] would be special needs and not able to learn like other kids.” Despite the doctor’s predictions, Tia went on to become a first-generation college graduate who left a path of honors, AP programs, and academic excellence behind her. She received her bachelor’s degree in Education & Human Sciences with a focus on Secondary Education from UNL only to follow it up later with her master’s degree in English from UNO.
After college, Cole taught in both Omaha, Nebraska and Houston, Texas before becoming a full time English instructor for Tarrant County College in 2013. Beyond teaching, she is currently an executive board member of the Fort Worth Public Library Foundation as well as an executive board member and the Education Committee Chair for the Arlington Texas NAACP. In addition to all these roles, Cole is also the founder and CEO of The Cole Lab LLC. Cole describes The Cole Lab as a developmental business that she started “in late 2016 in response to a continual demand for my services in the areas of development.” The entrepreneurial project defines itself as “your development destination.” According to Cole that development involves both people and programs. The Cole Lab offers a wide variety of assistance involving education solutions while also providing training and coaching programs. A message from Cole on the website for The Cole Lab explains her belief that “education is an unparalleled equalizer when leveraged against poverty, discrimination, crime and the like,” but a narrow view of education limits human potential.
Cole sees her UNO English degree as what opened the path to her current career and as a tool that “helped develop the expertise she uses in many aspects of her business.” She believes that her experience at UNO contributes to her success in leadership, composition, and pedagogy among other things. Whether it is in the classroom or at The Cole Lab, Tia is “focused on adding value to people and organizations” by developing leadership, inclusivity, and literacy. You can learn more about her work with The Cole Lab at www.thecolelab.net or connect with them here www.facebook.com/yourdevelopmentdestination.