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Desert Financial Scholarship recipient graduates, levels up his career


Michael Tagle, ASU Online graduate

Michael Tagle graduates this fall with a Bachelor of Science in digital audiences from ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication thanks to opportunities provided by the InvestED program, a partnership between ASU and Desert Financial Credit Union to provide employees with the opportunity to pursue their undergraduate degrees through ASU Online.


December 13, 2022
Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2022 graduates.

Michael Tagle graduates this fall with a Bachelor of Science in digital audiences from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, an achievement that has been 24 years in the making. 

The Litchfield Park native was born and raised in Arizona. After graduating from high school, he enrolled in courses at a local community college but abandoned his coursework after a few semesters to dedicate his time to pursuing work. 

“I worked in numerous roles in a local Mexican food restaurant for about eight years before moving towards a career in the financial industry,” Tagle said. “I have worked for Desert Financial Credit Union for almost 15 years. I absolutely love working for an organization that supports its employees with many benefits.”

One of those benefits is the InvestED program, a partnership between Arizona State University and Desert Financial Credit Union to provide employees with the opportunity to pursue their undergraduate degrees through ASU Online

“The ASU Desert Financial Scholarship was the push I needed to return to school,” Tagle said. “With my daughters beginning their educational journey, I wanted to set an example of how important education is. I immediately knew this was my opportunity. With the scholarship, I was able to pursue my degree in a field that I hope to transition into.”

New opportunities are already opening up for him, thanks to the digital audiences program. 

“I was promoted into a role at Desert Financial that gives me the opportunity to learn more about lead generation through our online channels,” Tagle said. “It is not directly in the digital audiences field, but I get to engage with those in that department.”

He takes pride in the work he completed and looks forward to applying his new skills to future projects.

“The final capstone course was the most meaningful because it gave us the opportunity to showcase the skills that we learned in the pursuit of our degree,” Tagle said. “It was great to work with a real-life client and identify a strategy and content that can help make their business successful.”

Keep reading to learn more about Tagle’s academic journey with ASU Online.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: I was looking through the material provided regarding what opportunities were available. When I saw “digital audiences” and had the opportunity to learn more about it, I immediately gravitated to this field. I am highly intrigued by the impacts of social media in regards to marketing and how to generate business for companies.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU Online — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: I was not sure what to expect with online courses. I will say I was surprised by how easy it was to navigate through Canvas. I also enjoyed that I could easily access Canvas on any device. If grades came in and I was not near my laptop, I could view them on my phone through the app.

Q: Why did you choose ASU Online?

A: With a demanding position at Desert Financial, ASU Online allowed for the flexibility to study and complete assignments at night or on the weekends. This allowed me to plan out each day to determine my study schedule.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU Online?

A: I took a travel writing course with Professor Sarah Viren. Overall, the course itself taught me a lot about my writing capabilities. But specifically, Professor Viren taught me how to express my thoughts through writing. I thoroughly enjoyed this class because I could share my work with my wife, as the writings were relative to our life.

Most recently, Professor Elizabeth Mays taught me how to navigate through working with a real-life client in our capstone course. The coursework was rigorous but throughout the course, Professor Mays was there every step of the way.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: It is so important to create a study schedule. It will help you stay on track with the course material and ensure you don't miss any deadlines. 

Q: What was your favorite spot for power studying?

A: Most of the time I was in our bedroom studying. After we would put our daughters to bed, I would get set up and study through the night.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I am going to continue working at Desert Financial. My hope is to advance into a role where I can share my knowledge and skills relative to my studies.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I would tackle problems surrounding children and their access to education, health care and food. I do believe children are our future. We need to set them up for success. And it starts with providing them access to health care and food. No child should have to worry about these basic elements for survival. And with the proper education, each child can have the opportunity to live out their dreams.

Written by Margot LaNoue for ASU Online

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