ETSU senior Charles “Chuck” Fleming seems like the modern-day equivalent of a Renaissance man. A computer science major from Cookeville, he is equally at home with computers, music and the Japanese language.
Michael Wallace, 2013-2014 president of East Tennessee State University’s Student Government Association, points out that “Chuck was appointed chief of staff of the SGA. He has been instrumental in resolving the voting ‘clicker’ system difficulties and works in other technical capacities beyond the understanding of most of us.”
Fleming explains, “I’ve had an interest in computers for as long as I can remember. My father graduated from ETSU with a degree in computer science, so we’ve always had a computer around the house. I began playing games on the computer and had to learn simple DOS commands to navigate to locate and launch my games. That evolved into working with Microsoft Word and Excel, editing photos with Photoshop, using recording software to produce music, and eventually writing functional software in a variety of languages.”
While he was in high school, Fleming was introduced to Japanese when a good friend began studying the language. When he came to ETSU, he continued his studies. He enjoys learning about Japanese culture, and says, “The classes here are every bit as much fun as they are informative.”
Fleming also developed an interest in music while in high school. “I took piano lessons from the time I was in fifth grade until my freshman year in high school,” he says. “Then I began teaching myself to play the guitar. My little sister provided motivation. She began playing, and I just couldn’t let her play an instrument that I couldn’t!”
Eventually, he returned to the keyboard, but this time through synthesizers. “I’ve been playing those ever since,” he says, “along with drums and bass guitar. And, in the past five years, I’ve become fairly proficient at recording and producing music. The recording classes at ETSU really helped me.”
Fleming’s love of music finds other expressions, too. “I sang in choirs all my life and greatly enjoyed singing in the ETSU Chorale my first two years here. It is an awesome group.”
Once he graduates next May, Fleming has many options to consider. “I’d like to keep working on my education,” he says, “with a master’s degree in computer science and then an M.B.A. After that, I might get a job programming or maybe work on virtual instruments or on software in Japan. Perhaps I’ll move to Japan and teach English. I’m not entirely sure what will happen, but I’m confident ETSU has prepared me for whatever it may be, and I’m bound to enjoy it immensely.”