Undergraduate Dancer Brings Talent to the Workplace
For undergraduate student Mark Fangmeyer, dance class was just what the doctor
ordered. Literally. After his leg was run over by a car during his sophomore year
of high school, Fangmeyer’s doctor recommended dance classes for rehabilitation.
His initial response was, “You’ve got to be kidding me. I’m a football player.”
Fangmeyer was the quarterback for an undefeated JV football team, but a year later
he gave up football to concentrate completely on dance and tumbling. “All of a sudden
it was six to seven days a week, six or seven hours a day. Once I got up under the
lights, it was all over.” By the time he graduated from high school, Fangmeyer was
competing nationally in dance competitions and working part-time for a dance competition
Fangmeyer’s professional pursuit of dance didn’t end when he began his degree
in marketing four years ago. He filmed a commercial for the Baltimore Ravens, played
a feature role in the film Step Up, and even spent a month in Los Angeles shooting
a TV pilot for a dance contest show (that program was never aired). He represented
the United States in the International "Prix D'Italia," bringing home a first place
prize with his team (and beating out teams from 26 other countries). And since beginning
his classes at Smith, Fangmeyer has continued to work for Starpower Talent Competition
as a performer, judge, teacher, and marketing assistant. During the week, he took
classes in Van Munching Hall and most weekends he was on a plane, flying to competition
locations all over the country. “Essentially it’s been a full-time job for me,”
Fangmeyer feels that his work experience has given him a real advantage among
his business school peers. “Dance has actually allowed me to go farther in a business
sense than most people get to in college,” he says. “A lot of my friends are struggling
to get internships every summer, but I’ve been with the same company now for four
years and they trust me on the performance and the business side of things. I’ve
learned a lot about the way a company is run from the inside out. That’s hands-on
Fangmeyer has also gained some relevant marketing skills by working for the country’s
largest talent competition. “I’ve learned a lot about personal selling, about marketing
for a multimillion dollar corporation. I was emceeing the shows, too, and that was
a really good experience for me. If I have to get up in class and do a presentation,
I’m not nervous about it—I get up in front of four or 5,000 people on any given
Coming to the University of Maryland seemed like a natural fit for Fangmeyer,
whose parents are both Terps: Mark Fangmeyer, Sr. and Laura Fangmeyer.
Fangmeyer cites his family as one of the reasons for choosing a business major.
“I love performing and I love teaching class, but it’s not something physically
that you can do forever. My number one priority is to have a wife and kids and to
be able to support them like my family has supported me.” In a few years, Fangmeyer
plans to open his own entertainment company, either a dance studio or a talent competition
of his own.
As for the immediate future, Fangmeyer is a bit unsure. His real-life marketing
and sales experiences have opened up job opportunities in marketing technical sales,
but he also feels the call of the Big Apple. “I want to go to New York and audition
for Radio City and as many Broadway shows and national tours as I can,” says Fangmeyer.
No matter where Fangmeyer ends up in the short-term, one thing is certain: he
will be doing plenty of marketing in the next year. Whether he’s promoting himself
through headshots, agents, and auditions or promoting a company through larger scale
marketing efforts, Fangmeyer’s Smith degree will dancing with him through the next
stage of his life.--TL
Art, Meet Business
Smith introduces two new undergraduate fellows programs in the arts
The Smith school has launched two new fellows programs for business majors.
These tracks, in addition to 17 other Undergraduate Fellows programs, allow
students to specialize in a specific area of business and create “communities of
scholars” within the Smith School. In a business environment that demands
“outside the box” solutions, these fellowship programs bring together right and
left brain thinking.
Music Management Fellows
This program is open to business school students interested in music
marketing, production and distribution, broadcasting, and event management. One
highlight of the fellowship is hands-on experience in observing, designing, and
managing a live event. The students also learn from experts in the field through
specialized clinics and internships.
Playing an instrument isn’t a prerequisite for the program, but most of the
students have a strong involvement in music. One has recorded his own CD,
several play in bands, two are DJs for the school’s radio station, and others
produce live shows at a local club.
“They’re not your typical business students,” says Hugh Turner, Tyser
Teaching Fellow and the faculty champion for the program. He is especially
excited about the contacts his students are making with industry professionals.
“We have pretty good connections and we’re expanding those.” During the fall
2008 semester, the initial cohort of 19 students had the opportunity to hear
from and interact with professionals from LiveNation, Rolling Stone Magazine,
9:30 Club, and others.
Design and Innovation in Marketing
This fellowship is unique, in that it is open to both Smith marketing majors
and art majors. The interdisciplinary program focuses on producing business
leaders who can make strategically sound and creative design decisions. Students
develop their creative problem-solving skills along with marketing strategy and
design techniques. This year, the students had the opportunity to travel to New
York City to visit MTV’s headquarters, as well as several design firms. Many of
the students will also attend a two-week course in London that will include
tours of the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Design Museum and Council, the
British Museum, and several design consultancies.
Mary Harms (Smith School) and Ruth Lozner (Department of Art) oversee the
Harms has been working to arrange hands-on opportunities for the students.
“We have negotiated with a Dupont Circle retailer to have our students design
their windows for them indefinitely.”
Lozner is thrilled about the collaborative nature of the program. “Since the
two fields are inextricably bound in the workplace, both design and marketing
students realize that this is a unique opportunity to learn more about the other
field. By definition both fields must be creative, innovative and
The Smith School is committed to educating the creative business thinkers of
the future, and these new programs are striving to do just that, two integrated
brain hemispheres at a time. --TL