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Inside DELTA: 5 Questions with Alexis Tarley

A woman sitting in front of a large rock wall, wearing cold weather gear.
Alexis at the Reynisfjara (black sand) beach in Iceland.

When she was 12, DELTA Testing Associate Alexis Tarley decided on her dream job in her dream city: an archivist with the National Archives in Washington, D.C. 

Not the most obvious answer for a tween girl.

It’s been another dozen years since then, and Alexis is still pursuing her dream — via North Carolina. A big part of what brought her to Raleigh from the small town of Whitehall, West Virginia (population 704) is NC State’s dual master’s degree program with UNC-CH in public history and library science that, she hopes, will make her dream a reality. 

“I want to work among the catalogs at the National Archives, holding history, the documents, in my hands,” she said. 

She plans to apply to the program next year and hopes to continue her role with DELTA throughout her studies. 

And while she had a great experience studying history at Fairmont State University (total student enrollment 3,801) near her hometown in West Virginia — where everything was within walking distance and it was always quiet — Alexis was ready for an adventure. 

“I love that West Virginia has all four seasons and great outdoor recreation opportunities,” she explained, “but I was ready to get away from the small town life.”

Two women standing in front of a body of water
Alexis (right) with one of her sorority sisters from Fairmont State, with whom she will visit Europe this summer.

Alexis’ sister (who also worked at DELTA Testing Services) had recently moved to Raleigh, and her mom had recently relocated to Beaufort. The decision to join them in North Carolina was an easy one. 

Now, she says, she just needs to convince more of her hometown friends to join her here.  

What is your role with DELTA?

As a DELTA Testing Associate, Alexis is part of a team that proctors thousands of exams for on- and off-campus students at DELTA Testing Services. She works directly with students, faculty and staff at NC State to facilitate the testing process in a professional and secure environment.

Alexis started as a temp during the finals rush of 2022, enjoying the work and her colleagues so much that she left her then-job at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine to join the DELTA testing team full-time last summer.  

“I haven’t been here for too long but I enjoy learning everything I can,” she said. “I’m most proud of being so young and having a professional job. I’m glad that the team at DELTA testing saw potential in me.”

What do you enjoy about your job?

Back in Whitehall, Alexis’ family had a corded landline phone throughout her childhood, and her next door neighbors had a rotary phone mounted on the wall.

No cell phones in sight. 

In college, when the COVID-19 pandemic compelled instructors to move their classes online, some of Alexis’ professors resisted Zoom and similar technology, preferring instead to conduct classes via email. 

And there was no testing center: exams were taken in a classroom with paper and pencil.

Suffice to say Alexis is eager to learn, use and promote the various educational technologies available at DELTA, such as the new tablet testing initiative in place at the testing center. 

We never had anything high-tech back home,” she explained, “so I enjoy constantly learning new ways to do things.”

What makes your job special?

Alexis is very much a people person, and says that the people are the best part of her work. 

“It feels cliché to say this,” she said, “but I really do like seeing people from all walks of life come in and test with us or work with us.”

She enjoys the collegiality and the fast-paced nature of her work, as well. “The essence of my job is collaborative,” she said. “There are a lot of moving parts at the testing center, so you really have to know a little bit of everything and work together to get things done.” 

Working on a lively college campus is fun, too, as is living and working in proximity to the dynamic cultural and entertainment scene in Raleigh. 

What is something people may not know about you?

It was in the early days of the pandemic, via a quarantined friend, that Alexis discovered K-pop (Korean pop music), characterized by its catchy, upbeat melodies and mesmerizingly flawless choreography. 

“I’m open to any kind of music – well, except country,” Alexis said (bucking her West Virginia roots), “but K-pop is something special.”

Initially enthralled by K-pop sensation BTS, Alexis is currently listening to a lot of TXT — popular K-pop boy band Tomorrow X Together — with plans to see them perform in Washington this summer (she’s been to one of their shows already and it was amazing). 

Alexis and Rashi at an Eric Nam show at The Ritz in Raleigh, September 2023.

She’s also a big fan of artist Eric Nam, whom she saw with her friend Rashi, an NC State grad student. Alexis and Rashi met at the DELTA Testing Center after Rashi noticed Alexis’ BTS water bottle sticker.  

Rashi showed Alexis the BTS tattoo on her wrist. They became instant friends. 

“I’m not quite to the point of getting a K-pop tattoo,” Alexis laughed. “But I’m a huge fan.”                  

What do you do outside of work?

In addition to her job with DELTA, Alexis works weekends at the City of Raleigh Museum as a museum educator, interpreting Raleigh’s unique history for visitors and building her professional network. 

In fact, Alexis is a pretty big museum nerd, and she loves American history, both of which help to explain her love for Washington: the city’s many free museums offer an embarrassment of riches in American history and culture.

Locally, she recommends the City of Raleigh Museum (natch), the North Carolina Museum of Art, the NC State Gregg Museum of Art + Design and the North Carolina Museum of History

A group of people in an arcade
Alexis (fourth from left, in cat ears) celebrating her 24th birthday in New York City.

Two trips to Israel as a young adult gave Alexis a window into world cultures and inspired a strong interest in overseas travel. She experienced a life-changing moment there listening to a Holocaust survivor in the Valley of the Communities singing a song he learned as a child in the concentration camps. 

This summer, Alexis is looking forward to a trip to London and Paris with three of her college sorority sisters. Since this will be her first time visiting either city, she can’t wait to experience the culture, the sights, the food and drink, the nightlife — and the museums. 

“It’s a guided group tour, so we won’t have tons of free time,” she explained. “But I definitely plan to spend some time in the British Museum, the Louvre, Versailles… all of it.” 

For an aspiring archivist, this sounds like time well spent.