Student Spotlight: Michelle Vang

Accounting major transferring to Metro state to earn bachelor’s degree

Michelle Vang, 22, is earning her Accounting Transfer Pathway A.S. at Inver Hills Community College. Michelle is a freshman at Inver Hills and is looking forward to graduating in May 2024.

“After earning my Associate of Science  (A.S.) degree in Accounting, I plan to transfer to Metro State University to pursue my bachelor’s degree in accounting,” she said. “My career plan is to start working in the accounting field to gain experience after I earn my associate degree. After obtaining my bachelor’s degree, I don’t quite know if I want to purse a career in public or private accounting.”

Michelle participates in TRIO Student Support Services at Inver Hills. She’s also a member of Phi Theta Kappa.

“I haven’t been able to interact in many TRIO activities lately due to my conflicting schedule,” Michelle said. “However, I hope to engage more with TRIO students in the near future here. I love discussing and getting insight about my future plans with my advisor, Matt Kruger. From the beginning of my time here at Inver, TRIO has always been by my side no matter what, and that’s the exact reason as to why I joined.”

When asked what she likes best about PTK, Michelle replied, “I just joined PTK at the beginning of this semester, so I do not know much about it. I’m still learning and researching about opportunities and events for PTK. I’m excited to see what I could learn from PTK in the future!”

Michelle Vang: Keynote Student Speaker

Michelle served as the keynote student speaker at the Inver Hills Scholarship Recognition Event in late January 2023 at the Veterans Memorial Community Center in Inver Grove Heights. She is a recipient of a $1,000 Kopps Family Foundation Scholarship. Below are Michelle’s thoughts on the experience.

In fall semester 2022, I received an email from Elsbeth Howe [Inver Hills Foundation development director] asking if anyone would be interested in being the student speaker at the Scholarship Recognition Event.

When I restarted my college journey, I made it a goal of mine to step outside my comfort zone. So, without giving it a second thought, I emailed Elsbeth back about my interest in serving as the student speaker. We scheduled a time to meet to see if I was eligible for the role.

During this period, I was also taking Patria Lawton’s Communication Studies course, and we were about to start writing our award/acceptance ceremony speech. I thought to myself, this will be a great practice opportunity to see if I am comfortable with the stage microphone and talking in front of an audience.

I also believe Dr.Lawton’s class gave me the boost of confidence I needed to initiate my interest in the role. The day of my award/acceptance ceremony speech for Communication Studies class, Elsbeth emailed me saying I got the student speaker role.

In that moment, it seemed as if all the stars aligned. So many emotions were running through my mind—excitement, fearfulness, pride, and so much more. Leading up to the scholarship event, I had tremendous help and guidance from Elsbeth, Bradley Manley [Communication Studies faculty], and my family. I cannot thank them enough for their help!

The day of the event, my nerves were flowing. However, once I got up to the podium, it seemed natural. Even though I did mess up on some parts, it didn’t bother me. I just wanted my story to be heard.

Keynote Student Speaker gallery

More about Michelle…

Michelle Vang

Originally from Rosemount, Minnesota, Michelle earned her GED from the Harmony Learning Center in 2020. She attended Concordia University, St. Paul, as a PSEO student in 2017–2018.

Michelle has several years of experience working in the wholesale and retail sectors. Most recently, she served as a wholesale fulfillment specialist and then a wholesale operations specialist at Sigma Beauty. Before that, she worked as a core sales associate at American Eagle Outfitters.

Michelle and her husband, Tswjntuj Kong, are celebrating their fifth year of marriage this September. Tswjntuj works as a freight handler at Fedex Freight.

Michelle and Tswjntuj have three young children, a daughter named Scarlett, and two sons named Kenneth and Elliott.

In her free time, Michelle loves spending time with her family to catch up on life with them and plan for future trips together.

“My favorite place we have visited is Ely, Minnesota,” she said. “The air is always crisp in the mornings, and the environment is peaceful. We have already planned another trip for this summer.”

Michelle and her family reside in Rosemount.

Michelle Vang family gallery

One word that best describes your experience at Inver Hills:


Michelle Vang Q & A

Michelle Vang
What inspired you to pursue an Accounting Transfer Pathway A.S. at Inver Hills?

Growing up, I have always been good with math. During my time at Sigma Beauty as a wholesale operations specialist, I grew to love the office setting, spreadsheets, the repetitiveness of some activities and the financial aspects of business. All these factors helped me determine my major.

What do you find most engaging about your Accounting coursework?

I actually really enjoy the homework assignments. Although, there are times where I get frustrated with some of the questions, once I work through them and finish, I always find myself wanting to do more and more assignments.

How has your experience as a wholesale operations and fulfillment specialist helped you better understand the role of an accountant at a business or organization?

My role as a wholesale operations specialist specifically helped me understand the role of an accountant. I learned there are other people within the company who also play major role in helping the finance department to succeed. You quickly learn you also have a team outside of your own that’s there, so everyone can achieve the company’s goals.

What area of accounting interests you the most and why?

Forensic accounting has always interest me. I feel I would find investigating financial data and fraud to be very interesting and it would always keep me on my toes.

What do you like best about attending Inver Hills?

I like how understanding the instructors and faculty members of Inver Hills are toward students and their different backgrounds and situations.

What person has influenced your life the most and why?

Honestly, it’s hard to choose just one person in my life because there are so many that influenced myself and my path. However, my parents have had the biggest influence on my life.

My mom’s name is Nina, and she works as the administrative coordinator for the Child Safety and Permanency Division at the Minnesota Department of Human Services. My dad’s name is Keith, and he owns his own network and computer specialists business, KV Systems, LLC.

As I said in my scholarship speech, they work very hard paving the way for my siblings and I so we could achieve the “American Dream” more easily than they did. Until this day they are still supporting our dreams in anyway possible.

Where do you hope to find yourself in 20 years?

In 20 years, I hope to have bought a house, have seen my three children graduate from high school and send them off to college, have celebrated 25 years with my husband, and to have an accounting career that I love.

First-generation Hmong student: Michelle’s perspective

English is Michelle’s second language; she’s fluent in Hmong, her native tongue. According to ALTA: “The Hmong are an ethnic group that originated in China’s Yellow River Basin. Throughout their history, they faced persecution and displacement. Today, Hmong people live in Vietnam, China, Thailand, and America.
“Hmong is part of the Chuanqiandian Cluster, a branch of the Chinese Miao language. More than 2.7 million people speak Hmong worldwide.”
MPR adds: “It’s been 40 years since the Hmong people first began arriving in Minnesota. Today, the state boasts the second-largest Hmong population in the nation.”

“Being a first-generation Hmong student helps me in many ways. However, one specific way my heritage helps me is to be more determined. I want to show my kids that you should never let your race and background decide your path.

“No matter how you start your path, even if it’s not the traditional path everyone else takes, if you have a goal or dream, you can make it happen. If your goals are clear, then your mind is clear as well.”

Michelle Vang
Freshman Accounting Major
Inver Hills Community College

Michelle Vang 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: I enjoy running around with my kids, especially at playgrounds
  2. Place you would most like to visit: I would love to visit Iceland
  3. Most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Restarted my college journey
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Buy a house 2) Set aside money for my children 3) Donate to a nonprofit organization of my choice
  5. Best book or movie you’ve read or seen lately: The best movie I have seen lately is Avatar: The Way of Water
  6. Time period (past or future) you would explore if you could time travel: If I could time travel, I would love to go back to a time period in my life when all my loved ones were still together
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in your life: Being a successful and present mom
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: I think if I had to pick a bird for my own country, it would be a swan since my daughter loves them
  9. Dream occupation: Chief financial officer (CFO) of a company
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Michelle Yeoh
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master:If I could master a skill, it would be baking.
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Climate change
Learn more about the Accounting program at Inver Hills by contacting:

Inver Hills Community College
Virtual Visit

More about the Accounting program at Inver Hills…

Accounting is the universal practice at the foundation of all business practices. Accountants and auditors make sure businesses, organizations, companies, corporations, governments, families, and individuals prosper from applying sound fiscal procedures.

Accountants keep accounts and public records, provide auditing services, conduct forecasting and risk analysis assessments, prepare and authenticate financial documents, and offer guidance on cost reduction, revenue enhancement, and profit maximization.

Why Study Accounting at Inver Hills?

Earn your degree in a welcoming, inclusive setting.
Our Accounting department delivers a vigorous curriculum in a collaborative learning environment that celebrates the diversity of our students. Our faculty have a global mindset with the goal to help you succeed academically and lead a value-driven, ethical life.

Join a program on the leading edge of the accounting field.
The Transfer Pathway A.S. in Accounting program is accredited through the Accreditation Council for Business School and Programs (ACBSP), a leading specialized accreditation association for business education. The heart of the accreditation process centers on continuous improvement. Every two years, we prepare a quality assurance report highlighting our efforts.

Be surefooted and confident on your journey.
The Transfer Pathway (A.S.) in Accounting prepares you for two promising paths, one that takes you straight to a paraprofessional career in the accounting field, and one that prepares you for transfer to a four-year college or university.

Keep going and earn your baccalaureate degree.
Our curriculum has been specifically designed so that you can complete your Transfer Pathway A.S. and transfer as a junior to one of seven Minnesota State universities. All courses in your degree will directly transfer to a designated bachelor’s degree program in a related field.

Make personal and professional connections.
As a student in our program, you’ll be invited to participate and compete in Collegiate DECA, a student business organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management in colleges around the world.

Accounting is the backbone of business.

Accounting specialties range from basic bookkeeping to complicated appraisals. Modern accountants are insightful, well-informed business professionals. They are responsible for recording and analyzing the fiscal data that drives executive decision-making in companies, corporations, small and large businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies.

Modern accounting involves calculating the cost and efficiency of new technology as well as participating in mergers and acquisitions. The best and brightest accountants are vital to the success of a company or corporation.

Organizations of all kinds rely on accountants to monitor the quality, development, and use of systems to track finances, tax strategies, and healthcare benefit management. Solid math skills are crucial for success in the accounting field.


Accountants and Auditors

Interpret budget statements in order to give financial advice.


This career pays above the statewide median of $23.81/hour


Median: $37.86/hour
High: $48.34/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $38.35/hour
High: $48.86/hour


In Minnesota, there are 27,490 workers employed in this very large career., which is seeing high growth compared to other careers. Growth in the state rate is 4.4 percent.

There will be a need for about 24,461 new Accountants and Auditors to meet market demand between 2020–2030 This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

Where do Accountants and Auditors most often work?
— Minnesota State CAREERwise Education (February 26, 2023)

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