Vang credits UW-Platteville opportunities, family for success

Melynda Vang

As Melynda Vang, a senior from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, prepares to graduate next month, she reflects on the opportunities the University of Wisconsin-Platteville offered her, setting her up for success and a job before graduation. Vang is majoring in computer science with a minor in business administration, and recently accepted a position at Travelers, in Saint Paul, Minnesota. 

Vang is the youngest of six children and credits her family as being the biggest influence and motivator for her academic pursuits. 

“My parents were immigrants from Laos and always encouraged us to do well academically to have better lives,” said Vang.  “All of my siblings are great role models. We all took different paths so we can help each other out in a variety of areas.”

Especially helpful was her older brother, Michael Vang, who is also a UW-Platteville alumnus.  Although their time did not overlap while at UW-Platteville, he helped her acclimate to campus and find resources. He also had a hand in influencing her decision to attend UW-Platteville.

“I knew UW-Platteville was well known for engineering and computer science is a similar field,” said Vang. “I also learn better in smaller class sizes that are more hands on.”

Vang will be graduating with a near-perfect grade point average.

“I have always been more grade-oriented and always wanted As,” said Vang. “This leads back to my parents and them wanting me to do well, and I just kept striving from there.”

In addition to her studies, Vang has been active in Hmong Club and the Association for Computing Machinery-Women Student Chapter, serving in executive leadership positions within both, including president of Hmong Club.  

“Hmong Club gave me better leadership skills and better time management,” said Vang. “I spent time with other Hmong Club members outside of club meetings and events, classes and work, and it’s good to have a community you can be yourself in.”

This fall, Vang was one of the first recipients of the Regents Opportunity Scholarship, sponsored by the UW System Board of Regents. 

“This scholarship helped me out financially and took away stress, which was helpful as I have other graduation stressors,” said Vang. “Not having the financial burden has been wonderful.”

Vang received her new position at Travelers thanks, in part, to completing an internship there. She will be entering its Technology, Leadership and Development Program, which allows employees to complete rotations to try different departments and positions before selecting a position.  

“Having an internship there bridged the gap between in-class learning to more real-world applications and experiences,” said Vang.