Campus visit was key
A friend who attended Madison College invited Vang for a visit. She came to campus, met some instructors and sat in on a few classes. She loved it.
By this time her siblings no longer needed her support, and a cousin advised her to follow her own educational dreams. Vang moved from Minnesota and enrolled at Madison College as a liberal arts transfer student.
Knowing that involvement in student clubs and organizations leads to college success, Vang joined the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society eventually becoming president. She also served as president of the Student Life Executive Leadership Team. Vang received the 2019 Student Excellence in Diversity award.
A voice for others
“I noticed there weren’t many Hmong students involved in student organizations,” she said. Vang ran for Student Senate to be a voice for minority students. She noticed other Hmong students in some of her classes were struggling to understand class assignments and began helping them. Next, she pushed the college to hire Hmong interpreters in the Student Achievement Center to help these students.
Through her involvement with PTK and Student Senate, Vang was appointed to the Student Food Insecurity Impact Team. She worked to include student organizations in the design and implementation of the first Food Resource Fair offered at Madison College. The project earned a Distinguished College Project Award from PTK as one of the top 30 in the world.
“By her leadership, Kalia set an example for other underrepresented student populations to see that it is possible to make a long-lasting difference in the community,” said Steven Ansorge, outgoing Student Senate president. “She is truly compassionate and conscious of the inequality in our world. Kalia is a role model for many people who feel unheard.”
Her advice to others: “Even if you think what you are doing is small, do it anyway. Small changes add up.”