Scholar Spotlight: Ashley Tan

Ashley Tan smiling and sitting on a bench in the sun

While in high school, Ashley Tan focused her extracurricular activities on engaging in social justice. Her parents also provided her with occasions to overcome racial and gender biases through educational opportunities.

Diversity is extremely important, she states, especially in today's rapidly growing and increasingly global world; progress, especially social progress and progress in the business world, is spurred by diversity and unique ideas. “We learn an immense amount of knowledge from others around us, especially when we interact with those who have different cultures from us. These differences help people better implement best practices to positively change the world to be a better place.”

Because she believes in giving back to her community, Ashley gave others similar educational opportunities because she knows that education is the gateway to success. Ashley co-founded a non-profit organization with the mission of helping underprivileged students receive better educational opportunities by donating academic summer camp scholarships, donating school supplies, and providing students with tutoring services.

The Ohio State University's Morrill Scholarship was a natural progression in her journey. The Morrill Scholarship Program (MSP), Ohio State's premiere diversity/merit scholarship program, rewards academically talented students who are actively engaged in diversity-based leadership, service and social justice activities.

“Receiving this prestigious and honorable scholarship solidified my decision to attend Ohio State because I was excited to have a cohort of students who were passionate about diversity-based leadership and service and social justice activities, and it significantly helped relieve the financial burden of college.”

With the Morrill Scholarship, Ashley was able to major in whatever subject she wanted at Ohio State. However, she came to the university knowing that she wanted to study business because she was intrigued by how businesses impact people's everyday lives. “I was naturally drawn to accounting because I enjoy critical thinking and numbers-based analytical thinking. Also, my mom has been a fantastic mentor to me because she is a Certified Public Accountant and started her career in Public Accounting, which is my ultimate goal.”

Continuing on her goal of having a career in public accounting, Ashley was recently admitted into Ohio State's Master of Accounting Program, which means she will graduate with both a Bachelor of Science and a Master's in Accounting (MAcc). “Obtaining the MAcc will spur my growth as a student and broaden my learning experiences. I will have the opportunity to work with graduate level students and those in the MBA program.”

As an accounting major, to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Ashley will need 150 credit hours. “The MAcc allows me to obtain these extra credit hours and sets me apart from other CPAs who take an array of random classes to obtain the additional credit hours.” In the future, she says, the MAcc be a pathway to obtain additional certifications, such as an MBA or law degree.

Despite the additional coursework, Ashley is up to the task of finishing her degree. “This process of learning to balance classes and extracurricular activities in the graduate atmosphere will help me significantly grow as a person.”

This summer, Ashley has an internship with Ernst and Young in Chicago that will serve as a stepping stone to her career in Public Accounting, allowing her to determine her strengths within this field and experience the industry first-hand. Ashley also found out she was accepted to Ernst and Young's Global Student Experience program, which will allow her to spend the first half of her internship in Chicago and the second half in London. “I am excited to learn about the differences in cultures between the United States and the United Kingdom and be able to share my experiences and knowledge about the importance of diversity.”

While at Ernst and Young, Ashley will be interning in the Financial Services Assurance department, working on auditing engagements to provide objective assessments of financial companies' financial statements.

With a graduation date of May 2020, Ashley hopes to obtain a full-time job offer from her internship and start a career in Public Accounting. “This field will allow me to obtain a wide variety of experiences in accounting to give me a better understanding of the industry.”

For any students following in her footsteps, Ashley has this advice: “I would tell high school students to not be afraid to branch out and find their passions and interests in college. I think that exploring a variety of options through majors, careers, and clubs gives students the best opportunity in college to truly find out who they are and experience significant personal growth. I would also tell a high school student to make sure to ask for help and to not be afraid of the unknown.”