A UT Dallas team representing the campus chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) won first place at the Texas SHRM Student Conference and Games that took place at Baylor University on April 12-13. Student chapters from 10 other universities across the state participated in the conference.
The SHRM UTD chapter achieved its victory at its first appearance at this event. The four-person team advanced through three rounds of head-to-head Jeopardy-style questions before defeating the Baylor team in the final round. All the questions came from the SHRM professional certification exam, according to team captain and human resource management senior Nickole Selensky.
“Since it was from the certification exam, everything was highly confidential,” said Selensky, who is also the incoming president of SHRM UTD. “It was cool because we have learned these concepts from our classes, but we had never seen the certification questions; so it was rewarding to see how well we knew this information.”
Dr. Jeff Weekley, director of the BS in Human Resource Management program in the Naveen Jindal School of Management, agrees that the team’s success speaks both to the rigorous curriculum of the program that was started in fall 2017 and the students’ dedication to learning.
“Conferences and competitions like this allow the students to spend time interacting with students from other universities and walk away with a greater appreciation for the breadth of our HR program,” Weekley said.
In addition to Selensky, the winning team included Shriya Bahri, junior, human resource management; Yen Dang, graduate student, MS in Healthcare Leadership and Management and MBA; and Emma Riley, junior, human resource management. Fifteen SHRM UTD students traveled to Waco for the conference to attend leadership workshops and support the competing team.
“Knowing we had all the other members cheering us on was a reminder that this wasn’t just about us, it was for SHRM UTD. We wanted to do well for them,” Selensky said.
Along with the encouragement from their chapter members, Selensky credits the team’s success to the diversity of knowledge from both the classroom and various internship experiences that each member brought to the team.
Alayna Thomas, human resource management senior and current SHRM UTD president, said showcasing their HR knowledge was the team’s main goal for competing for the first time and there was no pressure placed on them to win.
“I am extremely proud of our inaugural competing team for defying the odds and bringing incredible attention to UT Dallas’s BS in Human Resource Management degree,” Thomas said.
In its second year, the BS in Human Resource Management program has 86 students, including 11 graduating seniors, Weekley said. The SHRM UTD chapter has doubled its membership in the last year to more than 60 students, and Selensky looks forward to continuing to engage members through competitions like this.
“We are student-driven and student-led, but we take it very seriously and we want students to know we are not just about meetings, but are focused on career development and growth,” she said.
— Caryn Berardi