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May 1, 2012
By Jaclyn McBride
University of Nevada, Reno management students Heather Maye, Megan Barrenchea, Sarah Pattee and Vanessa Wehrkamp won the Human Resources (HR) game at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, Calif. during the Pacific West Regional Student Conference Competition April 20-21. The game, as well as the Assurance of Learning Assessment exam, helps graduating HR students prepare for a successful career in human resource management.
During the student conference, which was one of five held throughout the United States, students were given four hours to read, analyze and research a case study. Then, they created and practiced a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation. The two teams with the highest overall scores from a preliminary round presented in front of all conference attendees where a panel of judges made the final determination.
This year, 10 teams competed: seven from California, one from Boise, Idaho, and two from the University of Nevada, Reno. The competition covered a wide range of topics including labor relations, compensations and benefits, human resource development and occupational safety.
Linda Barrenchea, a managerial science lecturer at the University and team advisor, said that the preparations for the competition were extensive, having taken place over the course of eight months.
"We met on a regular class basis with textbooks, exams, cases, quizzes and presentations to help prepare the students for the competition and test," Barrenchea said. "It is a rigorous class, but the students are very motivated as they want to be able to do well on the exam."
The Assurance of Learning Assessment exam is designed to show potential employers that students have acquired the minimum knowledge required to be a successful HR professional. Wehrkamp, who will take the exam this summer, said that the competition has been a beneficial experience.
"Taking the HR Games class and participating in the conference has made me more confident in taking the exam," Wehrkamp said.
Both University of Nevada, Reno teams were funded by the Society of Human Resource Management Nevada State Council, the Northern Nevada Human Resources Association, the Associated Students of the University of Nevada and the College of Business Alumni Association. Members from the second University team, Teryn Yopps, Ceci'lee Grund, Renee Haynie and Manish Chahal, are awaiting the final teams' standings which are published a few weeks after the competition.
"Overall, it is a challenging experience, a great educational opportunity and a chance to network with many other HR students and professionals in this field," Barrenchea said.
The winning students were awarded scholarships and registration fees for the national Society for Human Resources Management's 64th Annual Conference to be held June 24-27 in Atlanta, Ga. Students will hear from speakers such as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and legendary newsman, NBC News and New York Times best-selling author Tom Brokaw, among others.
Jaclyn McBride is a student writer for University Media Relations.