Conference Provides Education and Insight for Rollins Graduate Students

July 20, 2011

Ashley Wheeler and Karl Wang
Rollins graduate student Ashley Wheeler compares education experiences and conference notes with Karl Wang, a graduate student from Peking University. Wang works as an independent contractor in China.

Fourteen graduate students in Rollins’ Master of Human Resources Program recently attended the 2011 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada. A record number of HR professionals (14,000) from 73 countries attended this year’s conference.

Offered as an elective in the Rollins' program, the conference featured a student session, a master’s series, four stellar keynote speakers and 200 breakout sessions. Keynote speakers included Sir Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Tony Hsieh and Michael J. Fox, each of whom rejuvenated the audience with their discussions of passion, purpose and happiness.

“Part of becoming an effective professional with a commitment to life-long learning is to experience a significant global networking and learning event like the SHRM Annual Conference,” said Don Rogers, professor of international business and chair of the master of human resources program.

During the conference, Rogers arranged for his students to meet with graduate students from Peking University for networking and information sharing.

“As a graduate student, hoping to jump start a career in human resources, the SHRM Conference was an incredible experience,” said Ashley Wheeler, who will graduate from the program in May 2012 and launch her career. “Filled with comprehensive sessions, bountiful networking opportunities and unlimited resources, this professional development opportunity was unparalleled. My hope is to integrate this annual event into my regimen and become more involved each year.”

Attendees selected sessions from six tracks and focus areas—Employment Law and Legislation, Strategic Management, Talent Management, International HR, Total Rewards and Personal & Leadership Development. Session topics ranged from employment law to employee handbooks, from recruitment and retention to engagement and morale, from leadership development to managing organizational change, from social media to crisis communication, and more. “The SHRM Conference was an extremely informative four days that enabled me to learn about a variety of topics and network with people in the HR field,” said Stephanie Edwards, manager of division training for LongHorn Steakhouse.

Edwards, who will also graduate from Rollins in May 2012, said she was able to immediately apply information learned to her current role as an HR professional. She also explored topics outside her area of expertise, enabling her to broaden her depth of knowledge. “I have attended many conferences in the past that focused solely on the training function," she said. “This conference’s inclusion of all HR disciplines provided a more holistic view of our field combined with professional and personal development opportunities all wrapped up into one experience.”

By Ann Marie Varga

Office of Public Relations & Community Affairs
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