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photo collage of van den Berg Hall, the clock tower, Dean Hadi Salavitabar, and undergraduate student Jumpei Onozuka

News Releases

SUNY New Paltz Places in Top Ten at 2008 HR Games


NEW PALTZ -- This March, the SUNY New Paltz student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the Management Association, competed at the 2008 Northeast Regional HR Games and Student Conference held by SHRM at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. SUNY New Paltz sent two teams of students, which were sponsored by the Mid-Hudson Human Resources Association (MHHRA). After seven rounds of play one SUNY New Paltz team ranked in the top ten out of the twenty-four teams competing. This team placed ahead of highly ranked schools including Penn State, Robert Morris University, Temple University, and Niagara University among others. The second team of SUNY New Paltz students ranked eighteenth among all teams participating placing ahead of schools such as Bryant University, Rowan University, and Alfred University.

The undergraduate SUNY New Paltz student participants included Kristina Marsella, Catherine Effertz, Shaina Miller, Craig Lecker, Michelle Rosas, and Erika DeWitt. Kristin Backhaus, Associate Professor of Management at SUNY New Paltz and Advisor of the Management Association, served as coach of the two student teams. "Again this year the HR Games were a challenging test of management knowledge. The games cover a dauntingly broad domain of information. Our teams did a great job in preparing for the games, and were strong competitors at the event. It was a great experience for all of us,” said Backhaus.

The Northeast Regional HR Games is a game show tournament between students of various SHRM student chapters throughout the Northeast region. This academic competition is a fun way to prepare students for the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification exam. The HR Games tests students by using a Jeopardy style format to answer human resource management questions. The questions for matches are compiled into categories similar to those asked in the PHR certification exam. Categories include subjects such as management theories, employee relations, organization development, planning and staffing, benefits, selection and recruitment, and leadership. During each round of play, students from each team select point values and a question category from a Jeopardy game board format. The question is read twice and students have fifteen seconds to supply the correct answer to the judges.

Backhaus believes the benefits of participating in the HR Games include “students learning key HR terms and concepts and becoming conversant in HR terminology. It shows future employers that they have initiative and that they are knowledgeable in the subject matter areas of HR.”

The student participants enjoyed their experience of representing SUNY New Paltz and demonstrating their HR knowledge to practitioners and other students from colleges throughout the Northeast Region. "The games really tested my HR knowledge and I also learned a lot from them," remarked Kristina Marsella, an HR Games participant for the second consecutive year who also serves as the Management Association President. This year’s event also enabled students to attend SHRM’s Northeast Regional Student Conference where students attended educational sessions in the field of human resources, had the opportunity to network with other students and human resource professionals, as well as take advantage of career guidance and mentoring opportunities.

The Management Association is a student association of the School of Business at SUNY New Paltz. For further information on the association please contact Kristin Backhaus at or 845-257-2972