SUNY New Paltz Student Chapter Competes at 2009 HR Games  

The SUNY New Paltz student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the Management Association (MA), recently competed at the 2009 Northeast Regional Student Conference and HR Games held by SHRM at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey. After several months of studying, the team performed well and placed sixth out of the twenty teams participating.

The undergraduate student participants included Shaina Miller, Stacey Smiel, and Alexandra Curiale. Kristin Backhaus, Associate Professor of Management at SUNY New Paltz and Advisor of the SUNY New Paltz Management Association, coached the team. “Our HR Games team did a great job facing some very difficult questions. I was proud of their performance and sportsmanship,” said Backhaus.

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

“The benefits of participating in the HR Games include students learning key HR terms and concepts, becoming conversant in HR terminology, and the opportunity to compete against other skilled teams in a high-pressure setting. It shows future employers that they have initiative and that they are knowledgeable in the subject matter areas of HR,” states Backhaus.

For the seventh consecutive year, the Mid-Hudson Human Resources Association (MHHRA) offered a sponsorship for the MA student chapter to participate and attend the Northeast Regional Student Conference and HR Games. MHHRA is the sponsoring SHRM professional chapter of the SUNY New Paltz Management Association. “Our participation in the HR Games is one of the highlights of our year,” said Backhaus. “Competing in the Games provides students with both HR knowledge and the experience of interscholastic competition. The Games are challenging and exciting, and we always have a great time.”

“Thanks to MHHRA, our students have been able to participate with only minimal personal expense, which opens the door to students without regard to their ability to pay their own way,” added Backhaus.

Each year, the student participants enjoy their experience of representing MHHRA and SUNY New Paltz and demonstrating their HR knowledge to practitioners and other students from colleges throughout the Northeast Region.

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.