Kaela Works was born in Austell, Georgia, but moved to Texas at the age of three where she grew up in the DFW metroplex. When she started her studies at the University of North Texas (UNT), she set her sights on an accounting degree. After taking an organizational behavior class at UNT Frisco, she realized that she had found her passion and changed her major to Human Resources (HR). Her grandmother worked in HR for many years, and Kaela felt HR was an area she would excel in due to her strong interpersonal and communication skills.
The HR program taught her the importance of being adaptable and an active listener. She explains that having a role in HR means you will get pulled in many different directions, and it requires you to see the perspectives of diverse employees. Being a good listener will allow you to listen to the needs of your employees and the needs of the company. And thanks to COVID-19, we know how important it is for HR professionals to respond quickly and adapt to constant changes!
As a student working her way through college, Kaela didn’t complete a traditional internship. Since transferring to UNT in 2017, she has worked at a credit union. In that role, she has been able to develop and apply many of the concepts learned in the classroom. A big aspect of her job is building relationships which will be beneficial when she moves into an HR position. The job has also allowed her to gain insight from all employees including top executives and entry-level positions. These conversations have helped her see how HR can be a strategic partner.
Maintaining a high GPA while working her way through college has been Kaela’s greatest academic achievement. She will be graduating with honors this December. Upon graduation, she hopes to find an HR position where she can gain experience and prepare for the SHRM certification. Long term goals include an HR Generalist role and HR Manager.
Kaela shared a few tips for future HR students that emphasize taking advantage of opportunities given. For example, introduce yourself to guest speakers who visit campus, attend networking events, and get involved in student organizations. Kaela understands that you may feel nervous or hesitant to become involved, but all these opportunities provide a chance to grow and develop both as a person and HR professional. And last but not least, she tells future HR students to believe in themselves (you got this!)!
Trinity Davis came to the University of North Texas (UNT) from Paris, Texas. When it came time to declare her major, she sought out one that would allow her to help people and give others a place to feel seen. She decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in Human Resources (HR) because it allowed her to achieve her career goal in a decent amount of time and it was financially feasible.
While in the HR program, she enjoyed learning about workplace safety, employee benefits, and workplace/HR terminology. Her greatest academic achievements include earning an Associate degree before transferring to UNT, obtaining an internship with Texas Instruments (TI), and completing three major projects during the internship at TI. As an intern at TI, she learned how to create professional Power Point presentations, examined different areas of HR in depth, and identified areas in which she could grow and develop.
Trinity was also an active member of the UNT Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Chapter. This semester, she took on a leadership role as Director of Development and she organizes fundraising events. The funding allows members to host networking events and attend conferences. She encourages others to join UNT SHRM because the group helped her understand the world of HR, how to network, and how to open doors for career opportunities.
Trinity’s career aspirations include finding a great work environment where she can grow as an HR professional. It’s important for her to be around good people in a positive work environment, and she hopes to find that as she starts her MBA in 2022.
She encourages future HR students to be in the moment, try not to worry too much, and get involved in student organizations especially UNT SHRM!
Denise Winchester comes from one of those small towns where everyone knows you – Donaldsonville, Louisiana. Her grandmother pushed her to continue her education beyond high school. She will be the first person in her family to earn a college degree this December. Denise not only pursued the degree for her grandmother, but also, to set an example for her children. She hopes that they will do the same and achieve more than their parents have academically. She wishes her grandmother had lived long enough to see her achieve the goals they set together, but we know her grandmother will be there in spirit cheering for Denise as she crosses the stage this December!
Denise decided to pursue a degree in Human Resources at the University of North Texas (UNT) because she wanted to aid in the development of employees within her organization. She enjoys the HR world because no two days are the same. Each day is filled with different challenges, and she likes working in a diverse environment. While completing her classes, she learned the importance of developing effective business relationships. Through group projects and her internships, she learned to assess the traits and abilities of those she worked with which allowed her to realize how to best support a team and bring value to shared projects.
Denise had the opportunity to intern with the UNT System for eighteen months at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth. Some key takeaways from the Campus HR Internship included the importance of collaborating with teams on projects, maintaining university compliance through employment verifications, building relationships with department administrators, ensuring a seamless hiring process for student workers, and learning from a supportive team.
Her career aspirations are to secure an HR role in the areas of training and development, recruiting, or compliance. She hopes to specialize in one of these areas and help others achieve career success.
Denise’s advice for future HR students includes taking full advantage of the career services offered at UNT. The Career Resource Center helped her create a polished resume and find an internship. She found Handshake extremely helpful and encourages students to check out the career fairs (virtual and in-person) along with many other great networking opportunities hosted by the Career Resource Center. Lastly, she recommends establishing a good working relationship with your instructors because they truly are your best asset. The instructors want to see you succeed and are readily available to answer questions.
Isabella Ventura’s hometown is Coppell, Texas. Declaring a major in Human Resources (HR) was an easy decision for her because it’s a career that will allow her to be an advocate for employees. The junior level Organizational Behavior class is the one that made her consider HR as a major. She enjoyed the class topics of leadership, organizational culture, and diversity.
While in the program, Isabella learned a lot of concepts, but the topics in the talent acquisition course really stuck out, especially the importance of ensuring all selection instruments including the interview be job related, consistent, and structured. She was also a member of the UNT SHRM Chapter where she attended meetings and participated in networking and community service events. The UNT SHRM professional events provided an opportunity to learn from HR industry professionals. Those events truly helped her prepare for industry.
She considers landing her internship at TSI – Triencon Services (Computer Systems Design and Related Services Industry) her greatest academic achievement. She was nervous that she might not have sufficient knowledge, but the experience proved she was quite capable. Internship responsibilities included developing an employee training plan, working in HRIS, writing offer letters, sitting in on interviews, and participating in career fairs. One key takeaway from the internship is the importance of keeping up with ever-changing regulation. She explains that being active in SHRM and keeping in touch with professional contacts are great ways to help keep up with the changes.
Isabella hopes to obtain the SHRM-CP certification within a couple years after graduation. Her advice for future HR students is to use the resources on campus – check out the career center, participate in student organizations, attend networking events, and ask for help if you need it!
Mica Wolf comes to UNT from the Philippines (Manila). When working as a supervisor at Walgreens, she realized that she was more passionate about the people-oriented responsibilites rather than managing daily operations. She enjoyed assisting with employee development, acting as a liaison between employees and management, increasing employee job satisfaction, and reducing employee turnover. This realization led her to pursue a degree in HR (Human Resources).
Mica feels that the whole degree program is important, but what really stood out to her was the way HR professionals conducted different analyses (Risk Analysis, Cost-Benefit Analysis, HR Analytics, etc.) to make informed decisions. When attending an UNT SHRM networking event, she connected with lots of peers and even a professor! The networking event helped her prepare for industry because it challenged her inner introvert.
Her greatest academic achievement has been taking what she learned in the classroom and applying it to real business scenarios in all three of her internships. Also, Mica feels honored to have been considered for full-time employment at the end of the first two internships (she is currently in her third internship). The first internship was with Caliber Home Loans as an HR Risk Control Intern. While at Caliber Home Loans, she gained experience in project management, data analytics, MS Excel, HRIS (ADP Workforce), minimum wage laws, and HR compliance. Her second internship was with ABC solutions as an HR Intern. With ABC solutions, Mica interviewed candidates, completed onboarding, conducted tech training, and updated the employee handbook. She is currently in her third internship at Alight Solutions as a Recruiting Intern. In this role, she is sourcing, screening, and interviewing candidates. In addition, she has become familiar with different HRIS (Workday, Phenom, and Circa), LinkedIn Recruiter, and Indeed for Employers.
Mica hopes to become an HR Executive. For the short-term, she is seeking an HR Generalist or HR Business Partner role. As she prepares to wrap up her undergraduate career, she wants future HR students to focus on the getting an internship! She says to do so, students should connect with UNT’s most valuable resource – the instructors! She states that all of her professors have been amazing and very knowledgeable in the field of HR. While the lectures are great, you get the best teaching experience when you take time to visit with your instructors one-on-one. Mica says that she has reached out to multiple professors for assistance with the class material as well as HR or business problems at work. She states that she owes a lot of her success to her professors.
Carlos Duran’s hometown is Santa Cruz, California. He decided to pursue a degree in Human Resources (HR) when he worked as a supervisor for a retail pharmacy. He truly enjoyed working with people and helping them find meaning in their work.
He states that the HR program has taught him a lot, but the class that was most important for him was Strategic Compensation because it helped him excel in his internship as a payroll intern at The Walsh Group: Archer Western Construction. He considers that internship his greatest academic achievement because he was able to apply everything that he had learned in the classroom to real-life work scenarios. And the best part? He was offered a full-time position after graduation!
His career aspirations include becoming an HR Generalist and an HR Executive. He encourages future HR students to get to know their instructors and to build a relationship with them as they are great resources! Also, find an internship because it generates many opportunities!