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USD SHRM undergrads take top honors in regional competition for second straight year

VERMILLION, S.D. -- For the second consecutive year, undergraduate students at the University of South Dakota finished first out of 13 schools participating in the case competition at the 2012 North Central Regional Student Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Conference at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

In the case competition, each team was allowed four hours to review a human resources scenario, write a short paper and prepare a 15-minute presentation for judges. Team members included James Payer III of Wagner, S.D., Lacey Hofhenke of Huron, S.D., Candis Kiihl of Castlewood, S.D., Meredith Wilsey of Sioux Falls, S.D., Mandi Janicek of Omaha, Neb. and Edward Finck of Bayonne, N.J.

“The team put in many long hours of preparation and their efforts paid off in a very competitive conference,” said Damian Lonsdale, Ph.D., assistant professor of management and SHRM faculty adviser. “To beat all the other undergraduate teams two years in a row is quite an accomplishment. They proved once again that the HR students at USD are some of the best in the nation.”

Held annually in the spring, the national Society for Human Resource Management organization conducts regional student conferences and case competitions all over the United States. The North Central Regional Student SHRM Conference, traditionally considered one of the largest, provides participants with insightful educational sessions and an opportunity to network with human resource professionals from several regional states.

“The SHRM conference was an excellent opportunity to network with Professional Human Resource Managers as well as other HR students across the country,” said Hofhenke, a senior Human Resources Management major and SHRM chapter vice president. “Having the experience of reviewing an HR case, proposing a solution and presenting the solutions to a panel of judges prepared me for my future career as a professional HR Manager.”

Attendance at the conference and case competition was made possible thanks to resources provided by the Beacom Opportunity Fund, which was created to allot resources for initiatives that promote students and programs of the Beacom School of Business. Established to give students a venue to learn more about human resources and establish contacts that pay dividends the rest of their careers, USD’s SHRM chapter is open to students in all majors.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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Hanna DeLange
USD News