Campus: CSU Fresno -- July 02, 2001

Fresno State Business Students Win National Championship

Chalk up another national title for California State University, Fresno -- Champions of the 2001 Human Resources Games.

Craig School of Business students brought home the award from competition in San Francisco, sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management. The three-member team defeated the University of Texas-San Antonio (UTSA) on Tuesday, June 26.

The HR Games allow students to show their knowledge of human resources in a "Jeopardy!"-style quiz show format, with teams receiving answers and providing the correct questions to win points.

The questions test the students' knowledge of management practices, employee selection, labor and employee relations, compensation and benefits, training and development, and safety and health issues in the workplace.

Fresno State's team of Carrie Belsito, Mary Flynn and Tina Wessels of Fresno with the help of coach Kelley Lucich of Fresno advanced to the finals after defeating Youngstown (Ohio) State University and Portland State University in the preliminary and semifinal rounds. Wessels was filling in for Marylou Mendoza Miller of Laton who had a baby earlier this month.

Other teams in the finals were Pennsylvania State University and North Carolina State.

Fresno State faculty coaches were Diane Decker, Dr. Julie Olson-Buchanan and Dr. Mark Keppler.

Decker said the HR Games are watched closely by corporate recruiters.

"It's not just fun and games," said Decker. "To future employers it says that these students are highly knowledgeable in human resources -- the best and the brightest."

Two teams of Fresno State students and coaches have been preparing for the competition since last November, Decker said. At state competition in March, Fresno State teams placed first and second for the fifth-straight year.

The model for the national HR Games was created by Keppler in 1992 as a fun way for students to prepare for the Society for Human Resource Management's "Professional in Human Resources" certificate exam while generating friendly competition with other student chapters.

The competition was held for California schools for the first several years and then expanded to a national contest. Teams begin competition at one of nine state/regional events and advance to six area contests. This year, 60 teams representing 26 states competed in area-level competition.

The HR Games are part of the Society for Human Resource Management's annual convention, which this year drew 14,000 professionals and several hundred students from around the country.

The national title is the second major recognition this year for Fresno State's human resource management option, which has about 80 student majors. Earlier, the student chapter of the National Society for Human Resource Management was named 2000-2001 Superior Merit Award Winner by the professional organization.

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