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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will host the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) Southeast Regional Student Conference and the “Jeopardy”-style Human Resources Games on Friday and Saturday.

The two-day event begins at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 9, in the James A. Haslam II Business Building. The games begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday. All are invited to watch students from more than 25 colleges and universities face off to answer “Jeopardy”-style questions about human resources.

This conference includes speakers, competition and awards, but the event also serves as a review for those attempting the professional human resources (PHR) exam that most students take upon graduation.

“One of the goals of having the games is to pass the professional human resources exam,” said Debbie Mackey, lecturer and SHRM faculty adviser. “We have a great success rate of students studying for the games and passing the exam. It’s great in this tough economy to give yourself any kind of edge.”

UT has three teams of three students each competing in the games. Mary Rawls, a senior in human resource management with a collateral in marketing, is SHRM president and will compete for her second year.

“Preparing for the games develops more than just knowledge,” Rawls said. “Students develop teamwork skills and have pride in their efforts. Many of our members have developed strong friendships over the years from studying together for the games and meeting weekly. These experiences will carry over into our careers where teamwork is crucial to success.”

UT SHRM has been planning for the event since it was selected as the host in September 2009. Mackey and Rawls have been working hard to plan the entire conference.

“Dr. Mackey is very talented in coordinating events, and because we hosted the games before, she has much experience with it and knows what to expect,” Rawls said. “We must cover all areas in event planning to prepare including coordinating speakers, compiling door prizes, scheduling competitions and much more. We are very proud to be able to show off the innovative and beautiful Haslam Business Building to universities across the Southeast.”

Participants from across the Southeast, including North Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky and Florida, will be attending the games. The judges of the event are human resource professionals working in the community.

“All judges are PHR-certified, and 75 percent of the people in the room are from the community and hire interns from our college,” Mackey said. “Alumni love to come back to see everyone compete and give back to the college. It’s all volunteer time and resources. It’s all focused on the students, which is really special.”

UT has hosted the games three of out of the past six years, and Rawls hopes all their preparation will pay off.

The winners receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the national SHRM conference with more than 15,000 professionals. The national conference provides students with an opportunity to network and hear world-class speakers like Jack Welch and John Kotter.

PHOTO CUTLINE: Jeopardy Human Resources Games competing teams. Front row (left to right): ltor Wanda Manning, Stephanie Tarwater, Ashley Cross. Back row (left to right): Jared Haney, Mary Katherine Rawls, Hayden Cook, April Johnson, Nicole Kimble.

C O N T A C T :

Debbie Mackey (865-974-7014, dmackey@utk.edu)

Bridget Hardy (865-974-2225, bhardy4@utk.edu)