In 2015, the SHRM Foundation awarded over 140 scholarships to deserving HR practitioners. New for 2016, the Foundation will award over 200 scholarships! The SHRM Foundation provides scholarship funding for rising HR professionals seeking certifications and degrees.

Meet Melissa:

In 2010, I was diagnosed with a thyroid condition that required me to focus on my health for a short period of time. Upon relapse, I decided to relocate to be closer to my parents for support. I moved to a smaller town in SW Georgia and was required to start my career over in essence, as there are limited opportunities in the area. As much as I am enjoying small town USA and the town and community, it was humbling and a bit disappointing to take a substantial pay decrease as compared to South Florida. Furthermore, the job market is difficult with few large employers. My job search took several months of aggressive job searching that required me to wait tables in the interim. The process was overwhelming and required patience and perseverance. I recall the disappointment of having strong work and educational history, yet having the job search take so long.

My first job with the hospital (a top employer in our region) was a Team Lead at the gift shop. I knew if I got a job with the organization my work ethic and performance would generate opportunities. I was in that role for almost a year. Thankfully I gained a promotion and have recently earned the opportunity to take on another role within the HR team. A large financial obligation I maintain is continuing to pay for my Master's in HR—an investment I opted for 2006 – 2008 . My previous employer regretfully did not offer tuition reimbursement; therefore, like many Americans, I find myself paying back student loan debt (something I deem an investment in my career).

My goals in the HR field include continuing to grow in knowledge both in the healthcare field and in the HR field to further our mission to attract, retain, engage, and grow our talent. The goal is to do this for better service of our customers – patients! I also aim to diversify my skill set through cross-training and formal and informal development. It is important to consistently challenge yourself and gain knowledge.

Thank you SHRM Foundation for giving me the opportunity to work toward my SHRM-CP by being a scholarship recipient!

***Your donation to the SHRM Foundation makes an impact by helping people like Melissa. Donate today!

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