University of Minnesota

Human Resources & Industrial Relations Student Profile

Name: Catlyn Christie
Graduation Year:

Hometown: Fargo, ND

Emily Timmerman

How and why did you choose your major?

Ever since freshman year, I felt that I had too many interests to ever feel satisfied with choosing just one or two majors. I used campus resources, such as CAPE's OUE 2100, to guide my research and decision-making process and slowly but surely narrow the list. I also took classes, held jobs, and engaged in various experiences that helped me reflect on and define my values and what kind of issues I feel best working on. In the end, I chose HRIR because it allows my strengths in empathy and personal development to flourish.

Please give a description (in your words) of your major including the things you learn, favorite classes, and any challenges you have faced.

In my opinion, the HRIR major is about gaining an in-depth understanding of the more behind-the-scenes policies and strategies that influence a business's greatest asset: its people. I've learned about psychology, training and development, compensation methods, public policies, ethics and legal responsibilities, etc. Human Resources is a rather large umbrella with multiple functions, and I enjoy catering the electives toward my interests. In each class, I have taken away functional frameworks and strategies to use in the future. Managing organizational behavior is inevitable, and this major can help equip anyone with skills and tools to be a more effective leader and teammate. My favorite class thus far has been HRIR 3041 - The Individual and the Organization. It was all about organizational behavior and the drivers of motivation. I got to write a research paper about how having plants in the workplace affects employee stress levels!

What types of experiences outside of the classroom have you had relating to your major? (i.e. clubs, jobs, internships, volunteering, study abroad etc.)

Human Resources is embedded in just about every job out there; if you've ever resolved a workplace conflict or done outreach for a student group, you're engaging in HR in a sense. Personally, I've been able to hone the interpersonal and coaching skills needed in HR through jobs as a peer coach and tutor on campus. I've also recruited new members and worked on retention efforts for student groups and my study abroad program.

In your opinion, what is one thing, or one piece of advice that other students pursuing your major should know?

This major is what you make of it. Challenge yourself to look at the world through an HR lens, and you'll see how much it influences society and labor as we know it. Well-done human resource strategy helps people live healthier, more fulfilling lives. Don't let anyone tell you it's unimportant work based on what they know about stereotypes and Toby from the Office.

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