October 2019 CHRLS Centerpoint Alumni Newsletter

Greetings from the CHRLS Alumni Association!

Eva Treuer Headshot

As a new academic year begins I often reflect on my first semester in the MA-HRIR program. The nervousness from having quit my job to pursue a new career and the excitement for the adventure ahead.  Throughout my experience it was, and continues to be, the alumni of the program who have guided and encouraged me through the journey from student, to intern, to working HR professional, and now to the Alumni Association Board of Directors.  

Our board is already hard at work focusing on ways to keep you, our alumni, connected with the program, the students, and your own development. The Mentoring Committee is coordinating the mentor matching program to connect current students to HRIR alumni mentors – watch for sign-up starting in November. The Alumni Engagement committee is exploring additional ways to help our alumni stay connected to the program, each other, the Carlson School, and the HR profession. The HR Tomorrow committee is sourcing speakers for our annual conference on Friday, April 17, 2020.  

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Carlson School, which is being celebrated globally and offers a great opportunity to connect. Events including speakers and connection to faculty are coming to Dallas, San Francisco, Seattle, and more locations.

Whether you are looking for a chance to connect as a mentor, be available as a resource for quick advice via our LinkedIn HRIR group, network and learn at HR Tomorrow, or another avenue of involvement – I encourage you take that first step toward engagement this year! Watch the Centerpoint newsletter for the latest research, news, and program updates, and the social media feeds for events in your area.  

Finally, I would like to extend a huge thank you to our new Alumni Board members Josh Arbit, Heather Besikof, Mary Kate Bisek, Melissa Bryan, Kelsy Martin, Francis Sadac, and Padma Tamma; and returning board members Kate Andrews, Kevin Brennan, Melis Candir, Leo Cardoso, Jon Cermak, Kelly Dahlman, Rob Klee, Larry Morgan, Susan Otto, Alex Smith, Rachel Yates, Lisa Zajac, and Mandy Zhao.  We are here to serve you, our alumni, over the next year and look forward to connecting!  As always, you can reach us at chrls@umn.edu.

2019 CHRLS Alumni Board
(Not pictured are Kate Andrews, Josh Arbit, and Kevin Brennan.)

Wishing you an enjoyable and rewarding fall.


Eva Treuer, ’10 MA-HRIR
CHRLS Alumni Associate President

New name for HRIR Master's Degree
The HRIR program, along with the Carlson School, are pleased to announce a change of name for the Master of Arts in Human Resources and Industrial Relations (MA-HRIR) program. Starting this fall, the new program name is Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations (MHRIR). This name change brings us more closely in line with the program’s designation as a professional program at the University of Minnesota. The proposed name change also aligns with other Carlson School professional programs such as the Master of Business Administration (MBA) or the Master of Business Taxation (MBT), and also aligns our Master's program with our competitor programs around the nation. This name change will allow a clearer picture of the program in the eyes of prospective students, recruiters, and other interested parties. There are no curricular changes associated with this name change.

For our students the most clearly visible change will be that diplomas with the new MHRIR designation will say "Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations" while the MA-HRIR said "Master of Arts" with no designation on the diploma itself of the discipline of study. For alumni, there will be no change – whatever program you graduated from (MA-IR or MA-HRIR), your designation will remain the same. Please contact us at chrls@umn.edu with any questions.

Carlson 100 Years


Carlson School Celebrates 100 Years of Excellence in Business Education
The Carlson School celebrated 100 years of business leadership with a Twin Cities event so large the school needed two days and two stadiums to contain it! More than 1,200 Carlson School alumni and friends gathered September 13 on the field of U.S. Bank Stadium to commemorate the school’s impact and innovation. The event provided the Carlson School an evening to come together and mark just how far it has come from an original graduating class of 14 students to an alumni network that is 55,000 strong.


Pat Smith Headshot

Alumnus Pursues Olympic Spot
Pat Smith, ’17, was featured in a September 2019 article from the StarTribune for his training to qualify for the Olympic U.S. Greco-Roman Wrestling team.


Free Alumni Webinars Available Through UMN Alumni Association
The University of Minnesota Alumni Association is offering a series of free career-related webinars this fall for career development and personal growth. If you can't make it for the live presentation, you can watch the entire archive through its YouTube channel.
Where in the World Will Our Degree Take You?
The time our students spend at the Carlson School prepares them for the rest of their professional journey. After graduation, alumni continue to work hard in their fields and have incredible experiences. We love to remain connected to our alumni community and hear their stories. Recently, we connected with ’06 alumnus Vadzim Piuneu and ’17 alumna Jennifer Halbert Byrne. They share their journeys since graduation, and their experiences inspire us as we envision what powerful impact our current and future alumni will make.


Alex Smith Headshot 2019

Alumna Recognized for Excellence in Human Resources
Alex Smith, ’05, recently received the 2019 Human Resource Management Excellence Award presented by Tennessee SHRM; this award is given to only one executive each year. In addition, she has been nominated for the 2019 HR Impact Awards by the Memphis Business Journal. Congratulations!



Follow us on Instagram!
We now have an Instagram account! You can find us @umnhrir. Check it out!


Welcome, Students!
A warm welcome to our 67 new MHRIR students, 54 full-time and 13 part-time, who we welcomed in August during several exciting days of orientation. We also welcomed three new PhD students who have joined us from China and Korea. Best wishes for a great year!

Ellie and Julie


PhD Students Earn Teaching Awards
Congratulations to PhD students Ellie Stillwell, left, and Julie Wellmann who received PhD Teaching Awards from the Carlson School for their excellence in teaching during the 2018-19 academic year.


HRIR Commencement

Class of 2019 Celebrates Commencement
In its 100th year, the Carlson School welcomed more than 1,500 graduates into its esteemed alumni network at commencement ceremonies held in May, including 72 from the MA-HRIR program.


Hoyt Wheeler Headshot


Former Professor Hoyt Wheeler
The Center is saddened to announce the death of former professor Hoyt Wheeler, who died in July 2019. He served as associate professor of industrial relations and the director of the Labor Education Service from 1976-1981; earlier, he taught at the University of Wyoming, and following his years at the University of Minnesota, he was professor of management at the University of South Carolina, where he served as the founding director of the Master of Personnel and Employment Relations program. He also served as president of the Labor and Employment Relations Association, the leading U.S. professional association for industrial relations academics. Services have been held.


Each issue of Centerpoint highlights a member of our alumni community, a current student, and a member of our staff and faculty. Learn more about alumnus Andrew Powers, part-time student Jared Golde, and CHRLS staff member Stacy Doepner-Hove.

Want to get the latest news from the CHRLS? Wondering who the next 1st Tuesday speaker will be? Interested in seeing photos from campus? Stay connected with your alma mater by following our social media sites:​

  • LinkedIn - find our group (Carlson School of Management - HRIR) here 
  • Facebook - find our page here
  • Twitter - find our feed here
  • HRIR Blog - find our blog here and sign up to follow it (in the bottom right-hand corner of the page)

Victor Assad, '88, is the author of the recently published book, Hack Recruiting
Linda Breed, ‘08, is director of corporate HR at TMK IPSCO
David Bryant, ’08, is owner of DHB Change Advisors
Erica Diehn, ’07 MA-HRIR, ’13 PhD-HRIR, is associate professor, management department, at the University of St. Thomas
Brian Fischer, ’01, is VP HR - Greater Asia Region at Intel Corporation
Jessica (Vang) Herr, ’14, is an assistant VP of HR at Synchrony
Brittany (Holmquist) Heyboer, ’12, is a learning and development manager at General Mills
Steve Lottes, ’12, is a senior HR manager at Frito Lay
Caleb Moore, ’14, is a senior HR business partner at Workday
Michele Ramirez, ’00, is a senior HR business partner at Stryker
Tara (Whitesides) Sztykiel, ’10, is a global HR director at Uniform Color Company
Michael Stanfield, ’12, is an HR generalist at Kellogg Company
Mike West, '01, is the author of the recently-published book, People Analytics for Dummies
Barrett Wilcox, ’13, is a senior HR manager at GE Aviation
Jingnan (Janine) Zhang, ’12, is an international sales manager at JBS USA