Amy Smith – Athens State University

Prior to attending Athens State, I worked in human resources for about 3 years. I ended up in the field due to turnover in the office I worked in, and ended up loving it. Two weeks before I got my BBA from Athens, I got a job offer from my current employer (previously Del Monte Foods) for an HR position that would transition into an HR Manager position. The HR Manager who hired me was retiring and looking for someone to replace him. It was an excellent opportunity that I would not have gotten had I not had the experience and education level required for this sort of role.

After that, I became very involved in HR activities in my community, serving on my local SHRM board in various roles (including current chapter president) and serving on the Alabama SHRM state council. I am also a member of the Hospice HR Committee board and the Decatur Personnel Officer’s Association. I am happy that the SHRM chapter that I am a part of can also assist students who are pursuing a degree in human resources by sponsoring the Athens State SHRM Student chapter.

When I decided to go back to school to obtain my degree in human resources, I had a one year old child and a five year old child and was working 45+ hours per week. I was doing the job of an HR manager without the title or pay and was mistreated on a daily basis by my boss. I had to travel to Athens two nights a week for class and sometimes didn’t get home until 11pm. It was hard, and I wasn’t sure I could do it at first. But, it was ultimately worth it in the end. My old boss doesn’t know it, but he inspired me to better myself by pursing my education.

I really enjoyed my entire experience at Athens state. I enjoyed the weekend course format that was popular when I was attending. By utilizing this schedule, I was able to fit more classes into a semester without having to attend class every week.

Professor Jim Kerner was a true inspiration to me. He was my first instructor and later became my advisor. I liked how he brought real-world examples into the classroom and made the material more understandable and fun to learn about. Also, Dr. Kim LaFevor has been a mentor and friend to me since graduation. She is a part of the SHRM chapter that I am currently the president of (TVCSHRM) and has given me guidance on my MBA studies. Dr. LaFevor was also a great instructor when I was at Athens State. I really enjoyed her classes.