June 29, 2017
Sydney Adkins is not letting Summer 2017 slip away. Within the month of June, she attended the largest human resources conference in the world, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) National Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, and began an internship with the labor relations team at Bridgestone Americas in Nashville, Tennessee.
Obviously, Adkins has an affinity for human resources. A native of Lewisburg, West Virginia, she earned her undergraduate degree in 2016 from the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics in business management with an emphasis in human resource management and launched directly into the Master of Science in Industrial Relations and Human Resources (MSIR) program.
“The MSIR program provides a lot more opportunity for me in the future, as the curriculum allows for practical knowledge and skills that enhance my undergraduate degree and will help me succeed in the workplace more,” she said.
Adkins’ passion for the sector began even earlier as a high school student at Greenbrier East, where she was in the human resources concentration. With that brief overview, she was hooked and wanted to learn more.
“Along with having a concentration in high school of human resources, my undergraduate experience encouraged me more into the field, as the courses that I had were a great experience and provided a lot of insight,” she said. “During volunteering at the Greenbrier Valley Medical Center, I also worked with the human resource director there and was able to get hands-on experience that made me certain that I was making the right choice to go into human resources.”
Throughout her time at B&E, she has forged a path for herself to launch a great career. She is an active member of the WVU SHRM Chapter and is the secretary for the Industrial Relations Student Association (IRSA). She also serves as the graduate assistant for the management department. Her drive and level of involvement afforded her the ability to deepen her knowledge at the SHRM National Conference.
“It was a great experience! I was able to learn a lot more about the subjects that I have interests in and attend some sessions that opened my eyes to the intricacies within the human resources profession,” she said. “Listening to highly successful professionals was a great opportunity and extremely motivating.”
With one year into the MSIR program, Adkins says she is still searching for the HR discipline in which she hopes to work. While she does enjoy talent acquisition, she said going to the conference really allowed her to gain more knowledge about sectors she had not previously had experience with and to meet with HR professionals to develop a network for her future career.
“The greatest takeaway from the conference is to know the business that you’re in, as you have to know how the business operates to successfully support it,” she said. “HR is supposed to fuel the culture of the organization, and it has to keep adapting to keep pace with the innovative nature of today’s businesses.”
In true Mountaineer spirit, Adkins has set high goals for herself that also show her positive and caring nature. She hopes to one day work as a high-level HR professional in a company she is passionate about, like a nonprofit or a company that has made a commitment to corporate social responsibility.
“I think the saying ‘Go First’ really illustrates what it means to be a Mountaineer, as we are always striving to do more and help others, such as with the great relief efforts after the horrific flood last year [in southern West Virginia],” she said.