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Spotlight on December Graduates: Hallie Thompson, '16 #VUHRDStory

When I started back in September of 2014, I was unsure of what to expect from grad school. I was a little nervous, a little anxious, and a lot looking forward to what the VUHRD program had in store for me and my future. I heard great things about the program, faculty, staff, students, and school, but all of these accounts really didn’t measure up to my actual experience over the past 2.5 years. So, to give everyone an accurate representation of my experience, for this blog post I decided to make a list of the top 10 things (in no particular order) that I love about VUHRD.

  1. VUSHRM – Who’s got the best student run organization on campus? VUHRD has the best student run organization on campus! If you’re new to the program and reading this blog post, FOR SURE start going to VUSHRM events. My grad school experience would not have been the same if it was not for my membership within this organization. The program has a lot to offer, but only if you take advantage of it! VUSHRM is a fantastic way to meet your colleagues, network within and outside of the program, participate in some very useful professional development, engage in philanthropy within the community, and of course, have fun!! Some of my favorite VUSHRM events to date have been Eastern State Penitentiary, the Cradles to Crayons toy drive, and the Interview Skills Workshop.

  2. The network! – For those of you who know Dr. Bush, the founding director of our program, you probably also know that he’s been around the block, and basically knows EVERYONE. The network that is associated with this reputable program and the people involved with it is outstanding, and it is there for YOU to enhance your career (or maybe even kick start it!) Don’t be afraid to work your network, in and outside of the program – you’ll be happy you did.

  3. If you can dream it, you can do it, because someone within the walls of St. Mary’s Hall will help you get there! Shout outs to Dr. Brandon, Dr. Castille, Marie, Shea, Bethany, Dr. Thoroughgood, Prof. Francesco, Dr. Cozzens, Prof. Powell, Dr. Sawyer, Dr. Bush – you have helped and supported me more than you know. Thank you!

  4. The classes prepare you for HR in the real world – HR Metrics, Employment Law, Managing Strengths, International HR, Workplace Violence, Training and Development, Organizational Change Management – that’s a pretty impressive sounding list of courses, if you ask me, and I could go on! The HRD program offers classes that are relevant, current, and can be directly applied within your own life and career. I love the fact that this program teaches us how to think and act strategically, and to ensure that HR has a seat at the table in today’s workforce.

  5. Free food – if you come to any VUSHRM or VUHRD event, 9 times out of 10, there will be free food there. Just saying.

  6. Annual Networking Reception (ANR) – This past April, under the marvelous creative direction of Bethany Adams, the graduate assistants pulled off one of the coolest events I’ve ever attended: the HRD Annual Networking Reception. Luckily for everyone who didn’t get to go this year, there is going to be another one (hence “annual”) this coming March! This event is a great networking opportunity, drawing professionals from local businesses and around the US, and includes some amazing speakers and presentations, and centered around a common theme, relevant to HR professionals. Stay tuned for “Seeing InNOVAtion” in a few months – don’t miss this event!

  7. Fun, fun, fun! – Read numbers 1 – 6 again.

  8. Research – Never in my life would I have thought that I’d be involved with research on the Big 5 personality traits, workplace violence, and mindfulness during this program. To my surprise, there was so much interesting material to learn outside of the regular coursework in the program and professors who were totally willing to include you in their projects if you asked! I am really grateful to have had the opportunity to experience the research side of HR and IO/Psych during my time in the program.

  9. A different kind of grad school experience – a few of my friends from high school and college are in grad school right now, and I’m not really sure what they’re doing in their programs, but it is not NEARLY as cool as what we’ve got going on over here at Nova. Our program is SO active on campus and within the community - we have professional development (resume and interview workshops), philanthropy (St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service, Relay for Life, local volunteering), networking in and out of the program (the VUSHRM ANR, GVFHRA, Philly SHRM), and FUN (happy hours, basketball watch parties, quizzo). I said it before, and I’ll say it again – we’ve got something special in VUHRD!

  10. Friendship - Graduating from the HRD program in a couple weeks is really exciting, but pretty sad at the same time, mostly because I’m going to miss seeing all of my friends from the program on a regular basis. I’m also not really sure what I’m going to do with all of my free time. I am so grateful for the people who are in my life as a result of VUHRD – what a gift!

So there you have it. The top 10 things I love about VUHRD. There are more, of course, but I’m pretty sure I’ve already gone way over my 130 word limit. Thanks for the memories, #VUHRD!!!


Hallie Thompson is a soon-to-be alum of MS in HRD program at Villanova University, this December 2016. She is currently a Talent Acquisition Coordinator at DLL in Wayne, PA. Connect with her here on LinkedIn!

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