Ann Richards BS '19, Human Resources Management

Ann Richards BS '19, Human Resources Management

"Most professors have prior experience and connections with the business community. That’s worth a lot more than what you’ll get out of your textbooks. Learning how to apply your education to the real world is what really matters."

  • Why did you choose UCCS? 

    In 2015, I came to Colorado to be with family. Before that, I had been living in Florida to be close to my in-laws. After my father-in-law passed away, my mother-in-law decided to move here to be with her daughter, and we followed.

    At the time, I was taking classes at St. Petersburg College online and completing my associate degree in Business Administration and Marketing. I was interested in changing my focus to Human Resources Management and found that UCCS offered this program. I also knew that attending classes on campus would provide me more resources and connections than learning online.

    I liked that UCCS had a small campus. My academic advisor worked with me to transfer most of my credits and ensure that I would not have to repeat classes unnecessarily. Other colleges I looked at were not as accommodating.

  • Why did you choose to study Human Resources Management?

    I became interested in Human Resources Management from my accounting classes. The payroll functions of calculating deductions for taxes and benefits were what I enjoyed most in those courses. I found out that in small companies, the payroll systems are sometimes part of the Human Resources Department. I decided to investigate this field further.

    I liked the idea of working in business, doing the numbers, but also serving people at the same time. I did not think I had the stamina to be a full-time accountant. Also, I could not picture accountants throwing their hands up in the air and yelling “Yay!” every time they got a balance sheet actually to balance as I did. Something you do every day should be less of a miracle, don’t you think?

    I joke with my friends that I thought working in Human Resources would be like being Santa Claus, passing out paychecks and benefits all day long. In reality, it is much more serious than that. It deals with many issues that are important in the workplace, such as safety, sexual harassment, and diversity. Human Resources personnel are not the fun people at the party. We are the ones sitting in the corner debating the rules to the board games, making sure it’s fair for everybody.

  • What do you like best about the College of Business?

    I liked having very dedicated classmates with diverse backgrounds. Some of the students I sat beside in class came straight out of high school, some were military veterans, most of them worked, and many had families.

    The professors held us to high academic and ethical standards. The College’s accreditation by the AACSB distinguishes it as one of only 5% of schools worldwide qualify.

    I also enjoyed the supportive staff in the Excel Centers, the Career Development Center, and professors who really seemed to care about the future success of students.

    Beyond the academic attributes of the college, I also enjoyed its location. The Front Range and Garden of the Gods are visible from almost anywhere on campus, but the view from Dwire Halls’ picturesque windows is particularly inspiring. Climbing up to the top of the hill and sometimes a flight of stairs to my classroom was challenging to me at first, coming from a lower altitude. But each day I arrived at Dwire, I’d look back at the scenery as I paused to catch my breath and think, “I’ve made it this far, now I can do anything!”   

  • Have you done any internships? Are you currently working?

    During my senior year, I received an internship position at Goodwill through a connection I made at the UCCS career fair. When I expressed an interest in employee training and development, the volunteer coordinator arranged a meeting with the Learning and Development Manager, who brought me onboard to assist the department. During my six months there, I edited, researched, and wrote new training curriculum. I also generated reports and facilitated onboarding training for groups of new employees.

    Currently, I am still working as a research assistant for one of my professors and as a volunteer for the Red Cross doing onboarding and data entry. My job as a Nanny just ended (the kids are visiting their grandparents this summer, and the youngest begins kindergarten in the fall). So, I am spending most of my time job hunting.

  • Are you involved in any clubs or activities on campus?

    I was a club officer for the UCCS Society of Human Resource Management. Our club is affiliated with the national SHRM organization which serves to inform and certify Human Resources workers.

    Being a small club, we had to reach out to other majors across campus and create events which would be of interest to all students. Also, we wanted to help students with their career planning. From recruitment to hiring, to benefits enrollment, to opportunities for advancement, everyone deals with Human Resources at many points in their career. There are many social and legal issues to be aware of that will affect everyone’s jobs as well.

  • What are your career aspirations?

    I hope to work to influence people’s lives in a positive way-whether that’s shaping their onboarding experience, giving them the resources and training to perform better at their job, or just getting the decimal point right on their paycheck. I’m not sure what specific role I will perform. Any of these tasks will also affect the company I work for and its culture. In this way, I hope to become a leader and business partner that serves the overall organization.

    I've landed my dream job in the Human Resources Department of School District 11. It's a great learning environment where I can support others.

  • How is UCCS helping to make those goals a reality?

    Because UCCS’s Human Resources degree program is accredited by the SHRM organization, I will be able to become a certified Human Resources professional much more quickly. Without such a degree, I would need to wait at least a year to take the exam. And because my courses have covered most of the material that I need to learn for the exam, I will just have to review.

    With my bachelor’s degree and certification in hand, as well as the experience and the professional contacts I’ve gained, I will be better equipped to kick-start my career. I still have a long way to go, but these are the crucial first steps on the road to my success.

  • What do you like about Colorado Springs?

    I think the climate and natural beauty of Colorado Springs are unmatched almost anywhere. We have had some extreme weather events this past year. A snowstorm even canceled my second day of summer school! But for the most part, the seasons are mild, and it’s nice to be outside. Parks like Red Rocks open space and Garden of the Gods are easily accessible, only ten minutes from downtown.

    A surprising amount of wildlife is visible right here in the city too. One day after school, I was walking home from the bus stop when four deer came charging across the road toward me. This was a busy street at rush hour, so it was amazing that no one was hurt.

    Other cities have logos like “Keep Austin Weird”. Colorado Springs is a little more subdued about its uniqueness, but the art culture is growing. New sculptures and installations are going on all the time downtown and along Nevada across from campus.  I know the college community helps to make this possible. I’ve also attended some superb events produced by UCCS Theater Works.

  • What would you tell someone who is considering UCCS for college? What would you tell them about the College of Business?

    UCCS offers top-notch education and more personalized service than most other large state schools or community colleges. You will be challenged, but you will also be supported. Smaller classes mean that it’s much easier to get help from your professors.

    The College of Business coordinates with companies to ensure that courses provide the actual skills you will need as a graduate. Most professors have prior experience and connections with the business community, as well. That’s worth a lot more than what you’ll get out of your textbooks. Learning how to apply your education to the real world is what really matters.