Alumni spotlight: Sarah Riley ’20, M ’21 enjoys all aspects of the human resources field

Sarah Riley wearing a graduation cap and gown

College graduation marks an exciting time for students. Among all the excitement, recent graduates might find themselves asking, “What’s next?”

For business major Sarah Riley, the next step was the master of science in human resource management (MSHRM) program at Bridgewater College. With one more year of post-grad education, Riley ’20, M ’21 says she was able to advance her career as well as her knowledge of HR.

“I think it really helped me land the job I have now and increase my legitimacy with some of the places I interviewed with because I was so well-rounded,” Riley says. “We had Adjunct Professor Michael Sharp for Employment Law and Labor Relations and he was absolutely excellent. I learned so much from that class that I was able to use in interviews.”

The Baltimore, Md., native now works as an HR Specialist in Learning and Organizational Development and Diversity & Inclusion at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC). Riley was hired within weeks of graduating from the MSHRM program. Her job duties include facilitating employee orientation and training, running all employee recognition programs, scholarship programs and diversity initiatives.

“I’m very grateful that I see employees from all departments at their best, when they’re just starting and when they’re being recognized,” she says. “I think the Talent Management course really helps me now because I do learning and organizational development as well as diversity, equity and inclusion. That helped me understand how to bring new people into a workforce and get them acclimated.”

Riley also credits her time as a SOAR mentor as an undergraduate student at Bridgewater for giving her the leadership experience to lead new-hire orientations at GBMC.

Riley says the Diversity and Inclusion Management class with MSHRM Director Dr. Roslyn Vargas helped her learn how to navigate all the different dynamics to diversity while learning how to give people a voice and make sure employees feel included. For example, at GBMC, Riley has worked with the cafeteria on including multicultural meal options, and National Disability Employment Month events were organized in October.

“The MSHRM program explores organizational excellence, as well as internal issues, legal and regulatory factors, analytics in HR, and consulting concepts and practices. Sarah is a great example of how the program positions and prepare its graduates for success post-graduation,” Vargas says.

For Riley, the many aspects of HR are what make her love the field. From training to diversity to talent acquisition to employee relations, Riley says she likes the “opportunity to be able to represent people I work with and make sure they’re comfortable and happy.”

“MSHRM really gave me a leg up in the interview process. The courses were rigorous, but also very manageable. Even if you’ve already graduated a few years ago, you can come back to school and still keep working. If you’re fresh out of school, it’s also a great opportunity to ease into adulthood. I am very grateful for my time at Bridgewater,” Riley says.

— By Logan Bogert