Posted by: Professionals In Human Resources Association (PIHRA) | September 4, 2012

The PIHRA Foundation Awards Scholarships and Stipends

The PIHRA Foundation Awards Scholarships and Stipends

Once a year, The PIHRA Foundation awards special honors to deserving human resources professionals.  Financial assistance is provided for individuals wishing to advance in their profession and further their life goals.  PIHRA members make these cash payments possible through their donations to the Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation serving Southern California communities.

This year, we have awarded four $2,500 Scholarships to undergraduate university students.  Some of the highlights of their educational and volunteer life are included below to illustrate the outstanding professionals that will be and are leaders in the HR community:

Brittany Dolan is studying for a BS in Business Administration (majoring in Human Resources and Management) at the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona.  She is on the Dean’s Honor List.  Brittany is also active as both a PIHRA Student member and as District 3’s Treasurer.  She is also active in volunteer work. She is employed while attending the university and has been with the same employer for five years.

Angela Galgocz-Deak has a 3.9/4.0 GPA at the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona.  She is majoring in Human Resources and Management.  Her volunteer work includes serving as Chair of Community Service in the National Society of Leadership and Success.   Angela’s father serves as her inspiration because he worked his way up the ladder from a line worker to a HR manager.  She plans the same future for herself.  The scholarship will allow Angela to complete her college degree.

Jessica Passos is studying International Relations/Human Resources Management at Loyola Marymont University and holds a 3.49 GPA.  She discovered her passion for Human Resources while working in many volunteer positions including a hospital and teaching English to underprivileged children in poverty stricken areas of China. Jessica has also volunteered with a local Teen Center of the Boys and Girls Club to rebuild houses while improving and practicing her Spanish in El Salvador.  She has worked in a number of internship programs, including her present job as an HR intern at a midsize accounting firm.

Kristen Wilsey is a junior at Cal State University, Long Beach and maintains a 3.46 GPA with a major in Human Resource Management and Marketing.  While taking her core classes, she developed her strong interest in HR because of a professor in Organizational Behaviors.  Kristen’s interest in HR has continued to grow as she serves as a volunteer with Long Beach Leaders teaching fifth graders about attending college.  Her pride in her school is shown to everyone when she serves as a tour guide for university visitors, as well as interviewing and selecting additional tour guides.  In April, Jessica took the opportunity to job shadow at Boeing’s HR Department.

The PIHRA Foundation has also granted two $500 HRCI Awards.  These are presented to HR professionals currently working in Human Resources and pursuing certification.  Applicants for this award must certify by passing a test on HR procedures and principals that is administered by SHRM.

This year’s winners are:

Alma R. Perez is the winner of the Anita Gorino SPHR HRCI Award.  PIHRA’s District 9 set up a special fund to honor one of their long time leaders and a former PIHRA President.  District 9 knew that Anita felt the certifications by SHRM were very important to the profession.  This makes this award special.

Alma presently works as a senior strategic business partner and consultant providing HR services and products for Rice Garden, Inc., a company with 45 restaurants located in 8 states.  She has over 20 years of senior HR responsibilities with a number of major companies including Walt Disney and the Los Angeles Times, just to name a few.  She has a BS in Business Management from the University of Redlands and has taught HR management at Whittier College.

Vanessa Silvera is an HR Administrator at the corporate office of Lawry’s Restaurants, Inc., which has restaurants in CA, TX, IL and NY.  Her HR skills are many and varied, including HRIS management and training, employee benefit administration, recruitment and EEO/Sexual Harassment Training and includes about 15 years of work experience.  She has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Minnesota and a HR Certificate from UCLA.  Now, she adds HR certification from SHRM.  Vanessa is a PIHRA board member.

For each of the last several years, The PIHRA Foundation has provided stipends to HR professionals who are “in transition”.  This year we received 17 applications.  Of these, three were chosen and each person was given a full registration for three days at this year’s Conference.  We feel these professionals will learn a great deal from the conference and will have the opportunity to network with their peers.  Hopefully, The PIHRA Foundation can help “make a difference” in the lives of these three professionals.
We will give a short bio with contact information of these individuals.  Perhaps this too will be helpful for them.  These well trained and experiences HR professionals are available for immediate employment.

Caroline Carlson recently left a Retirement Plan Administration Company after 7 years of service as a Human Resources Manager.  She has a BS from California State University in Long Beach with a Human Resources Management major and she has earned the SPHR certification from SHRM.  Caroline has an up-to-date knowledge of employment law and has practical knowledge and experience in all areas of HR.  Her email address is:

Ana M. Gomez’ prior job was as a Compensation & Benefits Specialist for a large company in the Consumer Goods industry.  She has also served as a Human Resources Manager.  In addition to being bilingual/bicultural (English/Spanish), Ana earned a BS from California State University-Sacramento and a MA, majoring in Labor/Industrial Relations.  She has earned her PHR (Professional in Human Resources) and CCP (Certified Compensation Professional).  Her email address is:

Kevin Panet has over 15 years experience in Human Resources in a variety of industries (aerospace, banking, manufacturing, insurance), including work for several Fortune 500 companies (Boeing, General Electric and Well Point).  He has a BS in Business Administration and a MS in Human Resources Management.  Kevin also has an active SPHR-CA (Senior Professional in Human Resources with California certification).  His email address is

The PIHRA Foundation is proud to be able to honor all of these true professionals and we thank all of our financial supporters.


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