Iris Guinto, Jonathan Pablo become first graduating seniors to pass SHRM-CP exam

Iris Guinto, Jonathan Pablo become first graduating seniors to pass SHRM-CP exam

Iris Guinto, Jonathan Pablo become first graduating seniors to pass SHRM-CP exam


Jonathan Pablo, Iris Guinto, Joann Diego, and Richard Colfax
(From left) Alumni Jonathan Pablo and Iris Guinto with human resources program faculty Dr. Joann Diego and Dr. Richard Colfax

Two December graduates of the Bachelor of Business Administration human resources degree program — Iris Guinto and Jonathan Pablo — have made University of Guam history, earning their SHRM-CP credentials almost concurrently with earning their degrees. As the first graduating seniors able to meet the requirements to take the SHRM-CP exam since UOG's HR program became aligned with the Society for Human Resource Management, they have both taken and passed the exam gaining the certification sooner than any other graduate.

“This is a very difficult and major accomplishment,” said Dr. Richard S. Colfax, professor of human resource management, faculty advisor for the UOG student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management, and a SHRM-SCP, or senior certified professional. “And these are the first UOG students to achieve this milestone.”

The SHRM-CP certification signifies that an HR professional has current, relevant, and globally applicable skills for managing a company’s or organization’s employees and establishing its HR policies.

Aligning UOG’s human resources program with SHRM

Colfax worked to align the School of Business and Public Administration’s human resources degree concentration with the SHRM association two years ago so that graduating UOG seniors could qualify for the SHRM-CP exam. Now, students have the opportunity to earn this credential sooner than ever before and better position themselves in the workforce by being SHRM-CPs as they graduate.

“As soon as I took my first HR class, I wanted this certification,” Guinto said. “My instructor, Dr. Joann Diego, mentioned it a couple times in class, and it was always something I wanted. She inspired me to get it.”

Qualifying to take the SHRM-CP exam

Applying to take the SHRM-CP exam is more common among those already in the workforce who have met the requirement of having one to two years of experience in an HR role. College seniors, however, are also eligible to apply as long as they are attending a university with an approved human resources degree program and have at least 500 hours of practical HR experience that can be certified by the program’s faculty.

“When Dr. Colfax first told me about the certification and the alignment between UOG and SHRM and that no student had gotten it yet, I wanted to be part of that first batch,” Pablo said. “It also validates the HR program that UOG has in terms of having sufficient preparation for a certification like this.”

The students can accumulate the required hours of experience through internships, special projects, research, or a full- or part-time job in an HR role. Pablo earned his hours working for ASC Trust Corp., and Guinto worked for the MedPharm group of companies.

With their experience hours certified by Colfax, Guinto and Pablo then had to take the four-hour, 160-question SHRM-CP exam within two months of graduating. It took several months of studying, they said, but they felt well-prepared.

“All of our study materials that we went through, none of it was new, so it was just a matter of mastering the skills that we had already been introduced to,” Pablo said. “[Our] accomplishments are simply the byproducts of inspiration the SBPA faculty had instilled in us.”

Guinto said her professors not only taught her the material, but offered her test-taking tips that were instrumental in her passing it.

“I’m so proud of these kids,” said instructor Joann Diego, who is a SHRM-CP herself and a founding member of the university’s SHRM chapter. “They’re the foundation now for everybody else, for the future.”

More SHRM-CPs coming up

Four more UOG seniors earning degrees in human resources this semester have been qualified by Colfax to register for the SHRM-CP exam and will be taking it this summer. They are participating in a weekly study group online to prepare.

“We wish them the best of luck in their pursuit of this major certification,” Colfax said.

Upcoming students wanting to pursue the field of human resources can do so through the Business Professional Pathway of the Bachelor of Business Administration program.

The School of Business and Public Administration would like to congratulate three other UOG alumni and now master’s students in the Professional Master of Business Administration program who recently became SHRM certified professionals:

  • Austin Terlaje, SHRM-CP
    2018 Bachelor of Business Administration
    General Manager and Associate Consultant at Allied Business Consultants
  • Jeremy Copple, SHRM-CP
    2016 Bachelor of Business Administration – International Tourism and Hospitality Management
    Assistant Vice President/HR Learning and Development Officer at Bank of Guam
  • Nicole Mesa, SHRM-CP
    2016 Bachelor of Business Administration – Human Resources Management
    HR Business Partner Training and Development at Docomo Pacific