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myHR: August 21, 2019

Discover Creative Problem Solving Techniques

Staff Meeting with Light Bulb Hanging OverheadProblem solving is a challenge no matter what department you’re in, but it doesn’t have to reduce productivity for you and your colleagues. Learn creative ways to find solutions by attending the Creative Problem Solving workshop on September 12 from 9am-12pm at 3624 Market Street, Suite 1A South.

At this event, participants will learn techniques to recognize and identify problems, rediscover their creative ability, learn about roadblocks that prevent creative thinking, and explore ways to manage creative people. 

Carla Thomas, Senior Training and Development Consultant, says often times we get “stuck in a loophole when problem solving.” Thinking creatively helps you see beyond that trap.

“Creativity not only allows us to think outside of the box, but inevitably, get to better solutions when approaching tasks,” Thomas says. 

Throughout the workshop participants will also engage in hands-on exercises that challenge thinking and explore how assumptions impact problem solving. You’ll learn how to overcome mental obstacles and see problems from new angles. Group activities will also help you to build your collaborative skills. 

“The best ideas come out of collective thinking,” says Thomas. “Approaching a solution with that in mind will save time and energy in the long run.” 

Think outside of the box and register for Creative Problem Solving today. After attending the session, your department will be charged $75 for this half-day workshop.

Human Resources Gives Local Students Professional Experience 

Headshot of David Salvo 2019 summer internEach year, the Division of Human Resources operates a 10-week summer internship program to attract and develop future HR professionals. Two interns participated in the program this year: Kevone Roberts, a rising senior at Penn State and David Salvo, a rising senior at Rowan University. 

Roberts and Salvo worked with HR recruiters and the Staff and Labor Relations department on several projects. They also shadowed staff members in Learning and Education, HR Communications, Quality of Work Life, Benefits, Compensation, and Human Resources Information Management. 

Some of the assignments included conducting research, sourcing for candidates, preparing content for a department video, and analyzing participation rate data for events and workshops. 

Roberts and Salvo also received direction from mentors Paula Pritchett, Senior Specialist, Staff Relations, and Jamie Apgar, Training Coordinator. Brandon Harris, Administrative Coordinator and Beverly Carter, Senior Staff Recruiter, lead the internship program. 

“The HR internship program is important for our interns because they are afforded the opportunity to advance their professional skills to develop and enhance their marketability,” says Brandon Harris. 

Beverly Carter adds, “It’s important to Penn because while we are able to provide a meaningful internship opportunity, we are also gaining the benefits of the intern’s work product and new and diverse perspectives.”

In this Q&A, Roberts and Salvo share their thoughts about their internship experience and how their time at Penn has shaped their interests in the Human Resources field. 

Penn HR: Why did you want to intern at Penn? 

Headshot of Kevone Roberts 2019 summer internRoberts: A lot of internships don’t offer the opportunity to see all aspects of HR and Penn does so that was something that really attracted me to this internship. I also felt like it was a great opportunity to see how HR is managed at a university, which can be a lot different than in the for-profit world. 

Salvo: Penn is such a premiere university that I felt it was a good opportunity for me. This internship allowed me to work with all functions of HR, so it was really great. 

Penn HR: What interests you about the Human Resources field? 

Roberts: The fact that it’s continuously changing and growing. I feel that being in a profession where it’s not the same every day will be a great fit for my personality. 

Salvo: People really drive the business for the nonprofit organization so helping people develop and grow professionally is something that I would love to get into. 

Penn HR: How did having a mentor during the internship shape the experience for you? 

Roberts: It was a great having mentors because they brought a different perspective to us. They were able to show us a little more, not only of what they do, but also about the type of work in the schools and centers they assist. For example, my mentor Paula took us to Wharton for a tour because that’s a school or center that she supports. 

Salvo: Jamie really helped me slow down and take time to think about my work and how I was growing. She would ask me about the projects I was working on and what specific skills I gained which helped me learn about my development.  We also discussed new goals and how I could format all of my experience onto a resume. 

Penn HR: What do you plan to do with the experience and skills that you gained through the internship? 

Roberts: I plan to take what I learned at the internship to help guide me in deciding which area I want to work in. Since I’ve had this experience in the non-profit sector it might steer which way I would like to go in my career. 

Salvo: I just want to apply all the experience I gained and look for a career in HR. Hopefully I can grow my experience in HR and help as many people as I can. 

Penn HR: What advice would you give to future candidates about navigating the internship? 

Roberts: Be prepared to definitely do real work. I would also say ask a lot of questions and just take advantage of all of the opportunities that are provided. 

Salvo: Come in ready to learn because there are going to be so many learning opportunities. You just have to be accepting and willing to learn. Ask as many questions as you can and take as many notes as you can because you can share your experience with your professors or classmates. 

Flexible Spending Account Due Date Reminder 

Calendar with September 30 MarkedPenn is now in a new benefits plan year, but there is still time for you to submit Health Care and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) claims for reimbursement from fiscal year 2018-2019.

If you participate in Penn’s Health Care and Dependent Care FSA plans, the deadline to submit your claims for reimbursement from fiscal year 2019 is September 30. 

The last day to incur 2018-2019 expenses for Dependent Care FSA claims is September 15. The last day to incur 2018-2019 Health Care FSA expenses was June 30, 2019. 

You can submit claims online by logging in to the WageWorks website and clicking the submit receipt or claim button to upload electronic copies of your receipts or Explanation of Benefits (EOBs). You can also use the WageWorks EZ receipts mobile app to manage your benefits. 

Remember, if you participate in a Health Care Flexible Spending Account, $500 of unused funds in your account will automatically roll over to the following plan year. The Health Care FSA lets you use pre-tax money to pay for qualified healthcare expenses. Rolling over funds does not change the maximum Health Care FSA amount you can elect for the following plan year. You can continue to contribute up to $2,700 for full-time staff each plan year. Participants in the Dependent Care FSA cannot roll over any unused funds.

If you have questions about your FSA or submitting a claim, call the Benefits Solution Center (powered by Health Advocate) at 1-866-799-2329. 

Visit the Flexible Spending Accounts pages for additional details.

Healthy Meals: Cherry Burgers

Cherry Burger platter

Grilling season is not over yet. Try this healthy burger recipe with dried cherries mixed into ground beef to reduce fat and increase antioxidants. Serve the burgers with your favorite garnishes for a mouthwatering meal. 

Find the recipe here.

Click here to send us your healthy recipes and tips.


Did You Know? Bike for Cancer Research and Be in the Know Points

Pedal through scenic Berks County and support cancer research at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center in the September 15 Breakthrough Bike Challenge. This event counts as a registered community physical activity worth 20 Bonus Action points for the 2019-2020 Be in the Know campaign. Visit to register.