Positive reinforcement

Jonathan DeGraff MILR/MBA '11 is one of 15 graduate students nationwide to win Society for Human Resource Management award
DeGraff wins award from human resource organization
Thursday, September 2, 2010

Jonathan DeGraff MILR/MBA '11 is one of 15 graduate students nationwide this summer to receive an HR Internship Sponsorship Award from the Society for Human Resource Management.

The society, representing more than 225,000 members in more than 130 countries, makes awards of $5,000 annually to students enrolled in graduate HR programs who excel in classroom and extracurricular endeavors.

DeGraff, during his first year at Cornell, traveled to Paris, France, as part of Professor William Sonnenstuhl's class on managing diversity. He was also a part of the first place team in the MILR Integrated Case Competition.

Also last year, DeGraff founded the Cornell HR Review, the world's first and only HR publication run solely by students.

"It's quite humbling to receive such an award from the world's largest professional HR association," DeGraff said in an interview.

"The funding accompanying the award provided a significant financial buoy for me and my family ... and tantamount is how the award serves as positive reinforcement for the stellar human resource brand that ILR School faculty, staff, alumni, and students strive so hard to represent well," he said.

For his summer internship, DeGraff worked for Dell Inc. at its headquarters in Round Rock, Texas.

While at Dell, a multinational information technology corporation, DeGraff built an online inventory database to manage the company's $1 billion global benefits program. Dell employs more than 96,000 people worldwide.

DeGraff said he was also able to utilize his knowledge of the Spanish and Portuguese languages to drive the creation of Dell eDeals, a discount center benefitting the company's 6,000 Latin American employees and their families.

DeGraff, who has three semesters remaining in the five-semester dual-degree program, is a teaching assistant in Professor Lisa Dragoni's introductory class on human resource management this semester and continues to lead the operations of the HR Review.