Speach receives SHRM Dissertation Grant

Ph.D. student Mary Eve Speach was recently selected as a SHRM Foundation Dissertation Grant Recipient. // Photos courtesy of scheller.gatech.edu

In July, it was announced that Mary Eve Speach, a current Organizational Behavior Ph.D. candidate within the Institute’s Scheller College of Business, had been selected as a 2022 SHRM Foundation Dissertation Grant Recipient.

The SHRM Foundation — the Society for Human Resource Management — was founded in 1966. According to the SHRM Foundation website, it currently serves as the largest HR professional organization across the globe, “representing more than 300,000 HR professionals across the globe, impacting 115 million workers and their families.” 

As an organization, they aim to “mobilize the power of HR and activate the generosity of donors to lead positive social change impacting all things work.” 

The SHRM Foundations have established a variety of opportunities to showcase their purpose; they offer research, fellowship and impact awards. They also have dissertation grants — the pathway Speach opted for. 

For this specific program, the foundation hosts an annual competition in tandem with the HR Division of the Academy of Management. The winners of the competition are
awarded with said grant. 

The contest is very selective, with only four winners each year. According to their website, the winners may be HR professionals, students, academics or researchers. Speach is one of the few doctoral students to have ever been given the award; only three other doctoral students have achieved
this impressive feat. 

Speach said that the procedure she had to follow in order to enter the competition was rigorous. More specifically, “the requirements included submitting a dissertation addressing an issue important to the field of human resources with the potential for application in HR practice.”

After months of effort being applied to the project, Speach submitted her dissertation titled “Am I Paranoid or Did I Just Receive Advice?: The Impact of Disability Status on Recipient Behavior Following Unsolicited Advice.”

According to Speach, the essay was centered around “identifying how the treatment of employees is tied to their differences, with particular interest in studying diversity literature as it relates to employees with disabilities.”

Speach was awarded $5,000 for her work. She will be utilizing the money to further her pre-existing research within
the realm of HR. 

Following her recognition by the SHRM Foundation, Speach extended her gratitude towards those who assisted her.

“I am greatly honored to have been selected for this grant by the SHRM Foundation. In addition to my committee members, I would like to particularly thank my dissertation chair, Dr. Katie Badura, for her nomination and continued guidance throughout the past three year,” Speach said.

Prior to her tenure as a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute, Speach attended Georgia College and State University, where she obtained a Bachelor’s of Science
in Political Science.

Afterwards, she came to the Institute to further her education. She obtained a Masters in Public Policy in 2018 and another Masters in Management in 2021. 

Since 2018, she has been pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Behavior. She is expected to graduate in 2023. 

While working towards her Doctorate, Speach has taken up other roles within the community. 

During her first year at the Institute, she served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for American Government courses. Furthermore, she acted as an instructor of Introduction to
Organizational Health in 2021. 

Currently, she remains a Graduate Research Assistant. According to her website, Speach’s research emphasizes individual differences, stereotypes, negotiation and leadership. 

More specifically, she looks at the “perspective of the employee with the disability as well as who is most likely to identify
as having a disability.” 

In reference to the two undergraduate courses she has taught, Speech says that, “throughout [those] experiences, [she] has discovered teaching to be not only a meaningful endeavor but also one in which [she] greatly enjoys.” 

Scheller, along with the rest of the Institute, is excited to see what ventures Speach chooses to embark on next. Speach’s passion for her area of expertise will continue to take her — as well as the individuals
she mentors — far.