Excellence in Business Leadership: Roxanna Wood ’19

The Love Award for Excellence in Business Leadership provided the senior with an opportunity to pursue a research project exploring the variation in work sample tests’ levels of predictive validity.

As a recipient of the Love Award for Excellence in Business Leadership, senior Roxanna Wood conducted a research project to learn more about the relationship between data and core human resource practices.

Established by a gift from The Martha and Spencer Love Foundation, the Love Award for Excellence in Business Leadership honors and provides a student in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business with $12,000 to complete an independent research project on a business-related topic.

Wood’s project, “Not all Work Sample Tests are Created Equal: Investing the Impact of Test Fidelity on the Predictive Validity of Work Sample Tests,” aims to help human resource professionals make smarter hiring decisions by enabling them to develop better work sample tests. Previous research indicates selection tests that closely mimic the job the candidate applies for have a varying level of ability to predict a candidate’s future job performance, Wood explains.

Under the guidance of faculty mentor Brian Lyons, associate professor of management, Wood explored how the concepts of physical fidelity, i.e. how similar a test is to the physical environment of the job, and psychological fidelity, i.e. how well the test assesses the attributes needed for the job, can help explain the variation in work sample tests’ predictive validity.

“Basically, my mentor and I are asking the question: Will work sample tests that are higher in either physical or psychological fidelity be better predictors of future job performance,” Wood says. “If so, which type of fidelity is relatively more important?”

Over the past year, Wood read and collected data from 38 scholarly journal articles, in addition to developing scales to measure psychological and physical fidelity. She regularly met with Lyons throughout the research process to ensure expectations and industry standards were met.

“As someone completely inexperienced in research, I relied heavily on support from my mentor,” Woods explains. “Dr. Lyons provided clear guidance and direction, which allowed me to gain experience without worrying if I was doing research the ‘right’ way. He laid out deadlines, expectations, articles to read, assignments, and provided feedback.”

From this experience, Wood gained a deeper understanding of how human resource practices can be quantified. “People are a company’s most valuable asset, but businesses demand numbers,” Wood says. “It is vital HR professionals not only make data-driven decisions, but also communicate how their programs, policies and ideas (when implemented) can affect the bottom-line. Our research will help practitioners create more valid selection tests, making their practices stronger and supported by data.”

Wood presented her research at Elon’s Student Undergraduate Research Forum on April 30.

After graduating with a management degree, she will attend Cornell University’s Master of Industrial and Labor Relations program.

About Roxanna Wood ‘19

Hometown: Christiana, Tennessee

Major: Management (Human Resource Management Track)

Minor: Spanish

Elon Activities

  • SHRM President (2018-19)
  • SHRM VP (2017-18)
  • Women’s Club Volleyball (2017-19)
  • Varsity Volleyball (2015-17)


  • Omicron Delta Kappa
  • Phi Kappa Phi
  • Beta Gamma Sigma
  • Sigma Delta Pi

Study Abroad

  • WT 2018: South Africa


  • Red Hat – HR Shared Services
  • Red Hat – People Operations
  • RegO Products – HR