was working for St. John’s
Regional Medical Center in Joplin when a
coworker talked her into pursuing her
Together they began to take the accelerated
evening classes offered by William Woods
University in Joplin. Shadwick already held
a bachelor’s degree from Missouri Southern
State University and had worked at the Joplin
hospital for 12 years.
Toward the end of her classes, she left
her job at St. John’s to become employment
manager at the new Downstream Casino
Resort, an enterprise of the Quapaw Tribe,
in Quapaw, Okla. Shadwick was part of
Downstream’s opening team, hired in
The casino brought on 1,200 employees in
three months so it could open in July, 2008.
All of this was happening while Shadwick
was taking her WWU classes in the evening.
Her favorite part about these classes was that
they really worked with her crazy schedule.
Like many of her classmates, Shadwick
was balancing family life with her degree
program. She has been married to her high
school sweetheart, Nathan, for 11 years, and
now has a 2½-year-old son, Brody.
The program worked with my life and
schedule, and evening classes were a great
way to balance further education with life,”
Despite the challenge that balancing jobs,
families, and studying presents, she and other
members of her cohort persisted because they
all were working to achieve further success.
The room was full of people who had
careers and people who had kids and family,
but it was a great opportunity to get a master’s
degree, which was huge.”
A month after Downstream opened,
Shadwick graduated from WWU with her
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
degree and an emphasis in human resources.
After a year as employment manager,
Shadwick was promoted to human resources
manager, a field she has been in for 15 years.
She also earned her Tribal Human
Resource Professional certification in
February 2009. This professional development
program provides HR professionals working
in Indian Country an opportunity to become
trained in human resources topics, issues,
laws, and regulations unique to tribal
organizations and enterprises.
Shadwick serves on the board for the
member National Native American
Human Resource Association. NNAHRA is
a non-profit organization composed of HR
professionals working for, or providing
professional services to, tribes.
Shadwick was elected to the board as a
member-at-large, but shortly after the election
the board appointed her secretary. In 2011, she
was re-elected secretary and is currently in the
middle of her second term.
Her paternal great-grandmother was of
Cherokee descent, but Shadwick does not
have a CDIB card, which is a Certificate of
Degree of Indian Blood. It is an official U.S.
document that certifies an individual possesses
a specific degree of Native American blood.
However, I have lived in and around the
native culture for the majority of my life,”
The best part of working in Indian
Country is that they truly want the best for
their tribal members, as well as the people
who work for them. The Quapaw Tribe has
given so much to me and my family in the
way of benefits, work/life balance, stable
employment, etc. The tribe is very
family-oriented and want only the best
for their team members. I’m honored to
be a part of this great culture.”
By Madison Mincone ’16
WWU alumna Hillary Shadwick is human
resources manager at Downstream
Casino Resort in Oklahoma.
MBA leads to job
with Quapaw Tribe
The program worked
with my life and schedule,
and evening classes were
a great way to balance
further education with life ...