College grads, take heart: You’re entering best job market in years

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: May 24, 2016

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, the denizens of Southern Methodist University’s campus seemed to move at a leisurely pace.

A few cyclists clicked along the pathways and the stately brick buildings, with their bright white colonnades, were quiet. Commencement had taken place a few days earlier.

But for Regina James, the busy season was getting into full swing.

“There are still students who are in transition. They’re either waiting to hear back about offers — there’s a little anxiousness there — or they’re students that maybe just didn’t get around to the search, so they’re starting to reach out and say, ‘I don’t have anything yet,’” she said. “Those students, we’ll be helping throughout the summer.”

James is the associate director for employer relations at SMU’s Hegi career center.

Experts say newly-minted college graduates in the Dallas area are entering one of the best job markets they’ve seen. But James said that’s no excuse to slack off in the hunt.

“We encourage students to have multiple internships for a number of reasons,” she said. “You’ve got to think about it as, not only are you competing against your peers here, you’re competing against peers from other institutions in the area, you’re competing against institutions nationally [whose students] may desire to live in the Dallas area.”

According to a report by the firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, 1.8 million Americans with four-year degrees are expected to enter the workforce this year, where they’ll be greeted by the best job market for college graduates in several years.

The report cites the fact that the nation has seen almost 70 months of job gains, meaning that 14 million workers have been added to payrolls across the country. Meanwhile, Baby Boomers are retiring.

A National Association of Colleges and Employers survey found that companies are slated to hire 5.2 percent more new graduates than a year ago.

And, the report says, 59 metro areas have unemployment rates below 4.0 percent.

All of those factors add up to a demand for workers who are ready to start their careers.

In Dallas-Fort Worth — one of those metro areas with a low unemployment rate — there’s extra momentum, said Bud Weinstein, an economist and associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute at SMU’s Cox School of Business.

The region’s economy is more diverse than it’s ever been. And more companies are relocating or expanding in North Texas — in part because they’re attracted by the area’s talent pool.

“Dallas-Fort Worth probably has the strongest job market in the nation among large metropolitan areas — maybe not in absolute numbers, but certainly in percentage terms,” Weinstein said. “I think the job market has never looked better, particularly for college graduates.”

Michael Carroll, director of UNT’s Economics Research Group, added that although energy and manufacturing jobs across the state are hurting, “we’re fairly insulated from that” in North Texas.

A flood of migration into the state, Carroll said, has also helped keep wages at a manageable level and competition for workers from scaring off new jobs.

“I think it’s a real positive with all the companies moving in,” he said.

Higher education institutions around the region say they’re bullish on the possibilities for their graduates — whether they’re armed with a bachelor’s degree or trade certification.

“I cannot even tell you — we’re tripping over jobs,” said Dawn Gomez, career services coordinator at the Dallas County Community College District’s Northlake College in Irving.

The hard part, she said, is connecting students with the right employer in an age when job hunters have countless online resources.

“Soft skills, communication, critical thinking, teamwork — employers want those that can pull it all together in a composed, succinct package,” Gomez said.

For Morgan Slottje, who graduated from SMU in December, settling on a career path wasn’t easy.

As an undergraduate, she said with a chuckle, she changed majors “at least 10 times.”

Throughout college, she also test drove various jobs through internships: She worked on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, she worked in marketing.

When the time came to focus on the job search, Slottje, 23, applied to “hundreds” of jobs she said sounded interesting, from advertising to financial analysis. She considered getting a master’s degree in statistics.

In the end, Slottje said she went to a Deloitte presentation and felt a strong sense that its values aligned with hers: An emphasis on continuing to learn and grow.

“I picked a company where their values really align with mine,” she said. “That’s important with the job search — I want a career. I want to love what I’m doing.”

And although Slottje said she was open to moving to another city, she preferred to stay in Dallas, close to her parents and where living costs are more manageable than in New York, where she went to school for 2 and a half years before switching to SMU.

“I’d rather be in a city like Dallas when I’m starting a career,” she said. “I’m versed in tech, but when I was interviewing [with a company in the] Bay Area, I was thinking, ‘No matter what I’m getting paid, I’m going to be so poor.’”

She’ll be starting a job here, in business technology consulting at Deloitte in July.

Reggie Davis, a 21-year-old University of North Texas logistics student, won’t graduate until next year.

He said he’s optimistic about his job prospects, particularly in logistics. In D-FW, information technology and other “knowledge” jobs that require college degrees are in high demand, particularly given the breadth of the region’s transportation industry.

His father, too, works in logistics, meaning he’s had exposure to the jobs for years.

Nevertheless, Davis said he’s not cruising to graduation day.

For one thing, UNT’s logistics program requires that students intern before they graduate, so he’ll be working at Schneider Logistics this summer.

Davis is also participating in the school’s professional leadership program, which aims to prep students for business leadership with access to mentors and professional development opportunities.

He said that although he’s been around supply chain and logistics work — it’s what his dad does, too — he sees the internship as both a way to get an edge and to test out which specific type of job he might like best.

“If I end up doing well in the internship and enjoying it, I would be glad to consider a full-time position or transition to being a full-time employee,” he said. “But I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket.” READ MORE

Seven Dedman College students awarded prestigious national fellowships and awards for the 2015-16 academic year

SMU News

Originally Posted: May 17, 2016

Congratulations to the Dedman College students recently awarded prestigious national fellowships and awards for the 2015-16 academic year, including Fulbright Grants and a fellowship to the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress.

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Hena Rafiq, graduated May 14 with degrees in human rights and political science and has earned a Fulbright Award to teach English in Kosovo. READ MORE

scholar-nate-whiteSenior Nate White has received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award to teach next year in Spain. He is graduating this spring with a Bachelor’s degree in economics, as well as a minor in Spanish, from Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. He also is earning a Bachelor’s degree in education from Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

scholar-joseph-DiPaneJunior Joseph Di Pane, a biological sciences and history major, was named a 2016-17 Barry Goldwater Scholar, one of 252 sophomores and junior college students selected nationwide to receive the honor. READ MORE

Junior Patricia Nance, a chemistry and mathematics major, was awarded the 2016-17 Barry Goldwaterscholar-patricia-nance Scholarship. Nance plans to earn a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry and pursue a university teaching and research career. READ MORE

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Senior Nicole Michelle Hartman, a recipient of The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), will graduate with majors in physics and mathematics from Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, and a minor in electrical engineering from the Lyle School of Engineering. READ MORE

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Margaret Sala, doctoral student in clinical psychology, has been awarded a three-year Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. READ MORE

scholar-ryan-crossSophomore Ryan Cross has been named a Presidential Fellow to the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress in Washington, D.C. Cross is majoring in political science and international studies with minors in Spanish and history. He is a member of the Tower Scholars program, and has been selected for an internship at the Library of Congress as part of the Junior Fellows Summer Internship Program. READ MORE

For a full list of SMU students who received prestigious national fellowships and awards for the 2015-16 academic year, CLICK HERE.

Congratulations to Robyn Ann Langley, the first SMU Jewish Studies minor

slnewCongratulations to Robyn Ann Langley, the first Jewish Studies minor. She was recently honored at a reception on Friday, May 13th hosted by the SMU Jewish Studies program and faculty advisor, Shira Lander. Robyn is a Fashion Media major in the Meadows School of the Arts and triple minor in Jewish Studies, Religious Studies, both housed in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, and Art.

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Robyn was born in Miami, FL and moved to Boca Raton when she was just four years old. She was enrolled in preschool at the Jewish Community Center and has continued her involvement in the community ever since. She attended Hebrew school at Congregation B’nai Israel and was confirmed in 10th grade. She continued working at B’nai Israel as a Madricha (teacher’s assistant) and was part of the synagogue’s Senior Youth Group (BISY, a National Federation of Temple Youth affiliate). She has been involved with many Jewish organizations, such as Ruth Rales Jewish Family Services, JAFCO-Jewish Adoption and Family Care Options, and the Otzar Program for Special Needs. She most enjoyed working as the lead art and design volunteer for the Otzar Special Needs Sunday school.

Graduating entrepreneur ready to take Biolum mobile asthma management device to next level

SMU News

Originally Posted: May 12, 2016

DALLAS (SMU) – Edward Allegra started his SMU journey as a biology major, thinking he wanted to become a physician. But during his sophomore year, when he began attending meetings of the SMU Entrepreneurship Club, everything changed.

Edward Allegra won the first annual Global Student Entrepreneur Award.
Medical school is no longer in the picture, but Allegra will be graduating from SMU May 14 with degrees in biology and economics, already hard at work marketing a mobile health device for asthma diagnosis and management he developed with a team of SMU students. The imaging system can signal the presence and severity of an asthma attack by detecting and quantifying the disease biomarkers in exhaled breath. The BioLum Sciences (Allegra’s company) app allows users to test their symptoms, monitor daily progress, and understand the cause of their asthma. READ MORE

Congratulations to John Kalkanli, graduating in May with dual degrees in International Studies and Markets and Culture with a minor in human rights

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This week we are sharing some powerful SMU stories from the class of 2016… John Kalkanli has never seen the campus of SMU, but he says he loves it none-the-less. John Kalkanli is blind. Born in Turkey with a disorder that robbed him of his sight from day one, his family brought him to Dallas six times in his first five years of life to attempt surgeries they hoped would make him see. None of the surgeries worked, but eventually he found something else in Dallas – a future home at SMU. After Kalkanli graduates in May with dual degrees in International Studies and Markets and Culture with a minor in human rights, he will enroll in SMU’s Masters of Liberal Studies program with a focus on human rights. After that, he hopes to work for an international human rights organization like Amnesty International or the International Rescue Committee. Congratulations John, we look forward to watching as you change the world. Read more of John’s story at the link in profile. #smugrad

A photo posted by SMU (@smudallas) on May 10, 2016 at 3:21pm PDT

SMU Students Propose Innovation Community For Ex-Fraternity House

Innovate

Originally Posted: May 4, 2016

COMMUNITY WOULD FOCUS ON SPURRING IDEAS

Ingenuity is not limited to the hours of 9 to 5.

Providing a space where students can live and cultivate new ideas at any time of day is the driving force behind a pilot project being proposed by a group of students at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

The living and learning community, dubbed Innovation House or iHouse, would welcome students across all academic disciplines and offer a platform to foster new products and businesses.

“The idea is we want to get people that have this raw passion or have a raw desire, and they’re driven enough to create projects and create their own designs,” said Momin Irfan, a freshman finance, computer science, and mathematics major at SMU. READ MORE

SMU’s May 14 Commencement celebrates academic achievement

SMU News

Originally Posted: May 3, 2016

SMU will celebrate the academic accomplishments of more than 2,500 students at its 101st annual Commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 14, in Moody Coliseum.

Guests are urged to arrive early as seating in the coliseum is limited to four guests per student. Additional seating will be available for a simulcast of the event at Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports, Crum Auditorium and McFarlin Auditorium. The ceremony also will be broadcast outside Moody Coliseum on Bolin Plaza, and there will be a live webcast of the ceremony at http://www.smu.edu/live.

READ MORE

2016-2017 Interdisciplinary Fellowship in the Digital Humanities

The fellowship experience will let you explore new ideas and topics, broaden your expertise, enhance your sophistication in interviews, and see how your skills relate to and can be helpful to those in other fields. Students will leave this course with the skills necessary to execute a digital humanities project and engage in top-level conversations across many fields. This will be the 3rd year of the interdisciplinary fellowship, and the 1st year to focus on digital humanities. Deadline to apply is 5/23.

For more information: http://www.smu.edu/Dedman/DCII/Programs/Graduate%20Fellowship%20Program

Acker Honored With Presidential Award of Excellence

SMU Athletics

Originally Posted: April 29, 2016

DALLAS (SMU) – Avery Acker was honored with the SMU Presidential Award of Excellence, which is awarded to three graduating seniors each year. A three-year captain for the volleyball program, Acker graduated in December with a degree in accounting and minors in chemistry and biological sciences, and will begin medical school in the fall.

11254604The setter was named CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year, as well as American Athletic Conference Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, earning a $4,000 postgraduate scholarship. She finished her career with a 3.941 GPA, graduating summa cum laude. Acker was also a CoSIDA Academic All-American as a junior.

On the court, Acker was named an All-American Honorable Mention award winner three times, and conference Setter of the Year twice. During her senior season, Acker led the Mustangs to a program-best 27 wins and the school’s first conference championship in 2015. SMU finished with a 27-6 mark overall and 17-3 record in conference play to earn The American’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. The Poth, Texas, native led the NCAA with 12.45 assists per set, while also setting an SMU and American single-season record with 1,482 assists. READ MORE

Leading Lady: Jenny Torres, Interim President of SMU’s Multicultural Greek Council

HC at SMU

Originally Posted: April 23, 2016

SMU is proud to be home to world changers, and it all starts with the moment a student decides to become a leader. We are proud here at Her Campus to present SMU’s Leading Ladies, taking charge and making a difference in the community.

This week, we got to know senior Jenny Torres, a human rights and public policy student who is also the interim president of the Multicultural Greek Council. Recently, she was honored with two Hilltop Excellence Awards: the Emme V. Baine Legacy and A. Kenneth Pye Outstanding Greek Leader Awards. Receiving two honors in one night is fitting for a woman who seems to do everything at once. READ MORE