San Diego, California - What is on the mind of almost every student graduating this month? Jobs.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers 2014 Job Outlook Survey estimates employers will hire nearly 8 percent more new college graduates in 2013-2014 than they did in 2012-2013.

That’s good news for graduates, and even better news for San Diego State University graduates. Of the nearly 9,300 candidates SDSU will confer degrees upon in this year’s commencement ceremonies, May 16 to 18, are students whose degrees beat the odds when it comes to landing a job.

Nearly every 2014 graduate of the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Troops to Engineers SERVICE Program and J.R. Filanc Construction Engineering and Management Program has already been offered a job from connections they made and experiences gained while in internships as students.

Graduates of the School of Journalism & Media Studies and the Bioinformatics and Medical Informatics Graduate Program have broken the mold in their fields of study, securing nearly every one of them jobs and opportunities to continue their research.

These students have brought diverse viewpoints to the university and will bring to the work force entrepreneurial spirit, leadership experience, career development through internships and global perspective from studying abroad.

SDSU President Elliot Hirshman predicts great things for the graduating class of 2014.

"The combination of an exceptional academic program and high impact practices like undergraduate research, international experiences, internships, service learning, and entrepreneurial experiences distinguishes a San Diego State University education," Hirshman said. "This Aztec Experience helps prepare students to succeed professionally and contribute to their communities and the broader society."

Prepared to succeed

With students who typically work and volunteer more than 2,000 hours while in school, the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management has placed effectively every student in industry positions or into graduate schools by the time they reach commencement.

"In virtually every major branch of the hotel and restaurant industry worldwide, you will find graduates of our program," said Brian Blake, internship and placement director for the program.

Darren George, a Navy veteran and electrical engineering major, interned at both Linear Corporation in Carlsbad and San Diego Gas & Electric through SDSU’s Troops to Engineers SERVICE Program. Since its inception in 2011, the program has placed 100 percent of its students into paid internships and new careers; including George, who landed his dream job at SDG&E where he will begin working after he graduates.

Also in the College of Engineering is the J.R. Filanc Construction Engineering and Management Program. With curriculum designed to have intensive industry involvement, graduates not only have a 100 percent employment rate but are also offered competitive salaries when they enter the workforce.

"This program is a great example of what can happen when industry and the university team up to attack big problems together. Through partnerships we've been able to send a steady stream of professionals into great careers, building the workforce that will build the buildings, roads and infrastructure upon which society depends," said Ken Walsh, director of the program.

Prior to his graduating this month, advertising major Ryan Bates in the School of Journalism & Media Studies began working as a social media platform and process expert for Sony. Bates' resume was hard to overlook thanks to the success of his personal YouTube channel, which offers reviews of startups, social media, and mobile technology and boasts 1.8 million views since 2010. Through interaction and experience in and outside of the classroom, Bates is an example of the school’s commitment to ensure students learn cutting-edge skills needed in today’s media professions.

Sara Busby, a master's candidate in the Bioinformatics and Medical Informatics Graduate Program, has spent her time at SDSU researching mutations in the bacteria DNA sequence that could be associated with drug resistance in tuberculosis. With mentorship and support from the program’s director, Faramarz Valafar, Busby, whose thesis paper on tuberculosis was accepted by multiple societies for micro bacteriology, will go on to present her research in Vienna, Austria and Sweden this summer.

"I hope my research will help physicians to determine the best treatment regimens for patients with tuberculosis," said Busby, who will continue as a project scientist at SDSU after graduation.

With the support of Career Services, which collaborates with campus colleges, programs and representatives to prepare students for professional success, graduates have participated in a variety of career preparation opportunities before they even cross the commencement stage. From workshops and networking opportunities to SDSU’s new Aztec Mentor Program where students learn, meet and network with professionals in specific areas of career interest, students have engaged in practices that make them well-rounded employees.

By the numbers

During the ceremonies, May 16 to 18, President Hirshman will confer the degrees on 9,271 degrees candidates.

Of those graduating, 7,190 will earn bachelor’s degrees from one of SDSU’s eight colleges.

This year, 2,138 graduate students will receive master’s degrees and 111 will receive doctoral degrees.

Included in the overall graduation figure are 236 bachelor’s degree candidates and 34 master’s degree candidates from SDSU’s Imperial Valley campus.

The College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts will hold the largest ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 16. It will honor 1,779 degree candidates, awarding 1,588 bachelor’s and 191 master’s.

The most intimate ceremony is the College of Engineering, taking place at 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 17. With 570 degree candidates − 435 of those will earn bachelor’s degrees, 131 master’s degrees, and four will receive doctorates.

More information

SDSU will award two honorary doctorate degrees to two distinguished San Diegans − Robert Price and Patricia L. Roscoe − during commencement ceremonies on May 16 at Viejas Arena.

Please visit SDSU’s commencement website for additional information.

Twitter users can also follow commencement tweets posted by students, faculty and staff by searching for #sdsugrad.

About San Diego State University: San Diego State University is a major public research institution offering bachelor's degrees in 89 areas, master's degrees in 78 areas and doctorates in 21 areas. The university provides transformative experiences, both inside and outside of the classroom, for its 35,000 students. Students participate in research, international experiences, sustainability and entrepreneurship initiatives, and a broad range of student life and leadership opportunities. The university’s rich campus life features opportunities for students to participate in, and engage with, the creative and performing arts, a Division I athletics program and the vibrant cultural life of the San Diego region. For more information, visit www.sdsu.edu.