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UWGB graduates look to future

James Taylor, News Writer
May 8, 2013
Filed under News, Top Stories

Purchase cap and gown, check. Party invitations sent, check. Find gainful employment, well, hopefully.

UW-Green Bay seniors are preparing to walk across center stage at the Kress Events Center May 18.

Debbie Furlong, UWGB director of institutional research, said this year’s class size is large.

“As of April 15, 792 students have registered to graduate this spring,” Furlong said. “Another 120 intend to complete their requirements this summer. All 912 students are eligible to participate in the spring commencement.”

The large number of students participating in this year’s spring graduation ceremony has limited students to four tickets to give to friends and family attending the commencement ceremony, Furlong said.

This spring’s graduating class of 792 is similar to the 794 who graduated last year. However, the number of graduating seniors, including those earning a degree in December, has grown each of the previous five years. The 2007-08 academic year included 1,039 new UWGB graduates, and increased incrementally to an estimated 1,357 this year, Furlong said.

Nationally, women account for the majority of graduates at 56.4 percent, and UWGB’s ratio reflects the national trend, with 68 percent of spring graduates being women, Furlong said.

UWGB graduates will be awarded degrees in a wide range of fields this May.

Degrees in business administration (110), human biology (85) and psychology (82) are the most numerous. Degrees awarded in arts management (3), first nations studies (3), French (3) and urban and regional studies (2) are rarest, according to UWGB institutional data.

Whether a soon-to-be graduate has mastered history or Spanish, the next chapter often begins with a job search.

For UWGB graduates searching for work in Wisconsin, the prospect hasn’t gotten any brighter, according to a Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development report.

The most recent data available shows Wisconsin’s unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent in February from 7 percent in January and 6.7 percent in December.

While unemployment numbers crept upward, private-sector jobs declined by 2,300 between January and February.

The DWD report released March 28 coincided with a separate report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which ranked Wisconsin 44th out of 50 states in private-sector job creation.

Bleak employment data won’t foil the celebratory nature of graduation for Sarah Schrader, UWGB senior design arts major, who is looking forward to working in the field she has trained for during the last five years.

“Job prospects for my major aren’t great around this area,” Schrader said. “Possibly moving away from my family in Wisconsin is going to be a change, but is also exciting.”

Schrader is looking forward to exploring her options after graduation.

“It’s one of those things where you graduate and you have that opportunity to try something new,” Schrader said. “For me, it’s the most exciting part of graduating.”

Schrader also said breaking into a field where experience is golden makes the job search more daunting.

“I had an interview this morning, but I think they were looking for someone with more experience,” Schrader said, “which is difficult for graduating seniors to provide, particularly with this economy.”

Whatever the future holds, graduates won’t have to worry about the stresses associated with college life.

“Receiving recognition for all this work, no more tests, or projects is the best part of commencement,” Schrader said.

Commencement ceremonies across the country will feature a keynote speaker. UWGB will play host to alumna Ma Manee Moua as she gives this year’s keynote speech.

Moua, a 1999 graduate of UWGB, currently practices law in Roseville, Minn., at the firm she founded, Moua Law Office.

Moua has been a noted speaker on several campuses throughout the UW System and hosts a monthly legal advice show, Xovtooj Cua Haiv Hmoob, on a Twin Cities radio station. Moua received UWGB’s Young Alumni Award in 2007.