Published June 16, 2015
Volume 23, Number 6

UC Merced Students & Graduates Make Great Employees
UC Merced

By Zoe Francis

The state’s newest university is eager to let employers know the school is turning out top-notch students and graduates who can enrich all types of businesses.
The University of California, Merced is just a decade old, but it is producing students and graduates who make high-caliber employees and interns.
“We’re trying to bring recognition to Pleasanton and surrounding areas about the knowledge of UC Merced being a valuable source for the hiring of interns and entry-level employees from our college,” Daryl Fitzgerald, UC Merced’s associate director of corporate relations, said.
Many employers are familiar with the state’s older universities, but they may not be aware the UC Merced campus is educating qualified students and graduates in multiple fields.
“We’re an addition to consider,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re that campus that is not very well known. More than 50 percent of our students are in STEM – science, technology, engineering and math. We have some good strengths in cognitive sciences – management, economics, English, psychology.”
Merced is home to more California students than any other UC campus, based on percentage of population.
“The neat thing about UC Merced is over 93 percent of the students are from California,” he said. “You most likely have kids who are probably your neighbors attending here. We have such a wide mix of students coming from across the state. That makes them pretty geographically flexible when it comes to employment.”
Merced also has the most diverse student population in the entire UC system – 5.7 percent African American, 25.2 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, 45.6 percent Hispanic and 14.1 percent white.
“What’s so unique about our campus is we have a high first-generation population,” he said of students who are the first in their families to attend college. “A lot of these students are used to rolling up their sleeves and getting the job done. They have a sense of pizazz about them. They want to get out there and make a difference and improve their worth.”
Fitzgerald, who works for UC Merced’s center for career and professional advancement, and his staff work closely with employers to help them find the perfect student or graduate to fill internships and jobs.
“Any employer that’s looking to hire can contact us any day,” he said. “We’re accessible. We have a job posting board that’s available 24/7. We work with employers to try to see if we have a particular candidate who fits their needs.”
UC Merced opened as the 10th campus in the UC system and the only campus nestled in the Central Valley.
“We opened in August of 2005 with 875 students,” he said. “We’re on controlled growth. We have over 6,200 students. We’re a campus that has been built form dirt. When it opened in August 2005, you’re literally talking about one building that was available. A series of buildings have been coming (on board) every couple of years.”
Each year, Merced fields roughly 20,000 applications for 1,700 highly coveted spots at the university.
“They’ll replace the number of graduates we have and add in about 200 or 300 new students on top of that,” he said. “We have a goal of being at 10,000 (students) by 2020.”
UC Merced will eventually be home to a state-of-the-art medical school, though a target completion date has not yet been set.
“Right now, the campus seems to be thriving in engineering, computer science, natural sciences,” Fitzgerald said. “Those areas are doing very well in terms of students getting out and securing employment. We don’t claim to be better than anyone else. We’re just letting (employers) know there’s another option to add to their list when they consider who they need to hire.”
Learn more about UC Merced’s career and professional advancement at hire.ucmerced.edu. Contact Daryl Fitzgerald at dfitzgerald@ucmerced.edu or 209-228-2991.

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