Wednesday, December 7, 2016

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Powering San Diego

Amanda Cheyney embodies the drive, intelligence and ties to the region of so many SDSU alumni who fuel San Diego’s economy.
By Aaron J. Hoskins

Amanda Cheyney arrived at San Diego State University with lofty goals and her family’s future at stake.  

She hadn’t yet celebrated her first birthday when her father died, and she became accustomed to the challenges of living in a single-parent environment where everyone worked to pay family expenses.  

The burden intensified when Cheyney’s mother suffered two strokes, followed by heart and kidney failure.  

The junior transfer student needed to balance full-time studies in business management with full-time work to pay her own expenses and her mother’s mounting medical bills for quadruple bypass surgery, ongoing dialysis and rehabilitation.  

She also needed good grades and, by graduation, a high-paying job with benefits. Otherwise, her family would drown in debt.

“People depend on me and it can be a little scary to think about,” she said. “I feel like I have a good idea what it’s like to walk a tightrope without a safety net.”

Follow Amanda in a three-part video series on her journey to get that job and, in the process, become the first in her family to graduate with a four-year degree.

SDSU economic impact

Cheyney joined more than 10,000 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree students who graduated from SDSU this past spring. More than half will live and work in San Diego.

In fact, of SDSU’s 200,000-plus alumni, approximately 60 percent live in San Diego. They comprise more than half the region’s engineers, teachers, entrepreneurs and the local workforce for a host of other industries.

SDSU’s annual economic impact to the state of California is $6.5 billion, according to a report released in May by the California State University Chancellor’s office. The report underscores that investing in world-class public higher education strengthens California’s dynamic, knowledge-based economy.

The success of Aztecs and their impact on the local and state economies can be traced to SDSU’s many highly ranked programs across a wide range of disciplines.

For example, the SDSU Entrepreneurial Management Center, which will soon celebrate its 25th anniversary, helps students formulate ideas, shape them with unique academic and mentoring programs, and find the investment capital to make business creation a reality.

SDSU’s L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management offers another example. The school boasts 100 percent job placement for its graduates, who benefit from innovative faculty and strong industry partnerships.

You’re hired!

Amanda Cheyney credited her job-search success to professors and the staff at SDSU Career Services, whose staff assisted her with a wide-range of career-building resources, including:

  • Career assessment
  • Meetings with career counselors
  • Resume development
  • Networking events
  • Interview preparation
  • Job fairs
  • Much, much more

“At this point, everything is just falling into place beautifully,” Cheyney said.  “I have my job. I'm finally graduating. And life is going to be really good.”

Homepage image credit: Crissy Pasqual


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