This article is the first in a series, “IQ Graduates at Work,” that looks at the careers of graduates from the UALR Information Quality Graduate Program.
The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) recently announced that Arijit Sarkar has been promoted to position of Coordinator for Special Projects in the Research and Technology Division. In his new role he will supervise the Data Reporting and Data Systems Sections within the Research and Technology Division of ADE. He will be responsible for the daily operations of ADE’s State Data Warehouse, its Statewide Information System (SIS), and all state and federal reporting. Arijit has been working at ADE since he was graduated from the Master of Science in Information Quality (MSIQ) program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) in 2008. Originally hired by ADE as an Information Systems Business Analyst in the Data Reporting Section, he was promoted to Information Systems Business Coordinator in 2011 before assuming his current role as Coordinator for Special Projects. In 2009 he married Babita Singh, and Arijit and Babita have made their home in west Little Rock.
Arijit holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Pune, India. After working four years as an Assistant Manager at Everest Industries Limited, a company in the ACC Group in Calcutta, India, he decided to work toward a master’s degree in the U.S. His sister, Mou Sarkar, who was already working as a Senior Instructor at ITT Technical Institute in Little Rock, told him about the new MSIQ program that was just starting at UALR. Arijit applied and was among the first 24 student to enroll in the MSIQ program in fall 2006. In addition, he was one of the first international students admitted to the program.
Arijit worked as a graduate research assistant under Dr. John R. Talburt while completing his studies at UALR. However due to family issues in India, his studies were interrupted and he missed the spring 2007 semester. Determined to complete his degree he returned to UALR, resumed his assistantship, and completed his MSIQ degree with honors in 2010. He was awarded the outstanding Graduate Assistant Award for the 2007-2008 academic year and also received the 2008 Harambee Outstanding Graduate Student Award. His capstone project was “Applying Information Quality Controls to an Urban Forestry Carbon Database for Little Rock Subdivisions,” a project that allowed him to combine his civil engineering background with his newly acquired information quality knowledge and skills.
It was during his studies at UALR, especially his experience using the SAS DataFlux® dfPowerStudio® software in the IQ Tools course, that he discovered his interest and talent for data analysis and data modeling. He was able to further develop these skills at a summer internship in Dallas, Texas, where he earned a training certification for the IBM Cognos® Business Intelligence tool. One of his classmates, Tonmoy Dasgupta who now works at the Arkansas Department of Information Systems, also noticed his data and problem solving skills and recommended Arijit for a position at ADE where he continues to grow his career.
Working at ADE has given Arijit a chance to exercise his data analysis skills. ADE is an agency of the State of Arkansas charged with collecting and organizing all of the information from Arkansas’s kindergarten through 12th grade public schools. The ADE mission is to ensure all children in the state have access to a quality education by providing educators, administrators, and staff with leadership, resources, and training. One of the most critical resources it provides is the information about students and faculty it collects from the more than 270 public schools in Arkansas nine times each year. The information products derived from this wealth of information must be of high quality in order to give useful feedback and direction to the schools and school districts regarding their educational performance. In addition, this information provides important insights for the Arkansas Legislature, the Governor’s Office, and other state agencies, as well as, the U.S. Department of Education.
Arijit expresses his gratitude to Mr. James Boardman, Assistant Commissioner for Research and Technology, and to William C. Decker, Directory of Information Systems, for giving him this opportunity at the Arkansas Department of Education, looks forward to his new responsibility at the department