This article continues the series, “IQ Graduates at Work,” that follows the careers of graduates from the UALR Information Quality Graduate Program.
Soukaina Messaoudi (MSIQ, 2011) is now a solutions developer in the addressable advertising area of Acxiom Corporation. Acxiom Corporation, a global data management company, is well known for its multichannel marketing, addressable advertising, and database management excellence. Acxiom is also one of the leading employers of graduates from the UALR Information Quality Graduate Program.
In her solutions developer role at Acxiom, Soukaina regularly designs projects to create files that support targeted advertising campaigns for clients. The projects typically involve extensive data analysis and entity resolution that draw upon many of the skills that she learned and practiced in the Master of Science in Information Quality (MSIQ) program.
Soukaina is from Morocco and came to the U.S. with her sister Kamilia (MSIQ, 2011) to study computer science at Arkansas Tech University (ATU) in Russellville, Arkansas. While completing her degree at ATU, Soukaina heard about the UALR IQ program from other ATU graduates enrolled in the UALR program. Ultimately she decided to join the MSIQ program for two reasons. First, she liked its originality as the only information quality graduate program in the US. The second reason was that she found information quality to be one of the areas of computing that really seemed to fit her interests. She had always enjoyed studying data mining and data analysis, and the UALR IQ program was a perfect fit for her to continue in that direction.
After being admitted to the MSIQ program at UALR, Soukaina and her sister Kamilia were both offered positions as a graduate research assistant under Dr. Serhan Dagtas, a professor in the UALR Information Science Department. Both Soukaina and Kamilia worked in a research team developing and testing smart sensor networks for the US Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, where they both completed internships. Overall, Soukaina believes that she learned a lot from these experiences and from her faculty mentors, especially conducting research and writing research papers for publication, something that she misses a lot!
Even though Soukaina was a full-time student at the UALR campus, she enjoyed meeting the many remote students in the distance education program whenever possible, especially at the information quality conferences she attended. Her favorite classes in the program were the Introduction to Information Quality, Entity Resolution, Information Quality Tools, and Data Mining. She enjoyed her classroom experiences and believes that she learned a lot from them, especially the fact that the classes were very interesting and applicable to the real world. She credits the Entity Resolution course she took as playing a major role in understanding her current job responsibilities.
In Soukaina’s words “The IQ program gives you the real picture of how companies like Acxiom work. It prepares you for the data warehouses and gives you the tools to handle them. The Entity Resolution class has helped me understand the responsibilities of my current job very well, and it is very applicable in the addressable advertising area where I work. Knowing the IQ principles has also played a major role in analyzing the data and knowing exactly what to look for. For all IQ students, you are in the right program! Try to learn as much as possible and seize all the opportunities this program opens up for you. It’s a great experience, great knowledge, and most importantly, a very applicable program!”