In celebration of National Engineers Week, UA Little Rock is highlighting some of the university’s most promising engineers and engineering students.
Dr. Ashokkumar Sharma, Assistant Professor in the in the Department of Engineering Technology
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Dr. Ashokkumar Sharma is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Technology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock since 2016. He obtained his Ph.D. in Biosystems Engineering from Oklahoma State University and has a M.S. and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from India. He has over 20 years of broad experience including teaching, research, and industry. He has been extensively involved in renewable energy R&D (Bioenergy, Biofuels, and Bioproducts).
He led several bioenergy projects and has over 20 peer-reviewed research publications, 41 scientific conference presentations, and has developed one invention disclosure. He is a member of several professional organizations (ASME, AAS, AEE). Prior to UA Little Rock, Dr. Sharma served as a postdoctoral associate, research engineer, manager, engineering faculty, research associate, production engineer, and site engineer. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with family, playing with kids, gardening, and music.
Why do you think UA Little Rock would be a good fit for future engineering students?
UA Little Rock is a metropolitan university, and it offers several attractive, cost-effective, competitive, and career-ready engineering and engineering technology programs. We have well-qualified, experienced, and caring faculty and support staff along with good laboratory facilities to offer engaging, student-oriented, and diverse academic experiences to both traditional and non-traditional engineering students at all levels (B.S., M.S., and Ph.D.).
The UA Little Rock Signature Experience Award program has been instrumental in providing research opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students. I have personally mentored over 20 undergraduate and graduate students supported by the Signature Experience Program. Besides, students get exposure to a diverse culture and various benefits including student support services, sports, campus housing, and service-learning at UA Little Rock campus.
What do you like most about the field?
The engineering field has been rewarding and one of the highest-paying careers. It involves creativity, innovation, research, and hands-on learning that resulted in many startup companies and big businesses today. Engineering provides solutions to real-world technical problems, and engineers are the main contributors to today’s rapid technological advancements benefiting science and society.
What made you want to pursue a career in engineering?
Many factors such as a rewarding career, pride, intellectual development, well-paid profession, wide job market, and personal satisfaction were the deciding factors why I pursued a career in engineering. Further, I always enjoyed building things and have the ambition to build something beneficial to the people, science, and the planet.
What is your most memorable experience from the engineering field?
The broad spectrum of engineering coursework along with hands-on lab experiences during my B.S. program really prepared me well to meet various technical requirements of a professional career. At the beginning of my engineering job, it was fascinating to manage real-world engineering tasks (e.g., manufacturing, design, drafting, fabrication, work management, etc.). Further, my industrial experiences after the B.S. program helped me reinforce a deep understanding of engineering fundamentals and have long-lasting learning.
Do you have any advice for prospective students who want to major in the field?
Consider your best interests or who you want to be and accordingly decide your engineering major. Your family members or people who inspire you could be a good help in this matter. Keep your ambition high and set clear academic goals and standards. The engineering study requires dedicated and consistent efforts, so practice time management and learn to balance your study, family, and work life. Revise all basic skills (e.g., Math and Science basics, computer skills, problem-solving, etc.) to excel in your engineering education.
Notably, we always review basic skills in the First-Year Experience engineering course at UA Little Rock to provide the best learning supports to our freshmen students.