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Majors & Degrees

Alumnus finds success in academia

June 23, 2023

Dr. Rajeev Bukralia started his career with a degree in biology and chemistry, but he was always intrigued by computers and was a self-taught programmer.

Bukralia earned his undergrad in India, where he founded a non-profit organization focused on preparing disadvantaged students for STEM related careers. While leading the organization, he helped develop various technical solutions, including software for library automation and data processing. Once arriving in America, he took a job with Black Hills State University (BHSU) as a senior programmer analyst and systems librarian.

“I worked on their website, digitization, library automation system, and I created mobile applications,” he said. “My focus was entirely on how we could use more innovative technologies to make the library more usable and accessible to different types of users.”

While working at BHSU, Bukralia joined the online master’s program in Information Systems at DSU. He went on to complete DSU’s doctorate program in Information Systems. With those degrees and the lessons he learned at DSU, he built a fantastic career helping students find success.

At Black Hills State, Bukralia continued to move up from systems librarian to director of libraries and then dean of libraries, to dean of education outreach.

“I was privileged to launch many programs and oversaw several academic programs,” he said.

Bukralia founded master’s programs at BHSU in strategic leadership and sustainability.

Eventually, he moved on to the University of Wisconsin Green Bay (UW), taking a position as their associate provost and Chief Information Officer, and running library and IT operations. There he helped develop UW’s master’s degree in data science. He later served as the director of data science outreach and taught in the data science program.

Seven years ago, he joined Minnesota State University, Mankato. Bukralia is an associate professor, graduate program coordinator for all Computer Information Science (CIS) graduate programs, and program director for the MS in data science program.

In this role, he is able to continue to cultivate his passion for working with students. “The biggest thing is I want students to succeed,” he said.

Bukralia founded and advises the student group DREAM (Data Resources for Eager & Analytical Minds) in the areas of data science and artificial intelligence (AI). “I started with two students, and now the club has more than 300 students.”

Data science is an interdisciplinary field that can be applied to nearly any subject matter, he explained. Students from a variety of backgrounds have joined DREAM. The club provides students with opportunities to hear from tech industry leaders, network, compete in events like hackathons, and conduct research.

As a researcher, Bukralia is interested in data science, AI, ethics of AI, and IT strategy.

Outside the classroom, he co-founded the Twin Cities Professional Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). He is also the Midwest Undergraduate Data Analytics Competition (MUDAC) chair. Bukralia has participated in industry data science trainings and workshops at organizations like Google, Microsoft, and UC-Berkeley. He has also served as a research fellow in large companies and is actively involved in the Midwest Big Data Hub and MinneAnalytics, leading non-profit data science organizations in the Midwest.

Bukralia was awarded the Outstanding Educator award from the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities Board of Trustees, the South Dakota Board of Regents faculty award, and BHSU’s Outstanding University Service award.

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