Just six weeks after graduating from the Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) in May 2010 with a graduate degree in Telecommunications and Network Management, Endri Mataj was appointed to the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Adviser to the Prime Minister of Albania, Sali Berisha.

“I was very excited to have this job offered to me,” Mataj, who was raised in Tirana, Albania, said. “I see it as an excellent opportunity to apply the knowledge and experiences I gained at Syracuse and contribute to the development of the ICT sector in Albania.”

Before coming to the iSchool, Mataj earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science from People’s Friendship University in Moscow, Russia, and he came to the iSchool with a Fulbright Scholarship, the world’s most prestigious scholarship award funded by the U.S. State Department.

“After two years of study at Syracuse, I can conclude that the experience gained by being a part of this school is unique in terms of knowledge, real-life projects, and unlimited possibilities by learning from the expertise of the iSchool faculty, working in the research centers, and by collaborating with other students from all over the world,” Mataj said.

Mataj involvement at the iSchool stood out as he participated in research with iSchool Professor Derrick Cogburn to help the United Nations committees collaborate effectively online, as well as represented Albania at the International Student Delegation for the Student Conference on United States Affairs (SCUSA) held at West Point Academy in 2009. Upon graduation, the iSchool awarded Mataj with the John R. Weitzel Memorial Award for Information Systems Research.

“All the knowledge gained through the master’s degree at Syracuse is extremely important and very helpful for my job,” Mataj said. “Classes like telecommunications policy, broadband wireless technologies, distributed collaboration and technologies, system analysis, project management, telecommunications and network management, IT capital planning, etc., have provided the necessary knowledge and techniques to understand ICT related issues and perform high level analysis on these matters. “

As the adviser to the Prime Minister, Mataj’s main responsibilities include providing high-level analysis on ICT related issues and coordinating with other governmental institutions and agencies to comply with government goals and objectives on ICT.

“Being part of the Prime Minister’s staff means great responsibility, and to me is a professional challenge,” Mataj said, adding, “but I am confident that my overall academic excellence coupled with my previous work experiences has equipped me with the necessary skills to be successful in my job.”