Mervin Jebaraj always had an interest in community outreach roles working with the public. That led him to his job at the University of Arkansas’ Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER). He acts as the university’s spokesperson to the public and media about the Arkansas economy, explaining how national and international economic issues and policies affect Arkansans. He “ensures Arkansans have access to quality information, both in data and analysis, in order to make better decisions.”
His goal is to expand CBER’s services throughout the state.
Originally from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Jebaraj graduated summa cum laude from the UA in 2007 with economics and international relations degrees. Jebaraj completed his master’s degrees in public administration and public policy in 2011.
He briefly worked on a microfinance project with the University of Belize and then joined the CBER as a research assistant. He moved up to assistant director, followed by director in 2017.
In May, the Federal Reserve Bank appointed Jebaraj to its Community Development Council, advising on economic issues related to community development in Arkansas. The council is a 17-member group made up of representatives from the Eighth Federal Reserve District. He also serves on the Association for University Business and Economic Research board.
Jebaraj is a past board member of the Ozark Literacy Council. He also works to develop programming for young professionals at regional professional theater group TheatreSquared in Fayetteville. He served as campaign manager and strategist for state Rep. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville, in 2010 and 2012. He has also been an independent consultant providing economic policy and political analysis for federal, state and local campaigns in Arkansas.