Undergraduate Office & Staff
Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies
Melissa oversees all of the undergraduate office functions, including academic advising and programming. She advises students on academic, extracurricular, and career paths and articulates the Study Abroad and transfer courses. Melissa works with the faculty and graduate students who instruct Econ undergraduate courses, and also provides assistance to students who run into issues within these courses. Melissa started with the Department of Economics in September of 2012.
Melissa is a proud UIUC alumna, with Bachelor's (B.S.) and Master's (Ed.M.) degrees, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, Higher Education Administration. She has been working at UIUC since 2007, previously at the Alumni Association with Illinois Connection (advocacy network for the University) and also with student organizations. Before working on campus, she worked for many years in Chicago as a special event planner. Melissa is a big Illini fan and loves the UIUC campus, community, and enjoys working with such amazing and diverse students in the Department of Economics. She is a mentor with the CU One-to-One program and was previously a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) guardian ad litem.
Associate Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Elizabeth T. Powers is an Associate Professor in the Economics Department and a faculty member of the Institute of Government & Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to her position with the University of Illinois, Dr. Powers worked in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland as an Economist, for the President's Council of Economic Advisers in the George H.W. Bush Administration as a Junior Staff Economist during her Ph.D. program, and for the Economic Research Service of the USDA during college. Dr. Powers received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and is a cum laude graduate of Vassar College with departmental distinction in Economics.
Dr. Powers's research focuses on the influence of public policy on well-being across the life-course. Important areas of work include the unintended effects of social policies aimed at single-parent households, persons with disabilities, and the elderly; caregiving in non-familial settings such as daycares and nursing homes; and the caregiving workforce. Her current research interests are focused on child development, including projects on the impact of important family events on children's healthy development; factors influencing how children are parented; and participation of family care providers in the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program. Dr. Powers is also currently engaged in research on the college pipeline of women economics majors.
Dr. Powers has an extensive record of public service. For the past several years she has been responsible for conducting the data analysis for the Illinois Department of Human Service's biannual report to the Federal government, documenting its status in meeting its requirements under the Child Care and Development Blog Grant. Her work on the low-wage caregiving workforce has been cited in the U.S. Supreme Court case Harris v. Quinn. Dr. Powers's declaration on the status of direct care workers in Illinois was cited by the judge as the key evidence in her decision in Ligas v. Norwood, a case brought against the state of Illinois on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities.
Dr. Powers is the recipient of numerous grants, fellowships, and awards. She was an affiliate of the Joint Centers for Poverty Research at both Northwestern and the University of Michigan, the Disability Research Institute at the University of Illinois, and maintains an affiliation with the Michigan Retirement Research Center.