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 Collegewith departmental distinction in Economics.

Dr. Powers's research focuses on the influence of public policy on well-being across the lifecourse. 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 day cares 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.

Academic Advisor


Tosha advises undergraduate students on academic and extracurricular matters within the Economics Department. She keeps students up to date on events and resources, supervises the Economics social media intern, oversees the Tutoring Center and the ECON Honors Program.

Tosha began as an advisor in the department in July 2017. She joins the department after staying home full-time with her children for the past 10 years. Before working on campus, she advised students at Truman College in Chicago for 5 years, and worked for Deloitte Consulting for 3 years. 

Tosha received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Illinois State University. She has experience working with International and Multicultural Student Affairs. Tosha really enjoys advising and looks forward to helping students be successful at Illinois. 

When she is not advising Tosha enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and listening to audiobooks.

Academic Advisor


Stefanie advises undergraduate students on academic and extracurricular matters within the department and campus. She keeps students up to date on events and resources, oversees student groups, and works on many experiential learning and development opportunities for students. 

Stefanie joined the UIUC community and Economics Undergraduate Team in June of 2013. She oversees the selection, participation, and programming for the Economics Ambassadors, a group of students who represent the Department at various events and who also receive various unique opportunities with alumni. Stefanie serves as the advisor for illini Women in Economics and the Economics Club. She also oversees the hiring and development of the general student intern. If you are interested in getting involved with these groups, please contact her! Stefanie enjoys working with students in a holistic manner and developed an At-Risk student program for the department, this includes students on probation or needing additional academic support. She oversees the alumni mentor and peer mentor networks. She is also the coordinator for major events, the Economics Convocation ceremony in May and the Economics Homecoming celebration in October. 

Stefanie graduated in 2009 with a degree in Public Relations and in 2012 from with a master's degree in College Student Personnel Administration, both from Illinois State University . Stefanie loves working with all the wonderful students that the Economics Major brings! 

Academic Advisor, Department of Economics


Kari advises undergraduate students in the Department of Economics. She coordinates most of the events and programming for undergraduate students, and has also taken on many different projects, including developing a mentoring program for new students. Kari joined the Department of Economics in October 2014, but has been working on the campus for over 7 years. She previously worked at The Career Center where she managed the student Resource Center and assisted with large events and programs. Kari enjoys working with students and planning student events.

Kari is honored to be called a "townie". She has enjoyed growing up in the area and taking advantage of all the University has to offer. In 2004 Kari received her Bachelor's from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she studied Psychology. She received her Master's in Counseling from Eastern Illinois University in 2009 and has worked with students of all ages.

Office Support Associate, Undergraduate Studies


Tara sits at the front desk of the Economics Department and provides support activities to the undergraduate staff, career coordinator and faculty. She is the first point of contact for students and assists them with appointment scheduling, collecting forms for signatures and general questions. She manages day to day office functions and provides reception duties as needed.

Tara received her Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership from Millikin University in Decatur,IL. She was previously a personal banker for 8 years and then spent a year working in Deposit Operations. She joined the Economic team in August of 2018.

Tara moved to the CU in 2015 and loves to call it home. She also enjoys her book club, cooking and baseball games. Go Brewers!