Staff

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Luanne Mayorga
Executive Director

Luanne Mayorga

Luanne Mayorga has been involved in numerous facets of education for the past 17 years as a college instructor, director of an experiential learning program, and business advisor. Her work with Econ Illinois involves developing metrics to measure student learning and working with a variety of statewide partners. Additionally, she serves on the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act’s Finance and Business Services committee.

Luanne is completing her doctorate in Adult and Higher education with a cognate in Educational Research and Assessment from Northern Illinois University. She holds a masters of Business Administration degree with concentrations in Marketing from Benedictine University, and a bachelor’s degree in both Fashion Design and Merchandising from Dominican University.

Contact Info: lmayorga@niu.edu

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Joanne Dempsey
Former Executive Director and
Transition Consttuant

Joanne R. Dempsey

Joanne Dempsey is providing interim leadership and consultation to assist Econ Illinois with transition to new leadership. Dempsey was President and Executive Director of Econ Illinois from 1995–2012.  Prior to coming to NIU, she was Associate Director at Bradley University’s Center for Economic Education for 14 years; and Assistant Director of the Center at SIU-Edwardsville for the 5 prior years. Joanne received her B.A. in Elementary Education from Elmhurst College and an M.A. in Secondary Education with a focus in Economics from Bradley University.

A national and state leader in economic education for over 40 years, Dempsey has been the recipient of numerous awards for her work at the state, national and international level. She has served as a consultant to the Illinois State Board of Education in the development of learning standards; as a consultant to the Council of Chief State School Officers on standards benchmarking; and to the Charles F. Kettering Foundation on community involvement in public policy. She has authored curriculum materials for economics and personal finance education, as well as an after-school economics and entrepreneurship program for grades five through seven, currently being implemented in partnership with the YMCA of South Africa.

Contact Info: jdempsey@niu.edu

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Rosie Sajak, CFRE
Director of Development and
Corporate Relations

Rosie Sajak

Rosie Sajak, CFRE Director of Development and Corporate Relations, has been in the development field for 25 years and prior to that, video production for 10 years. Rosie has experience fundraising for a variety of different organizations including the Quad Cities Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, DuPage Children’s Museum, Prevent Child Abuse Arizona and now Econ Illinois as Director of Development and Corporate Relations.

Ms. Sajak earned her B.A. at Western Illinois University and has earned the Certified Fundraising Executive credential (CFRE).

Contact Info: rsajak@niu.edu

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Dr. John Cowan
Senior Research Associate

Dr. John Cowan 

Dr. John Cowan is a teacher, instructional designer, program developer, and researcher with more than 25 years of experience creating high-impact educational technology programs for elementary, high school, and post-secondary institutions. John began his career as an elementary school teacher and worked as an elementary and high school technology coordinator in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After earning a doctoral degree in 2003, John became the director of an Internet-Based Master’s Degree in Educational Technology (iMet) program at Sacramento State University in California. In 2009, John returned to his home state of Illinois and was a tenure-track faculty member in the Educational Research, Technology, and Assessment (ETRA) department within the College of Education at Northern Illinois University. John is a practitioner of design-based research and uses alternative research methods to produce immediately usable, high impact data to support decision making.

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Beth Metzler
Programs and Partnerships

Beth Metzler

Beth joined Econ Illinois in 2002 to actively support economic, personal finance and entrepreneurship education. She facilitates STEM Finance Learning Exchange activities and resources, works to establish partnerships between industry and education, presents professional development workshops, coordinates high school student competitions, and communicates with legislators about award winning teachers and students.

Passionate that all individuals need the educational tools, resources, and information to successfully reach their career goals, she works to positively impact as many students as possible. Beth earned her B.S. in Finance from Northern Illinois University and a MA in Economic Education and Entrepreneurship from the University of Delaware. Prior to Econ Illinois, Beth supported special education students at the middle school level. She remains an active volunteer for a few select organizations.

Contact Info: bmetzler@niu.edu

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Debbie Kerman
Stock Market Game Program Director

Debbie Kerman

Debbie Kerman, Program Director, joined Econ Illinois in October of 2008. She received her Master of Arts in Teaching from Aurora University in 2002. She received her undergraduate degree from Governors State University in Business Administration. She is a proponent of life-long learning.

Debbie oversees The Stock Market Game™ program and the Illinois Economic Concepts Poster Contest.

Contact Info: dkerman@niu.edu