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. Prior to joining Econ Illinois, Luanne was the director of Springboard in the Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development at Northern Illinois University. The Springboard program provided students with opportunities to tackle projects from regional businesses. In addition, she was responsible for the research, development, and implementation of workforce development programming throughout the University's region. 

Before joining NIU, Luanne was the director of the Illinois International Trade Center at College of DuPage. She provided over 425 small and medium sized businesses throughout the Chicago area with assistance in exporting their products and/or services to overseas markets. She spent over 4,800 hours consulting with clients on a magnitude of topics. As a result, her clients achieved increased domestic sales of $13.5 million, export sales of $46 million, and funding of $1.175 million. Luanne previously owned a business for 12 years. 

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 a concentration 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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Debbie Kerman
Deputy Director

Debbie Kerman

Debbie Kerman, Deputy Director, joined Econ Illinois in October of 2008. Debbie oversees all of Econ Illinois' programs and competitions. Before her appointment as Deputy Director, Debbie was the Program Director for the Stock Market Game™ program and the Illinois Economic Ceoncepts Poster Concept. 

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.

Contact Info: dkerman@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