Harrison was honored for her contributions to the advancement of financial literacy by Illinois Jump$tart Coalition (ILJ$), an affiliate of the national Jump$tart Coalition, the country’s leading advocate for youth financial education.
The award was presented Nov. 16 in Chicago.
Harrison’s early career years are rooted with the experiences of K-12 classroom teaching; she is the recipient of numerous teaching awards, including the Illinois Award for Excellence and Innovation in the teaching of economics.
She also is credited with helping the ILJ$ Coalition establish its first footprint in Illinois. As a founding board member of the Illinois Jump$tart Coalition, she held the office of treasurer of ILJ$ during its first four years, and designed and coordinated the ILJ$ conferences from 2005 to 2009.
She has been orchestrating summer business institute programs in economics and financial literacy education for the Chicago Summer Business Institute for nearly 15 years, designing and leading professional development courses for educators for decades.
Involved in the establishment of both state and national standards for economics, Harrison recently was a member of the task force formed by the Illinois State Board of Education to review and revise the Illinois social science standards to include the initial financial literacy standards.
Harrison currently sits on the HR477 Advisory Committee, pursuant to House Resolution 477, which was established in part to address various recommendations related to financial literacy as well as post-secondary and workforce readiness in Illinois
Econ Illinois, a 501c3 organization housed administratively at NIU for more than 40 years, has been part of the Division of Outreach, Engagement, and Regional Development since the division’s inception in 2001 and is a key component of the university’s P-20 network.
It provides economic and financial literacy programs and services throughout Illinois starting at the elementary level and extending throughout adulthood, enabling individuals to participate effectively in the economy as competent decision-makers; responsible and knowledgeable consumers; prudent savers and investors; and productive employees, employers and entrepreneurs.
The organization has expanded its programming and its impact significantly in the 16 months since Harrison became executive director.
As the STEM Finance Learning Exchange lead in Illinois, it has launched newly developed modules providing education and experience and offering unique curricular and engagement activities that enhance students’ learning as they explore their academic and career interests related to the finance industry.
Meanwhile, Econ Illinois was instrumental last spring in the development of an online library of financial literacy information and resources to support student educational success. The Financial Literacy for Education Success library was one of the many activities carried out by the Northern Illinois Regional P-20 Network to improve college and career readiness.