Economics Hidden

Section 1

Women in Economics

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illini women in econ

iWiE Information

Illini Women in Economics (iWiE) is group started in Spring 2015 to encourage more female participation in economics, providing relevant support, resources, and opportunities. We welcome women at all levels (undergraduate, Master's, PhD, Faculty, and Alumna). If you are interested in connecting with the group and hearing about upcoming events, please follow iWiE on social media and ensure you are on the email list (see information on connecting below). iWiE is a student-run group associated with the Department of Economics.

Connect with iWiE:
homepage iWiE Main Website (Executive Committee, Upcoming Events, Announcements, etc.)
iWie Facebook iWiE Facebook

iWiE LinkedIn iWiE LinkedIn
iWiE Subscribe Subscribe to the iWiE Email Listserv
iWiE Email

iWiE Executive Committee

These current students are leading the iWiE efforts, along with various committee members. You may also view them on the iWiE Main Website.

Namitha Somayaji:

Namitha is our President, from Princeton, New Jersey.  She is majoring in Economics and minoring in Computer Science and Informatics, set to graduate in May 2018.  This past summer she did research for several Economics professors, and she hopes to work in consulting, analytics, strategic resources, or public policy.  She’s a member of the national service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, and her hobbies and interests include current events, politics, Game of Thrones, West Wing, drawing, watching Netflix, and eating spicy food.

Leah Gortowski:

Leah also serves as Treasurer and the Social Media Manager, and is from Elmhurst, Illinois.  She is double majoring in Economics and Statistics, set to graduate in May 2017.  This past summer she interned in DC with the Bureau of Labor Statistics as a Mathematical Statistician Intern, and completed a research project on sampling methods.  She hopes to go back to the BLS upon graduation, or work for a company that analyzes survey data.  She’s also involved with Econ Peer Mentors, and serves as a member of the Student Fee Advisory Committee.  Her favorite hobbies are photography and archery, and she loves to spend time outdoors.

Dhwani Jain

Dhwani serves as Vice-President and Secretary.  She is from Mumbai, India, majoring in Finance with a possible dual degree in Economics, and is set to graduate in May 2019.  This past summer she interned with an investment research group in Dubai, U.A.E. and completed a research project to analyze which company in the beauty industry would be the best to invest in. She hopes to work with an investment and portfolio management firm full-time after college, or in Corporate Finance Consulting.  She’s also involved with Econ Peer Mentors, and Entrepreneurs without borders here on campus.

Mya Khoury

Mya is the student intern for the Economics Department, as well as the head of the Special Projects Committee.  She is from Bloomingdale, Illinois, is majoring in Economics, minoring in Statistics, Political Science, and Business, and is set to graduate in May 2018.  This summer she went to Lebanon, and after graduation she hopes to work with data.  Outside of iWiE, she’s involved with Design for America as the Finance Studio Lead.  She loves to read and do random things!

Jehan Schemmel

Jehan is in charge of external affairs.  She’s double majoring in Economics and Psychology with a minor in Global Studies.  She’ll be graduating in May of 2017, and she’s from a northern (Chicago) suburb called Round Lake.  This past summer she interned at Aon Risk Solutions with Marketing and plans to move into finance or consulting post graduation.  Her hobbies include running, reading, and traveling.

Shrina Patel

Shrina is the Chair of the Academic and Professional Committee, and is originally from Elk Grove Village, Illinois.  She’s currently a junior, double majoring in Economics and Statistics with a minor in Mathematics.  She would like to pursue a career in S&T, preferably in IB or trading.  Aside from iWiE, she is also a part of the Illini Raas Dance Team. She also likes to bake, read, and embrace her Indian culture!

Kris McClendon

Kris is the Chair of Internal Affairs Social Committee, and is originally from Chicago, Illinois.  She’s majoring in Economics and minoring in Communications.  Her career goal is to be a professional Economist.  She would like to work outside of the U.S. and focus on Ecological Economies.  She hopes to earn a Master’s Degree in Economics and a graduate certificate in Ecological Economies at the University of Vermont.  She is also involved in Volunteer Illini projects and is in the process of becoming a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success.  She also enjoys hanging out with family and friends, learning to cook new recipes, trying new food, reading, shopping, and being adventurous.

Special Projects

iWiE coordinates a group to work on special projects, collaborating with the Community Learning Lab to connect with agencies needing assistance. These projects allow students to gain valuable and practical experience, putting their knowledge and skills to use, and helping the community. The group is overseen by alumni and staff advisors, but primarily operates independantly fulfilling the client's needs.

If you are interested in being a part of the current or future projects, please contact the project lead:
Mya Khoury (, Economics Department Student Intern

Current Project:

  • Regional Education Board (Fall 2016): Assist with researching and applying for funding and alternative solutions to support after-school initiatives after cuts due to budgetary restraints.

Completed Projects:

  • University YMCA (Spring 2016): Assisted in changing their investments to be SRI (Socially Responsible Investing): helped research and set up an RFP process to solicit proposals; Researched and recommended various SRI funds to help in the RFP evaluation process.