Considering the C in ACES

Considering the C in ACES

Sep 2
Theresa Miller, Academic Advisor, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics

My name is Theresa Miller and I'm an academic advisor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.  Yes, CONSUMER! I actively advise students in one of the oldest degrees at the University of Illinois, consumer economics and finance (CEF).

Consumer economics takes the theories of economics, business and finance, and applies those theories to practical economic problems in the consumer sector.  If you purchase anything, eat anything, or partake in any service, you are participating in this sector of business. 

I mentioned that this major is one of the oldest at the university.  Consumer Economics is today’s version of a very old discipline, that of home economics at the University of Illinois.  Women and men have majored in consumer economics to assist homemakers, families, and small businesses in making home and business decisions since 1874.  Bevier Hall, named after one of the pioneers in what was called “domestic science” and home economics, Isabel Bevier, is a reminder of the University’s role in establishing the discipline of managing personal wealth and family economics as one of importance. 

Today, consumer economics looks very different, and very similar.  Students take jobs in retail banking, in financial advising and consulting, in agencies in Washington D.C. in consumer affairs, in retail management, and in financial education.  They are actively sought by companies such as Kohl’s, Target, CME Group, JP Morgan, and Wells Fargo, but also by small entrepreneurial companies wanting someone who understands small business economics.  It’s an intriguing field, and something that more than 120 of our students in ACES are pursuing today.

Alums of CEF:  We’d love to hear from you and help you share your stories with current students.  Next spring, we will take some CEF students on an immersion trip to explore career opportunities in the Chicago area and the implications of consumerism on Chicago’s business landscape.  It’s an exciting future, with an Illini tradition in its past.

ACE students in front of the CME group on an immersion trip to Chicago.