Olga Mustata, the Undergraduate Program Coordinator for the Department of Economics, received LSA’s Departmental Advising Award for 2018. Nominated by their students, winners are selected by the Assistant Dean for Student Academic Affairs, with final approval given by the Executive Committee in April. Each recipient is given $500 and an award certificate which is presented by the dean at the first faculty meeting in the fall.
Olga’s responsibilities more than cover the criteria for nomination. In addition to managing the administrative aspects of the undergraduate program, she is the liaison with the undergraduate student organizations, and coordinates recruitment events and special programs for Economics majors and minors. She also serves as a staff advisor for economics majors and minors, and as the staff representative to the Department’s Undergraduate Program Committee, the LSA Curriculum Committee and Newnan Advising Center. Out of all of her responsibilities, she mentioned that she enjoys helping students the most. In fact, she continued, “Being around students gives me so much energy that sometimes I feel like I need them more than they need me!”
From the many letters written in support of her nomination, strong themes of her above-and-beyond commitment emerge. For Michigan Economics Society (MES), she not only offered ideas to increase student involvement, but has been involved in their execution as well. Specifically, for Pizza with Professors, she helped to secure a viable date for both students and faculty, arranged for catering and a meeting space, and broadly marketed the event. Others noted how well received econoMIX has been, in large part because Olga double checks the details for the weekly event and ensures that they are well promoted. Her nominators were also pleased that Olga makes it a point to attend econoMIX, adding to its success.
Olga has also worked tirelessly to develop the Economics Alumni Relationship Network (EARN). Noting how easy EARN makes it to access alumni, one student mentioned that she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her degree until she connected with alumni who were happy to share how they apply their education in the workplace. With these interactions, her career path became clear to her.
As an advisor, it was said, “Olga (and only Olga) has shown consistent and unmeasured generosity in scheduling supplementary office hours, in dealing with individual emergencies, without reducing or delaying her performance of other duties.”
Olga has held this position since joining the University ten years ago. Prior to her with the U-M Department of Economics, Olga worked in the banking industry in Romania and the United States. She has a Bachelor of Arts from the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest, Romania, as well as a Certificate in Finance from UC Berkeley.