Each year, the Department of Mathematics recognizes exceptional alumni who have have made significant contributions through outstanding professional achievement in academia, research, and industry. This year, the Department of Mathematics Alumni Awards Committee has selected three inspirational alumni as 2021 alumni award recipients.
Danyel Graves Larsen (BA, ’04, mathematics) of Oregon, Ill., has been named the recipient of the 2021 Alumni Humanitarian Award for her excellence and impact in the field of mathematics education. For more than 15 years, Larsen has been cultivating the advancement of mathematics through education. Larsen currently serves as National Board certification coordinator for the Oregon Community Unit School District and also is a candidate cohort facilitator for the National Board Resource Center at Illinois State University. Additionally, Larsen holds membership in several professional organizations, including the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics. She also served on the Illinois Education Associations Teacher Leaders and National Board Outreach Committee.
Michael Stillman (BA, ’78, mathematics) of Ithaca, N.Y, has been named a recipient of the 2021 Outstanding Achievement Award for his outstanding professional career and significant contributions in computational algebraic geometry and commutative algebra. In 1983, Stillman began work with Dave Bayer on the Macaulay computer algebra system. Named after English mathematician Francis Sowerby Macaulay, the Macaulay system showed that it was possible to solve actual problems in algebraic geometry using Gröbner basis techniques and is widely used by researchers in algebraic geometry and related mathematical fields. Following two postdoctoral research fellowships at Brandeis University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stillman joined the mathematics faculty at Cornell University in 1992 as an assistant professor, where he currently serves as a professor of mathematics.
Judy Leavitt Walker (MS, ’92, mathematics; PhD, ’96, mathematics) of Lincoln, Neb., has been named a recipient of the 2021 Outstanding Achievement Award for her outstanding professional career and her leadership and contributions to the advancement of mathematics and inclusion. Walker currently serves as the Aaron Douglas Professor of Mathematics and associate vice chancellor for faculty and academic aﬀairs at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. On the national level, she serves as a trustee of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and is currently serving as chair of the AMS Board of Trustees. She co-founded the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics (NCUWM), a national conference for undergraduate students in mathematics with a focus on women. Among her numerous recognitions and honors, she received the MAA Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics in 2006 and is a fellow of AMS and the Association for Women in Mathematics.
The 2021 alumni award recipients, in addition to 2020 Actuarial Science Alumnus of the Year Steven Armstrong (BS, ’92, actuarial science), will be recognized during the virtual 2021 Department Awards Program on April 14 at 5 p.m. CT. Learn more about the Department of Mathematics alumni awards at math.illinois.edu/alumni-awards.