UW System and Alliant Energy Recognize Outstanding Students and Teachers for 2021

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MADISON, Wisconsin — Four University of Wisconsin system students and three educators are today recognized by the UW System and the Alliant Energy Foundation for their outstanding achievements. The Alliant Energy Erroll B. Davis, Jr. Achievement Awards recognize the outstanding educational and community service efforts of students from traditionally under-represented minority groups who pursue a degree in business or engineering at UW- Madison or at UW-Platteville. The Alliant Energy James R. Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Awards recognize the exceptional commitment to undergraduate student success and the ability to inspire students with an enthusiasm for learning. The awards are presented to students and educators on UW System campuses located within the Alliant Energy service area.

“I thank the Alliant Energy Foundation for their continued generosity in supporting these awards for student achievement and teaching,” said Tommy Thompson, president of UW System. “And I congratulate these dedicated students and instructors for their significant accomplishments. “

“We are honored to continue the legacy of these awards, which were created to recognize the hard work of students and faculty,” said Julie Bauer, Executive Director of the Alliant Energy Foundation. “These annual awards reflect Alliant Energy’s long-standing investment in education and our common future.

The recipients of the 15e annual Alliant Energy Erroll B. Davis, Jr. Award of Excellence are:

  • Alfredo Balleno, UW-Platteville. Balleno graduated in May from the School of Business at UW-Platteville with a Diploma in Business Administration, specialization in International Business and minors in Spanish and International Studies. His career aspirations include running a successful business and working for a company that offers work-related travel opportunities. At UW-Platteville, he studied abroad in Fiji and Germany, attended the college men’s football club and completed a summer internship with American Income Life Midwest, honing his sales skills. and in customer relations.
  • Toyoto Alexander Borgmann, UW-Madison. Borgmann graduated in May from the School of Business at UW-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, including a double specialization in actuarial science and risk management, as well as a certificate in Japanese professional communication. During his college studies, he passed several professional actuarial exams from the Society of Actuaries. He ended his academic career with internships in this competitive field. Prior to graduation, he accepted a full-time job as an actuarial analyst at Willis Towers Watson in Chicago, where he currently works.
  • Victoria Chanez, UW-Platteville. Passionate about the environment, Chanez joined a research team of undergraduate and doctoral students to learn more about how scientists can create a long-term solution for nuclear waste. She also volunteered for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. A member of the living learning community of women in STEM at UW-Platteville, she volunteered on Women’s STEM Career Day, serving as a role model for high school girls interested in science, science, science and science. technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In the summer of 2019, she was hired as an engineer assistant to work on an infrastructure project in the city of Oshkosh. Chanez plans to graduate in May 2022 with a degree in environmental engineering and a minor in chemistry.
  • Jazsmin Washington, UW-Madison. Washington is volunteering to teach STEM to K-12 students through fun and hands-on activities, inspiring a young generation from all walks of life that a STEM degree can be attainable and rewarding. She held several leadership positions within the UW-Madison section of the National Society of Black Engineers, which led the Dean of Engineering to select her to be the student representative on the Strategic Planning Committee of the National Society of Black Engineers. College of Engineering for Climate, Inclusion and Diversity. Washington plans to graduate in December 2021 with a chemical engineering degree and an international engineering certificate.

The recipients of the 31st annual Alliant Energy James R. Underkofler Award for Excellence in Teaching are:

  • Holly Attenborough, Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics, UW-Platteville.
    Dr. Attenborough strives to involve students in each class to help them establish a foundation upon which they can build future knowledge. During the pandemic, she continued to foster student engagement, for example by successfully using Canvas discussion forums. Attenborough’s commitment to teaching, love of math, and finding “aha” moments has also led her to engage with learners outside of the classroom, most notably as a school counselor. math club at the university since 2014. She has taken students to lectures, counseled graduate seminar students. , has led students through independent studies to facilitate graduate admission and is involved in numerous outreach programs. She won the UW-Platteville Early Career Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence in 2018 and a Mathematical Association of America Wisconsin Teaching Award in 2020-2021.
  • Mary E. Fiorenza, Associate Professor, Department of English, UW-Madison.
    Dr Fiorenza teaches small, seminar-style writing classes to a wide range of undergraduate students and was instrumental in shaping the curriculum for the first-year writing course, English 100, which generally welcomes 2,000 students per year. She designed the program and its delivery to ensure that students develop the range of writing practices necessary to meet the demands of their university studies. In response to the pandemic, she took the initiative to redesign the course for online education for the 2020-21 academic year. Fiorenza participates in and presents research at national, regional and local conferences, including the annual convention of the Conference on College Composition and Communication. She has mentored dozens of instructors, many of whom are teaching writing for the first time, and was selected to participate in the TeachOnline @ UW learning community in 2020 and 2021.
  • Daniel Patrick Thurs, Faculty Assistant, Department of Physics, UW-Madison.
    Dr Thurs is the course coordinator and instructor for the two largest courses in the department, Physics 103 and 104, which welcome approximately 1,200 students each semester. He was instrumental in developing the course content as a core member of the REACH Physics team, which was tasked with turning them into “flipped” classes using active learning techniques. Thursday contributes to student success with its accessible teaching style, thoughtful course content, and engaging course design. It piques the interest of students by using real life applications, such as the way cells move, how geckos adhere to a surface, and the properties of blood flow. He also co-facilitates the weekly meeting of instructors with teaching assistants, establishing a model of teaching and reflection. Thurs was selected as an Honored Instructor at UW-Madison in 2015, 2017 and 2020.

About the awards

The Alliant Energy Foundation established an endowment fund in 2006 to honor Erroll B. Davis, Jr. Davis, the first African American leader of a Business Week 1000 company, is a former CEO of Alliant Energy and a former UW system board member. He was Acting Superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools from 2012 to 2014.

The James R. Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Awards are presented in honor of long-time senior executive of the energy company, James R. Underkofler (1923-2015), who was a strong supporter of excellence in undergraduate teaching . He has spent his entire career with Wisconsin Power and Light Co. (now Alliant Energy), ending with his retirement in 1990 as President and CEO.

Both scholarship programs are administered by the Office of Academic and Student Affairs of the UW System. For more information on each of this year’s recipients, check out the 2021 Awards Program online.

For more information on the rewards, visit:


The University of Wisconsin system serves approximately 165,000 students. Awarding nearly 37,000 degrees annually, the UW system is Wisconsin’s talent pool, empowering graduates to increase their income, contribute to their communities, and make Wisconsin a better place to live. Almost 90% of the state’s UW system graduates stay in Wisconsin five years after graduating. The UW system offers a state return on investment of 23: 1. The institutions of the UW system also contribute to the rich culture and economy of Wisconsin with ground-breaking research, new ventures and patents, and unlimited creative intellectual energy.

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