The Alliant Energy Foundation and UW System recognized two University of Wisconsin System students and four teachers today for their outstanding achievements.

The Alliant Energy/Erroll B. Davis, Jr. Achievement Award award recognizes students’ academic and community service efforts and achievements. To qualify, students must be pursuing a degree in engineering or business from the University of Wisconsin-Madison or UW-Platteville, and they should be from traditionally underrepresented minority groups, according to the UW System press release.

UW System President Tommy Thompson said the Alliant Energy Foundation’s continued generous support makes the awards possible in the press release.

“With pride, we recognize these remarkable students and instructors whose impressive academic and volunteer achievements are helping even more students succeed,” Thompson said in the release.

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The Alliant Energy Foundation established an award in 2006 to honor Erroll B. Davis, Jr.’s exceptional record of public service, according to the UW System.

Davis was a former chief executive of Alliant Energy and a former member of the UW System’s Board of Regents. He was also the first African-American leader of a “Business Week 1000” company.

Julie Bauer, executive director of the Alliant Energy Foundation, said, “We are honored to continue the legacy of these awards to recognize the hard work of students and faculty. These annual awards reflect Alliant Energy’s long-standing investment in both education and our shared future.”

The recipients of the 14th annual Alliant Energy/Erroll B. Davis, Jr. Achievement Award include UW student Dalila Ricci, who said she was nominated by one of her scholarship advisors.

Ricci said she has been heavily involved in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers for four years and is trying to promote the Hispanic presence in STEM.

A big part of SHPE is doing outreach work in the community, Ricci said.

I’ve been able to do a lot of things with the community for them because the whole premise of what [SHPE] does is basically trying to promote the Hispanic presence in STEM,” Ricci said. “We go to like a lot of local high schools in Madison and … give them an idea of what it’s like to pursue these kinds of things in college, because a lot of them don’t have family [that has] been there before.”

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Ricci is also a Chancellor Merit Scholar and Leaders in Engineering Excellence and Diversity Scholar. She tutors calculus for the Undergraduate Learning Center and has held various officer positions for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

The 30th annual Alliant Energy James R. Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award recipients include UW Faculty Associate, Sharon Thoma.

Thoma transformed her biology course with 700 to 900 students per semester by shifting from only lecture and high-stakes exams to including additional assessments that build on students’ knowledge using a variety of pedagogical tools, according to the UW System press release.

The James R. Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Awards are given as a tribute to the energy company’s senior executive, James R. Underkofler, who was a staunch proponent of excellence in undergraduate teaching.