Orange Alert

Mathematics Alumna Continues Research Excellence

Danika Van Niel headshot.

Posted on: July 2, 2024

By the time she presented her Capstone honors project, “Representations of Quivers,” in May 2018, Danika Van Niel had already demonstrated her potential as a researcher in pure mathematics. Her early involvement in significant research projects, such as her Research Experience for Undergraduates work on Belyi maps and dessins d’enfants at Purdue University, set the stage for her continued success. Now, she has earned a Ph.D. from Michigan State University and is set to begin a postdoctoral position this fall.

Danika's undergraduate years at Syracuse were marked by numerous accolades, reflecting her outstanding achievements and promise. She was honored as a University Scholar, the highest undergraduate distinction at Syracuse, and received both the Archimedes Prize and the Euclid Prize from the Department of Mathematics. Her research presentations at prestigious conferences, including CAARMS and the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics, further underscored her capabilities.

"My professors not only taught me mathematics, but a new way of thinking and learning that proved essential during my Ph.D.," Danika says reflecting on her Syracuse experience. "I had wonderful mentors at Syracuse who encouraged me to reach my full potential."

This fall, Danika will begin a three-year postdoctoral position at Binghamton University, building on her doctoral research in algebraic topology. Her Ph.D. work focused on equivariant homotopy theory and trace methods, influenced by the Syracuse mathematics faculty. She fondly recalls being advised to explore topology, a suggestion that proved pivotal.

"I tended to gravitate towards algebraic topics and was told on more than one occasion that I would likely really like topology. It turned out my professors were right," she says.

Now, under the mentorship of Professor Cary Malkiewich at Binghamton, Danika is poised to make further significant contributions to the field, continuing the legacy of excellence she began at Syracuse.