About Dr. Julie Laut


Dr. Julie Laut has been a progressive activist for over 25 years. In the 1990s, Julie was a member of Portland Area Rethinking Schools. She also co-founded an annual state-wide event for new educators through the Oregon Education Association (OEA), for which she was awarded the OEA 1999 Presidential Citation for New Leadership. As a young mother, she worked in breastfeeding advocacy through the Nursing Mothers Counsel, helping secure a three-year grant from the U.S. Office of Women’s Health to expand lactation services to low-income parents in 2002.


Julie served for three years on the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign Board of Trustees. She helped raise over $70,000 to install solar panels on the building, fostered increased accessibility, and helped lead the congregation to commit to work on racial justice. Her work with UUCUC continues in the areas of pastoral care, youth engagement, and lay ministry. During her short tenure on the Urbana City Council, Julie led the City to embrace anti-racist work through membership in the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) and encouraged a renewal of youth engagement.


Since March 2020, Julie has hosted the Friday night C-U Lockdown Trivia game, helping raise over $18,000 for non-profit organizations by the end of 2020. In response to increased food insecurity during the pandemic, Julie and her family maintain a Little Free Pantry in their front yard. Her work in these areas was recognized with the 2020 Outstanding Community Partner award from the UIUC International Students & Scholars Services.


Julie spearheaded the creation of "Open Hearts: A COVID Memorial," a public memorial dedicated on January 21, 2021. First hosted by UUCUC, the memorial consists of heart-shaped markers that represent the deaths of all those lost in Champaign County during the pandemic.


Julie's career path has twisted and turned, but has at all times been guided by a love of learning and a desire to build strong communities. After her undergrad degree at CU - Boulder, she taught high school history and coached women's track. She went back to school when her children were small, earning an MA in gender and women's history from Miami University, followed by a PhD in transnational feminist history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work with the University of Illinois Press after the completion of her PhD focused on building a development program and creating outreach opportunities on all three U of I campuses.


Julie currently lives in Urbana, Illinois, with her husband, Marc, high schooler, Celia, and three dogs. Her son, Julian, is away at college now, but to her delight he still joins trivia most Friday nights. Julie reads all types of fiction voraciously, periodically writes academic and other types of articles, loves crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, and word games, can't resist zombie movies or BBC shows, and delights in quality wine and cheese. She can't wait to get back to hosting dinner parties and has lots of trips planned for when the world is safe again for those types of things!