Allegheny College Senior Jared Balik Receives Honors for Environmental Research

March 23, 2016 — Jared Balik, a senior at Allegheny College, has been awarded a General Fund Award of $1,000 from the Society for Freshwater Science. The award can be used to contribute to his research in aquatic sciences.

Balik will receive his award during the endowment reception for the Society for Freshwater Science. The reception will take place during the organization’s national meeting in Sacramento in May.

Balik was one of 15 students to receive a General Fund Award. According to the Society for Freshwater Science, the majority of the students with whom he was competing were graduate students.

“I’m very excited to attend the national meeting. These big conferences are fantastic networking opportunities, but moreover, they’re a wonderful way to hear about really exciting, cutting-edge research,” says Balik of South Beaver Township, Pa. “I also really like putting faces to the names of scientists whose work I’ve read.”

In addition, Balik has received a Southeast Climate Science Center Global Change Fellowship. This award is designed to provide financial, scientific and professional development support for incoming graduate students at North Carolina State University who are interested in multidisciplinary research related to climate and global change.

Balik says these accolades will help him to prepare for the Ph.D. program he will start next fall at North Carolina State University, where he also has been awarded a Provost’s Doctoral Fellowship.

“I plan to investigate the ecological and biogeochemical consequences and causes of Didymosphenia geminata blooms, which are a type of algae,” says Balik, who is majoring in biology and environmental science at Allegheny. “I’ll be spending my summers doing fieldwork in Colorado, and during the academic year I’ll have several sites in North Carolina.”

These are not the first accolades for Balik. In September 2015, the Natural History Section of the Ecological Society of America awarded him the Student Award for the best student paper dealing in natural history. The work that he presented during the Ecological Society of America’s centennial meeting was preliminary data from his Senior Project, titled “Effects of climate-induced distributional shifts in caddisfly larvae on detritus processing and ecosystem function in high-elevation ponds and wetlands.”

Balik says he would like to continue this research. “There’s one or two more datasets that I’d like to collect this summer to turn my thesis into a more robust publication,” he says.

Balik’s research goals received a boost in 2014 when he was named a Beckman Scholar. The purpose of the Beckman Scholars Program, funded by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, is to help stimulate, encourage and support research activities by exceptionally talented, full-time undergraduate students who are pursuing their studies at accredited four-year colleges and universities located in the USA.

At Allegheny, Balik also serves as co-president of Students for Environmental Action.