BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Aaron Krolikowski of Glenwood, N.Y., a senior
at the University at Buffalo with an outstanding record of academic
and environmental achievement, has been named to the USA Today
All-USA College Academic Team First Team, an award honoring
students for their outstanding accomplishments as
USA Today announced its annual list of academic stars in today's
Krolikowski is one of 20 students nationwide chosen for the
first team, a selection based on grades, academic rigor,
leadership, activities and, most important, according to USA Today,
an essay written by the nominee describing his or her most
outstanding intellectual endeavor as a college undergraduate.
Krolikowski wrote about his efforts to establish a village
irrigation program in northwest Tanzania, part of a project he did
for the UB Honors College.
Krolikowski and the other members of USA Today's first team will
receive trophies and a cash award of $2,500. Forty runners-up were
named to the second and third teams and will receive certificates
Krolikowski is the second UB student to be named to the
newspaper's first team (Daphne Bascom, B.A. '88, was the first). UB
recognized his academic achievements at the annual Scholars of
Excellence Luncheon April 6.
He is a 2005 graduate of the Springville Griffith Institute, and
the son of Allan and Louise Krolikowski of Glenwood, whom he says,
"raised all five of us kids to reach our highest potential, but I
don't think they ever thought their son would be recognized by USA
He will graduate Phi Beta Kappa from UB this spring with a
degree in political science and interdisciplinary social sciences
concentrated in environmental studies.
In the fall, he will attend Oxford University, which has awarded
him a prestigious four-year postgraduate Clarendon Scholarship to
pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (D. Phil.) degree in development
studies, an interdisciplinary program that draws from the fields of
economics, anthropology and political science and policy.
Although a UB Honors College scholarship covered his tuition,
Krolikowski, like many UB students, supported himself financially
through his undergraduate years, albeit in ways a little different
from most students.
To pay for his housing and food, he worked for three years as a
resident assistant and a community assistant and also as a student
assistant in the Office of Admissions. He also was a paid employee
of the UB Regional Institute and interned with the Environmental
Protection Bureau of the New York State Attorney General's
"I was able to support myself and do work that I loved,"
Krolikowski says, "but one of the reasons I'm extremely excited
about Oxford is that I won't have to work outside of school. I'll
be able to focus exclusively on my education."
He says that when he completes school, he wants to return to
Western New York to help develop innovative policies that that can
reform the Great Lakes economies by drawing on the strengths of the
region, saying he thinks it is possible to improve the lives of
millions by focusing on environmentally sustainable solutions to
the challenges we face in this region.
"I often tell people that UB was my lecture hall and the entire
region was my campus. Of course, my family raised me in such a way
that I would aim for excellence, but it was UB that cultivated that
foundation. Pretty much everything I've done was facilitated in
some way by UB."
A 2008 Morris K. Udall scholar, Krolikowski is a member of UB's
Honors College and recently received the SUNY Chancellor's Award
for Academic Excellence. He was a finalist for both a 2009 Rhodes
Scholarship and a 2009 Marshall Scholarship, and was an
award-winning arranger with the Buffalo Chips, UB's male a cappella
vocal ensemble, with whom he sings.
"The recognition from USA Today is different from the other
awards," Krolikowski says, "primarily because, while I am
representing UB and SUNY, I am also representing top-performing
students from around the country, regardless of their institution
"Also, the other awards I've won recognized certain facets of
what I've done, either my academic or environmental work, while USA
Today is recognizing the 'whole package' I guess you could say. So
it is quite an honor."
"While I'm away, I'm going to miss everything about this
region," he adds. "I grew up in Western New York and my time at UB
has allowed me to really develop a love for everything this area
has to offer."
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive
public university, a flagship institution in the State University
of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus.
UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests
through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional
degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a
member of the Association of American Universities.