This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

UB senior recognized by USA Today

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    “I often tell people that UB was my lecture hall and the entire region was my campus.”

    Aaron Krolikowski
Published: April 29, 2009

UB senior Aaron M. Krolikowski has been named to the USA Today All-USA College Academic Team First Team, an award honoring students for their outstanding accomplishments as undergraduates.

The national newspaper announced its annual list of academic stars in yesterday’s edition.

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 as 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.

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 on April 6.

He will graduate Phi Beta Kappa from UB next month 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 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 was a paid employee of the UB Regional Institute and interned with the Environmental Protection Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

“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 can reform the Great Lakes economies by drawing on the strengths of the region, adding 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 recently received the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student 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 which he sings. He also founded an agricultural development program in East Africa.

“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 or location.

“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.”