Please feel free to use any of these bios below for events where Riley Balikian will be featured. There are also several photos below you are welcome to use.

Earth Science

Riley Balikian is a geophysicist at the Illinois State Geological Survey at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Using frameworks of resilience and adaptability, his work focuses on how people manage the interactions between the natural and built environment, emphasizing how people approach and prepare for geohazards. He received a Masters of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Environmental Science, where he studied the interdisciplinary approaches needed for effective water resources management. His thesis focused on the pressures creating limited water availability for avocado farmers in San Diego County, CA. He also received a B.S. in Geophysics at Wheaton College (IL), where he earned a certificate in the Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR), which focuses on partnering with communities in the Global South towards holistic development.

Riley is dedicated to making science more accessible to the broader publice. He also publishes a blog called Writing in Rock, which explores how the geology around us has shaped who we are.

Community Development

Riley Balikian has years of experience working at the community level to strengthen the capacity of people to create change. He has worked with many organizations doing work at the community level both to provide aid to vulnerable populations and to help people build capacity and strong communities, both in the United States and abroad. He has worked with World Relief, the University of Wisconsin Local Government Center, the International Potato Center, and helped run the University of Wisconsin-Ethiopia Twinning Partnership, focused on health initiatives between the University of Wisconsin and Addis Ababa University. He worked for half a year with Lifewater International in Ethiopia helping to

He was on the board of Honduras Project as a student at Wheaton College, where he helped organize the funding and installation of a water system in southeastern Honduras in partnership with Honduran partners. He has been on the steering committee of Young Evangelicals for Climate Action for five years, where he leads and helps develop the Climate Fellowship and other leadership development programs. He coordinated an after-school program for high school students with the Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership development in Madison, Wisconsin, tutoring and mentoring students towards graduation. He has also worked with several local agriculture and environmental stewardship organizations to promote healthy and safe ecosystems.

Riley received masters of science degrees in Urban and Regional Planning (Community Development) and Environmental Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research there received recognition by the Morgridge Center for Public Service, winning the Wisconsin Without Borders Award for Community-Based Research.

He earned a bachelors of science at Wheaton College (IL), where he also minored in Spanish and received a Human Needs and Global Resources certificate, a program that focuses on partnering with communities in the Global South towards holistic development.


All photos below belong to Riley Balikian and may be used with permission for events in which he will be featured.