Riley J Balikian
Illinois State Geological Survey
Prairie Research Institute
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
I study geology, hydrogeology, and resilience through the lens of near-surface geophysics. My work and research involve near-surface geophysical and hydrogeological investigations, water resources management and resilience planning, and analysis of other geophysical and remote sensing data. I have experience collecting, processing, and/or interpreting electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), ground penetrating radar (GPR), multichannel analysis of surface waves (MASW), and other electrical and seismic geophysical methods. I work to apply these methods towards engineering and environmental problems in Illinois and around the world, and I am passionate about science communication.
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Illinois
Ph.D. Student in the Department of Geology
University of Wisconsin Madison, Wisconsin
M.S. Environment and Resources | M.S. Urban and Regional Planning
– Au Sable Graduate Fellow
Wheaton College Wheaton, Illinois
B.S. Physics: Geophysics
– Human Needs & Global Resources Certificate
– Guest Writer: The Wheaton Record
WORK AND RESEARCH EXPERIENCE
|2017-Present||Illinois State Geological Survey Champaign-Urbana, Illinois|
2019 – Present: Senior Scientific Specialist: Geophysics & Hydrogeology
2018 – 2019: Visiting Senior Scientific Specialist
2017 – 2018: Geophysics Field Scientist
|2014 – 2016||University of Wisconsin Ethiopia Twinning Partnership Madison, Wisconsin |
2015 – 2016: Associate Outreach Specialist
2014 – 2015: Research Assistant
|2014 – 2015||University of Wisconsin-Extension, Local Government Center Madison, Wisconsin |
Business Improvement District Research Assistant
|2014 – 2015||University of Wisconsin-Madison Urban & Regional Planning Department Madison, Wisconsin |
2014 – 2015: Research Assistant
2014: Project Manager, Oneida Community Integrated Food System Project (Short-term)
|2013 – 2014||Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Madison, Wisconsin |
Water Permit Intake Specialist
|2013||Wheaton College Department of Geology and Environmental Studies Wheaton, Illinois |
Independent Study | Geophysics Lab Assistant
|2012 – 2013||Wheaton College Human Needs and Global Resources Department Wheaton, Illinois |
|2011||Lifewater International Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR), Ethiopia |
Water Resources Field Intern (in partial fulfillment of Human Needs & Global Res. certificate)
PUBLICATIONS, PRESENTATIONS, & ABSTRACTS (PEER REVIEWED)
McKnight, G., Barklage, M., Lucas, M., & Balikian, R. 2020. Using Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) to Image Cave Passages at Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky, USA. Proceedings of the Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems. [Accepted]
Kelly, W.R., Zhang, Z., Abrams, D.B., Hadley, D.R., Mannix, D.H., Getahun, E., Knapp, H.V., Roadcap, G.S., Meyer, S.C., Dziegielewski, B., Balikian, R., Thomason, J.F., 2019. Water Supply Planning: Kankakee Watershed Assessment of Water Resources for Water Supply (ISWS Contract Report No. 2019– 07), IL Water Supply Planning. Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, IL.
Balikian, R. 2019. Creeping Hazards: A Forgotten Framework for Transformability and Resilience. Proceedings of the Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems, Portland, OR.
Balikian, R., Larson, T.H., Thomason, J. 2019. Electrical Tomography and 3D Geophysical Models Towards Informed Land-Use Planning in Glacial Fluvial Outwash Plain. Proceedings of the Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems, Portland, OR.
Grimley, D., Szocinski, P., Larson, T.H., Balikian, R. 2018. Surficial Geology of Pleasant Mount Quadrangle: Bond and Fayette Counties, Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois County Geologic Map. Bond-Fayette County, 1:24,000.
Balikian, R., & Larson, T. H. 2018. Pseudo Three-Dimensional Imaging of Creep Failure in a Highway Embankment Using Two-Dimensional Electric Earth Resistivity. Oral presentation accepted at the Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems, Nashville, TN.
Larson, T. H., & Balikian, R. 2018. In-Situ Cassava Root Size Measurement Using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). Oral presentation accepted at the Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems, Nashville, TN.
Ruiz-Vera, U., Larson, T.H., Mwakanyamale, K., Grennan, A., Souza, A., Ort, D., Balikian, R. 2017. Non-invasive monitoring of below ground cassava storage root bulking by ground penetrating radar technology. Poster at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, New Orleans, LA.
Van Engen, K., Mutebi, J., Daring, K., & Balikian, R. 2015. Depoliticizing Climate Change Through Film, Story, and Conversation. Panel at the Christian Community Development Association National Conference, Memphis, TN.
King, R. S., & Balikian, R. 2015. Food Insecurity: Local Solutions to a National Need. Oral presentation at the Christian Community Development Association National Conference, Memphis, TN.
Law, C., & Balikian, R. 2015. Business Improvement Districts in the Maintenance of Downtown Infrastructure. Oral presentation at the 20th Conference on the Small City and Regional Community, Wausau, WI.
Fofanah, M., Balikian, R., Engen, N., Asfaw, F., Busse, H., & Jogo, W. 2015. Nutrition Sensitive Value Chains: Analysis of Local Production and Marketing Systems of Sweet potatoes in Ethiopia. Poster presented at the 2nd International Conference on Global Food Security, Ithaca, NY.
TECHNICAL REPORTS (NOT PEER REVIEWED)
Larson, T.H., Balikian, R.J., Lohman, S., 2020. A Geophysics Study near Winchester, IL to Image Mass Wasting Along IL-106. Technical Report. Urbana, IL: Illinois State Geological Survey.
Barklage, M., Balikian, R., Larson, T.H., Sargent, S., 2020. Multi-Channel Analysis of Surface Waves – Sheffield, IL. Technical Report Presentation. Urbana, IL: Illinois State Geological Survey.
Balikian, R., Sargent, S., & Larson, T. H. 2019. Shear-Wave Measurements Using Multi-Channel Analysis of Surface Wave (MASW) Method near Lincoln Ave. and University Ave. in Urbana, IL. Technical Report. Urbana, IL: Illinois State Geological Survey.
Larson, T. H., & Balikian, R. 2019. An Electrical Earth Resistivity Survey in the Beaver Creek Quadrangle near Greenville, IL. Technical Report. Greenville, IL: Illinois State Geological Survey.
Balikian, Riley, Larson, Timothy H., and Ruiz-Vera, Ursula. 2019. Report on an In Situ Study of Cassava Roots Using Ground Penetrating Radar. Champaign, IL: Illinois State Geological Survey.
Larson, Timothy H. and Balikian, Riley. 2019. An Electrical Earth Resistivity Survey along Illinois Route 127 in Alto Pass, IL. Technical Report. Champaign, IL: Illinois State Geological Survey.
Larson, Timothy H. and Balikian, Riley. 2018. Preliminary Report of an Electrical Earth Resistivity Survey near Tinley Park, IL. Technical Report. Champaign, IL: Illinois State Geological Survey.
Larson, Timothy H. and Balikian, Riley. 2018. Preliminary Report of an Electrical Earth Resistivity Survey near Greenville, IL. Technical Report. Champaign, IL: Illinois State Geological Survey.
Larson, Timothy H. and Balikian, Riley. 2018. Shear-Wave Measurements Using Multi-Channel Analysis of Surface Wave (MASW) Method at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana, IL. Technical Report. Champaign, IL: Illinois State Geological Survey.
Larson, Timothy H., Balikian, Riley, and Deng, Siqi. 2017. Preliminary Report of an Electrical Earth Resistivity Survey near Joliet, IL. Technical Report. Champaign, IL: Illinois State Geological Survey.
Larson, Timothy H., Balikian, Riley, and Deng, Siqi. 2017. Preliminary Report of an Electrical Earth Resistivity Survey near St. Francisville, IL. Technical Report. Champaign, IL: Illinois State Geological Survey.
Larson, Timothy H., Balikian, Riley, and Deng, Siqi. 2017. An Electrical Earth Resistivity Survey along Northbound Illinois Route 251 in Peru, IL. Technical Report. Champaign, IL: Illinois State Geological Survey.
Larson, Timothy H., Balikian, Riley, and Thomason, Jason. 2017. Electrical Earth Resistivity Surveys in McHenry Co., IL. Technical Report. Champaign, IL: Illinois State Geological Survey.
AWARDS AND HONORS
2015 Wisconsin Without Borders: Excellence in Community-Based Research (Awarded by the Morgridge Center for Public Service)
2015 Student Project Award (Awarded by the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Planning Association)
2013 Student speaker (Selected by Wheaton College administration to speak at undergraduate baccalaureate)
2013 1st Place: P.J. Hill Essay Contest (Awarded by the Wheaton College Department of Economics)
2013 1st Place: Wheaton Reflects Senior Essay Contest (Sponsored by the Wheaton College Union)
FORMAL COURSE INSTRUCTION AND FACILITATION
|2016||PL PATH 375: Social-Ecological Systems and Development University of Wisconsin|
Instructor: Prepared course materials, facilitated class sesions, and led and organized field trips
|2013||GEOL 437: Hydrogeology Wheaton College, IL|
Lab Assistant: Assisted students in lab and during field trip
|2012 – 2013||HNGR 117: Third World Issues Wheaton College, IL|
Teacher’s Assistant: Facilitated sessions, coordinated guest lectures, prepared class materials
|2016-2017|| Champaign Unit 4 School District (Licensed Substitute Teacher)|
Substitute Teacher: Medium-term substitute for High School Spanish I course
Also taught and/or aided classes from kindergarten to 12th grade, including special education
- Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society [www.eegs.org]
- American Geophysical Union [www.agu.org]
- Society of Exploration Geophysicists [www.seg.org]
- Geological Society of America [2017-2018] [www.geosociety.org]
NON-ACADEMIC WRITING & OUTREACH
Balikian, R., 2021. Illinois State Geological Survey Geophysics Data Viewer. FastTIMES 25. http://fasttimesonline.co/2021/02/17/government-geophysics-news-2/
Balikian, R. 2021. Earth Sciences on the Divide: Earth Sciences in Illinois. Virtual Presentation at Pleasantdale Middle School. Burr Ridge, IL. https://rileybalikian.blog/2021/03/11/earth-sciences-on-the-divide/
Balikian, R., 2021. 2020: A Year for the Books. Riley J. Balikian. https://rileybalikian.blog/2021/01/29/2020-a-year-for-the-books/
Balikian, R. 2019. The World is at Your Feet: A Career in the Earth Sciences. Oral Presentation at Monticello Middle School. Monticello, IL. https://rileybalikian.blog/2020/01/08/earth-sciences-world-at-your-feet/
Balikian, R. 2019. Aguacate: Water Resources and Systems Resilience among Avocado Growers in San Diego County, CA. Oral Presentation at the Illinois State Geological Survey Brownbag Series, Urbana, IL.
Balikian, R.. 2018. The Value of Volunteering. GeoGradGuide.com. [Link]
Balikian, R.. 2018. Writing in Rock Blog.
Some Great Falls and a Very Rivery River [Link]
In the Middle: Kansas, Cowboys, Crossroads, & an American Mediterranean Sea [Link]
The Precambrian: 20,000 Feet Under the Trees (Part III) [Link]
The Precambrian: Mystery and Myth (Part II) [Link]
Groundwar: Geologists in the Trenches [Link]
The Precambrian: An Origin Story (Part I) [Link]
The Quiet of the Aging (A Sonnet of Illinois Geology) [Link]
The Earth is Electric: Resistivity Geophysics [Link]
Southern Proceedings: The Three Tennessees [Link]
A Wrinkle in Time (Lapse) [Link]
From Time Immemorial: The Prévanance of Unremembered Eons [Link]
The Lakes and the Law of the Sea [Link]
Geology of Illinois (No, it’s not an Oxymoron) [Link]
How to Build a Moraine (Part II) [Link]
How to Build a Moraine (Part I) [Link]
Writing in Rock, An Introduction (Parts I & II) [Link 1] [Link 2]
Balikian, R. 2015. “The Awe, the Longing, and All Those Questions.” The Covenant Companion.
Balikian, R. 2013. “Reflections on Curiosity and Wisdom.” Wheaton College- Senior Reflections on Liberal Arts.
Hailu, Z.G., Sanders, R., Balikian, R.. (2013). Water & Irrigation for Small-Scale Farmers. Panel Presentation at the Human Needs and Global Resources Symposium. Wheaton, IL.
PRESS & ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
[Acknowledgment] Lucas, M., Barklage, M., McKnight, G., 2019. Locating Previously Unmapped Water-Filled Cave Passages Feeding the Echo River Accessory Spring Using Electrical Resistivity Tomography at Mammoth Cave National Park, KY.
Kroeker, A. 2017. “Nurturing a Holy Curiosity,” byFaith Magazine, 23-Aug-2017. https://byfaithonline.com/nurturing-a-holy-curiosity/
University of Wisconsin Global Health Institute. 2015. “GHI Programs Associate Among Those Honored for Engagement Beyond Campus Borders.” https://ghi.wisc.edu/ghi-programs-associate-among-those-honored-for-engagement-beyond-campus-borders/.
[Acknowledgement] J. Dawson and A. Morales, Eds., “Chicago Marketplaces: Advancing Access to Healthy Food,” in Cities of Farmers: Urban Agricultural Practices and Processes, University of Iowa Press, 2016, pp. 191–210. https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt20q23dv
[Acknowledgement] A. Morales, “Food Systems for Healthy Places,” Built Environment and Public Health Clearinghouse, 14-Dec-2015. [Online]. Available: Food Systems for Healthy Places.
[Acknowledgement] C. Law, “Directory of Contacts for Wisconsin Business Improvement Districts (BIDs),” University of Wisconsin-Extension, Madison, WI, Sep. 2015.
Erickson, D. 2015. “As Young Evangelical, He Finds God’s Call in Focus on Climate ‘Crisis,’” Wisconsin State Journal. Madison, Wisconsin. https://madison.com/wsj/as-young-evangelical-he-finds-gods-call-in-focus-on-climate-crisis/article_33e7c838-a207-5e5f-b3a1-9d833c80a265.html
Collins, M.B. 2014. “A Partnership: Oneida and the Commons,” University of Wisconsin School of Human Ecology. https://sohe.wisc.edu/partnership-oneida-commns/
Schneider, P. 2014. “Madison’s tiny houses for homeless an example of ‘housing co-production,’ says planning journal,” The Cap Times. Madison, Wisconsin. https://madison.com/ct/news/local/writers/pat_schneider/madison-s-tiny-houses-for-homeless-an-example-of-housing/article_434e5a00-be7f-11e3-91fd-0019bb2963f4.html
SKILLS AND TRAINING
- FEMA Training: National Incident Management (NIMS) Introduction (IS-700 – Completed)
- FEMA Training: Introduction to Incident Command System (ICS-100 – Completed)
- United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Basic Training (BQII)
- Proficient in ESRI Arc suite and QGIS
- Proficient: MATLAB, Python
- Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite
- Proficient in various geophysical software, including Res2dInv, GPR-Slice, GeoScene3D and others
- Conversational in Spanish; Competent in Amharic (Ethiopia) and Koine Greek (r/w)
- Experience with various community facilitation methods
SERVICE AND VOLUNTEERING
|2019 – 2021||United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 84 (Central Illinois)|
Member (BQ II)
|2014 – 2019||Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (YECA) United States/Nationwide|
2016 – 2019: Secretary
2015 – 2016: Treasurer
2014 – 2019: National Steering Committee Member
|2013 – 2015||Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development Madison, Wisconsin|
LIGHT Program Site Coordinator – Madison East High School
|2014||Community Groundworks at Troy Community Farm Madison, Wisconsin|
|2012 – 2013||A Rocha Conservation Organization, Wheaton College Chapter Wheaton, Illinois|
|2012||Deye Mon Haiti (Formerly Haiti-Wheaton Partnership) Wheaton, Illinois|
|2010 – 2011||World Relief West Chicago, Illinois|
English as Second Language (ESL) Tutor
|2009 – 2011||Honduras Project Wheaton, Illinois and Tegucigalpa, Honduras|
2010 – 2011: Cabinet Member (Team Educator)
2009 – 2010: Student Team Member
|2010||World Relief Wheaton, Illinois|
After School Tutor, Lowell Elementary School