Ph.D. student, VCU Life Sciences
Prince George, Va.
Growing up in a family of factory workers, Matt Balazik thought he’d follow the same career path. Until his older brother convinced him to give college a shot. After transferring to VCU, a fish biology course hooked Balazik on research, specifically the restoration of Atlantic sturgeon to Virginia’s coastal waters.
“I wanted to be part of it,” he said.
While Balazik pursued his master’s degree, the VCU Rice Center for Environmental Life Sciences, a 494-acre field station along the James River, became a cornerstone of academic and research excellence. Now, this Ph.D. student spends his days in his outdoor laboratory.
“I’m constantly amazed by the cutting-edge research people do here at VCU,” he said, “and the fact that I get to do it with them.”