International Balfour Award Finalists Announced

Annual award honors Sigma Chi’s most outstanding graduating senior

The Sigma Chi International Fraternity has announced the finalists for its International Balfour Award, which recognizes the Fraternity’s most outstanding graduating senior based on the member’s scholastics, campus and community involvement, and involvement within Sigma Chi. The winner will be selected and announced on July 30 at the Balfour Leadership Training Workshop at Bowling Green State University, located in Bowling Green, Ohio. The candidates are Ben Berger, UTAH 2016; Eric Hargarten, LOYOLA (CHICAGO) 2016; Jacob Mooney, MIT 2016; and Ethan Pickering, CASE WESTERN 2015.

Berger’s academic career includes a 3.992 GPA and a major in biology with an emphasis in cell and molecular biology, which he earned with honors. In addition, he has a minor in chemistry, and served as president or on the executive committee of six student organizations at the University of Utah. He looks forward to enrolling in medical school in the fall of 2017 after scoring in the 99th percentile on the MCAT last September.

Hargarten enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 2007 at the age of 17, and graduated from the Air Force’s Airmen Leadership School. He received three Air Force Achievement Medals and the Air Force Commendation Medal, and after separating from the Air Force in 2013, Hargarten took part in a humanitarian relief campaign in Haiti before enrolling in Loyola University Chicago and earning a 3.92 GPA while majoring in physics, mathematics and finance.

Mooney earned a 4.7 GPA on a 5.0 scale, and after obtaining his degree in mechanical engineering, he plans to pursue a medical degree at the Stanford University School of Medicine. His experience includes studying biomechatronics at the MIT Media Lab, developing a high-speed data communication system for aircraft at the MIT Lincoln Lab, and conducting research in the field of optogenetics at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research’s Desimone Laboratory.

Pickering graduated last fall with a 4.0 GPA, Summa Cum Laude honors and a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering. He expects to earn a master’s in mechanical engineering this summer from Case Western, after which he will pursue a Ph.D. in the same field at the California Institute of Technology. Pickering’s chapter involvement includes holding the offices of Consul, Kustos, historian, chapter editor, house manager and accountability chairman, among others.

Established in 1930 and named for Significant Sig, Order of Constantine Sig and 29th Grand Consul L. G. Balfour, INDIANA 1907, the International Balfour Award has been conferred upon such noted alumni as Jon M. Huntsman, PENNSYLVANIA 1959, and Merlin Olsen, UTAH STATE 1962, both of whom are Order of Constantine Sigs and Significant Sigs. By tradition, the award’s two most recent winners serve on Sigma Chi’s board of directors, which is referred to as the Executive Committee.