Andrea Biklen made a positive impact on hundreds of students during her 23 years as an academic advisor and faculty member at Simpson College. She built lasting, personal relationships with adult learners and guided countless students from registration to graduation.
Despite Biklen’s unexpected passing in 2018, her impact lives on. No one knows that better than recent graduates and recipients of the Andrea Biklen Memorial Scholarship, Lynn Doescher (pictured on the left) and Nina Ivanovski (pictured on the right).
Doescher and Ivanovski received their diplomas at Simpson’s December Commencement Ceremony on Dec. 14 in Indianola. Doescher graduated with a degree in management while Ivanovski earned a degree in accounting.
Biklen was there at the start of their journey. Her legacy pushed them across the finish line.
"Bossy big sister" made graduation possible
Affectionately referred to as a “bossy big sister,” Biklen guided the pair through Simpson’s Continuing and Graduate program. She was involved in every aspect of their college careers, from ensuring class schedules were manageable to providing encouragement when needed.
“Andrea was always there for me,” Doescher said. “She is the one who gave me the incentive I needed to go back to school and was there cheerleading for me. I can only hope that I made her proud by graduating.”
“Andrea always worked with me to make sure my Simpson schedule fit in right with my personal life,” said Ivanovski, who balanced her coursework with the hectic schedule of a parent with a full-time job.
Following her passing on Sept. 30, 2018, Biklen’s family endowed a scholarship in her memory. The scholarship ensures that Biklen’s memory, love for Simpson and devotion to adult learners live on.
Doescher and Ivanovski are the first graduating recipients of the scholarship.
“With the help of her scholarship, it really did help to alleviate some of the stress from the cost of tuition,” Doescher said. “It made finishing that much easier.”
The scholarship made a significant impact on Ivanovski, who faced a difficult situation as the fall semester came to a close. She wasn’t eligible for financial aid but wouldn’t be able to fund the final course needed to graduate.
“I appreciated Andrea’s scholarship very much,” she said. “Graduating from Simpson as an adult learner is a big achievement for me.”