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Lyra Halsten ’21

Andrea Biklen Memorial Scholarship assists continuing and graduate student in reaching goal


Just over two years ago, the Simpson College family lost one of its own when Andrea Biklen, director of continuing and graduate programs, passed away unexpectedly. The college’s self-proclaimed “bossy big sister,” Biklen made a positive impact on hundreds of adult learners during her 26 years as an academic advisor and faculty member at Simpson.

Though she is gone, her legacy lives on through the memorial scholarship in her name. The Andrea Biklen Memorial Scholarship provides students a helping hand toward degree completion. 

That helping hand is exactly what Lyra Halsten needed to complete her degree on time.

“The Andrea Biklen Memorial Scholarship is not only a high honor, it allows me to continue my education,” Halsten said. “Without the aid of this award, I would have needed to put my education on hold in my final year. That would have been devastating.”

An independent interdisciplinary major in arts management, Halsten wants to apply her education to revitalizing the theatre company she co-founded, Rising Phoenix Theatre Compnay. Halsten is also an aspiring Unitarian Universalist minister, a vocation she plans to use to shine light on and heal the injustices of the world.

“I want to reach out to those struggling to let them know they are seen, heard and empower them to persevere,” Halsten said. “Andrea’s example and this award will position me to make a difference in the world.”

Halsten is the third recipient of the Biklen Memorial Scholarship, which was created by Biklen’s family following her passing Sept. 30, 2018. The scholarship ensures that Biklen’s memory, love for Simpson and devotion to adult learners live on. 

“To the family of Andrea Biklen, I extend my most heartfelt sympathies and deepest gratitude for establishing this scholarship,” Halsten said.

Those interested in contributing to the Andrea Biklen Memorial Scholarship Fund can make a gift online or call the Advancement Office at 515-961-1683.