2019 Senior of the Year Finalists 

Ella Wiebusch, News Editor

First given in 1985, the Senior of the Year award was created by the National Alumni Association Board of Directors and has been given to a BVU student every year since. This year, the top 5 students eligible for the award are the following: Andrew Bandstra, Brandon Glienke, Emily Kim, Alan Maldonado, and Jenny Schildroth.   

Students are chosen for this honor through a selective process. Graduating seniors with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and above are presented to all faculty and staff, who then vote to determine the top 10 candidates. The top five are then chosen through a vote by the senior class, and the candidates are then interviewed by members of the BVU National Alumni Association Board of Directors who choose the winner. 

One, Andrew Bandstra, is a digital media major from Des Moines, IA. During his time at BVU, he has been a part of the baseball team, the Society for Collegiate Journalists, KBVU, The 

Tack, and BVTV. Bandstra has found his time at BVU to have been incredibly meaningful. 

“I think that I went to BV just because I wanted to play baseball,” shares Bandstra, “and it turned out to be so much more than that. There are just so many special people here that were instrumental in my time here. To name a few, Andrea Frantz and Tanner Hoops really took me under their wing and helped me grow so much.” 

Bandstra is currently working a season long internship for a professional baseball team doing both broadcasting and media relations. His dream job? An anchor on Sports Center, or a radio or TV host for the Yankees or an NBA team.   

“I feel incredibly blessed to have been named a candidate for Senior of the Year, and it means a lot to me. BV has taught me more than I could have ever imagined, and I feel very, very thankful to have been able to attend here,” says Bandstra.

Another candidate, Brandon Glienke, is an accounting and business major from Aurelia, IA. A part of the Accounting and Business Association and the Association for Computing Machinery, an RA on campus, and an employee at 2Fix, as well as having an internship at the moment with an accounting firm, Glienke stays pretty busy. He has also been involved in Concert Band, Jazz Band, Dean’s Fellowship, and Partners in Excellence. 

Upon graduation, Glienke will be working in an accounting firm in Spencer, IA. However, his time at BVU isn’t quite done, and as he looks back on his four years, he notes his growth. 

“A lot of the professional networking that I’ve done through BVU with all sorts of different businesses and people in high positions have been really influential to me and have helped me move forward in my professional career,” says Glienke. 

To Glienke, being nominated and selected as one of the finalists is an honor. 

“I think shocked is a pretty good word for it. It’s nice to see that faculty and students recognize us, and I’m just thankful to all the faculty that have made my four years here worth it,” says Glienke. 

The third candidate is a Fairmont, MN native named Emily Kim. A biomedical sciences major, Kim has been involved in Residence Life, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Women’s Golf, the Student Athlete Advisory Council, and MELT. With graduation quickly approaching, Kim plans to attend medical school in San Antonio, TX to further her education.  

Looking back on her time at BVU, Kim expresses thanks for all the opportunities the school has offered her.  

“As I reflect on my past four years here, I am incredibly thankful and grateful for Buena Vista University,” says Kim. “My time at BVU has been a rich experience of growth in all areas of my life; academically in the classroom, athletically on the golf course, spiritually through campus ministries, and personally through friendships and relationships I’ve been able to make.” 

 Being named one of the top five candidates for the senior award is just another opportunity and blessing in Kim’s eyes. 

“I’m blessed to be able to be named one of the top 5 candidates, and it’s an honor to be recognized for this award.”

A business and Spanish double-major, candidate Alan Maldonado is from Lenexa, KS. Maldonado is the current Student Senate President, a Community Coordinator for Residence Life, a part of the Spanish honor society, Sigma Delta Pi, and the Hispanic Club. After he graduates, Maldonado will be attending Purdue University to obtain his PhD in Spanish Literature.  

“[Being at BVU] has meant a lot. I never pictured myself being a top five finalists. I never thought I’d be where I am today,” shares Maldonado. “I think one of the big things about BV that is underappreciated is how it can grow you and mold you into the person you were kind of meant to be without you knowing it. Faculty and staff members here are able to see potential in you that you don’t see yet.” 

 While Maldonado is proud of himself, he is also very conscious of others who have worked just as hard 

“I don’t consider myself one of the top five, I really don’t, because I see what a lot of my colleagues have accomplished,” says Maldonado.I see how hard they’ve worked their whole four years here. For me, I feel like a lot of them have gone through challenges of their own.” 

Jenny Schildroth, of Reinbeck, IA, is a human resources and marketing major. An academic assistant in the School of Business, Schildroth also keeps busy as a resident assistant, a member of the Accounting and Business Association, a tour guide, a lifeguard for the pool, and is a part of SAB, Impact, and the Society for Human Resource Management. She is in the process of applying for human resource jobs in the Des Moines area with her ultimate dream of being to work for nonprofit ministries. 

“My time at BV has come with a lot of growing, I would say,” shares Schildroth.I was a very different person freshman year than I am now, and I have experienced a lot of things, each coming with their own unique experience and challenges. It’s definitely made me a stronger person.” 

BVU has been a blessing in her life, as Schildroth has learned both professionally and personally that it is ok to not be an expert, because there are people here that are willing and able to help. And to be named a finalist for senior of the year is an honor. 

“I was really kind of shocked that I was one of them,” says Schildroth. “I think it’s really cool, and obviously not all of us are going to get it, but it’s a really big deal that we were even named because it’s not only students voting for you, but also faculty who have recognized you.” 

This year’s five finalists have completed their interviews with the Alumni Board and are now awaiting the final results for this year’s award. Winners will be announced at the upcoming Student Recognition Dinner on Saturday, Apr. 27, 2019.