Getting to Know You

Introducing a new blog series, ‘Getting to Know You’.  Throughout the year we will be getting to know a financial aid colleague from each state in the region a little better. First up, South Dakota!


I chose to spotlight Beth Vollan, Assistant Director of Financial Aid at South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota. I’ve gotten to know Beth through SDASFAA after she started at SDSU in 2010. I know a little about her through our visits at meetings and conferences, but it was fun to ask her some questions and get to know more about her. Having both served on NCHELP committees in our previous careers, we found that we both know a number of the same people in the student loan industry.


What is your background and how did you get into financial aid? 

I grew up in Fargo and Omaha. I attended college at the University of Nebraska Lincoln and graduated with majors in political science and history. After college, the first job I applied for was a claim reviewer position at National Student Loan Program (NSLP).  I had no idea what a claim reviewer did, but I got the job.  I stayed at NSLP for sixteen years, and I have been at SDSU for six.  I never imagined that twenty-two years later I would still be in financial aid.

What is the most unusual or most interesting job you’ve ever had?

The most interesting job that I have ever had was as the student loan ombudsman for NSLP. The work was challenging and rewarding, and many of my borrower cases involved unique situations.  I really enjoyed collaborating with other ombuds-people in the industry who were always supportive.

What would your co-workers say you are known for saying in the office? 

I had to poll my co-workers to answer this one. Apparently, I am known for saying “I will add that to my list”.

What is your favorite book?

The books that I reread most often are the books in the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien.

What is your favorite food or meal you like to make?

Right now, my favorite meal is a homemade black bean burger topped with peanut butter and hot pepper jam and a baked sweet potato on the side. If there is cake for dessert, even better!

What do you like to do for fun or as a favorite hobby?

In the summer I garden. In the winter I bake. I also enjoy reading, listening to music, and antiquing with my spouse.

What is something on your bucket list?

A trip to Europe is high on my bucket list. I have relatives from Sweden who visit the U.S. every few years, and I would really like to return the visit.

What was your favorite toy as a child?

I loved my Spirograph.


Marlene Seeklander
Lake Area Technical Institute, SD
Association News Committee


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