2016 Standout Seniors: Meet Nick Swanson

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2016 is ready to make its mark on the world!  We’re proud of our students and the things they’ve accomplished and learned while here at Behrend.  Over the next couple months, we’ll be introducing you to a few of our remarkable seniors who have overcome challenges, pioneered new technology, participated in important research projects, and left an impression at Penn State Behrend.

Today, we’d like you to meet Nick Swanson.

Nick Swanson1

Major: Physics

Minor: Mathematics

Hometown: Lakewood, New York

On choosing to major in Physics: Originally, I wanted to design 3D graphics for video games and movies, so I entered Behrend as a Software Engineer major and planned to minor in Physics. Come to find out, I wasn’t a huge fan of coding, so I switched to a Physics major because I thought it would give me a lot of opportunities, and it has.

Physics can be fun (no really): I credit my love for physics to my high school physics teacher, Jefferson Padgett. He made physics fun and interesting. I couldn’t wait for class. I always knew I’d be in a good mood when I left.

All the world’s a math problem: Being able to understand how and why something works is a really great feeling. Sure, it can be frustrating at times, but when you break it all down and figure it out, you realize how beautiful and mathematical the world really is.

Embracing winter: I picked up snowboarding a few years ago. I wish I would’ve started earlier because it’s really relaxing and fun.

On continuing education: I love to learn and am looking forward to having more time after school to learn more about energy systems, home improvement, and electronics. I have a 3D printer and I’d like to be able to incorporate electronics into the prints because it would be a cool achievement.

On nuclear power: I’ve had an interest in nuclear energy since high school. Although dangerous, nuclear energy is actually a super-efficient way of obtaining power.

Advice for current students: Make friends with older students. They’ve been in your shoes and understand your struggles. They might even learn something from you, too.

Nick has accepted a position as an engineer at Rolls-Royce Nuclear in Pittsburgh following his graduation in May.

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