Hannah K. Swift

Hannah K. Swift

Are there honors/achievements/special recognition you would like to list that are not included above?

  • Astronomy Associates of Lawrence President (Spring 2003 – present)
  • University Christian Fellowship Leadership Team Member (Fall 2002 – present)
  • University Scholar — Spring 2004
  • Undergraduate research award — Summer 2003
  • Wealthy Babcock Mathematics Scholarship — 2004-2005 and 2005-2006
  • Watkins Scholarship Hall Leadership Scholarship — 2004-2005 and 2005-2006
  • Watkins Scholarship Hall Academic Excellence Scholarship — 2003-2004
  • National Merit Scholar
  • (And these aren't really "achievements" but they are things I am honored to be a part of)
  • International Friends: English Conversation partner with Taiwanese international student — 2002-present
  • KIDSCI: Tutoring kids in science at Woodlawn Elementary School — 2004-2005
  • Public Education Volunteer through Astronomy Associates of Lawrence — Fall 2002-present
  • What led you to your area of study/field of interest?
    As a child, I was enamored with the night sky. Its beauty and majesty were (and still are to a great degree) beyond my comprehension, and I desired to know more about what it was that I saw in the sky and how all the pieces worked together. When I entered college, I knew I wanted to study astronomy. After my first year, I began to see more deeply what physics had to offer and knew that I wanted to study it as well. I encountered particle physics and enjoyed it immensely; merging that with my initial pursuit of astrophysics, I found myself looking toward particle astrophysics. (And as I like to say for the non-physicists I know, particle astrophysics is the study of small things that move fast and come from outer space.) I am not sure what new avenues of study I will encounter as I continue my education, and my path may yet alter toward one branch of physics or another, but the destination will remain the same: the understanding of what the universe is and how its parts work together.

    What honor, achievement or accomplishment is most meaningful to you? Why?
    Of the honors I have recently received, the Goldwater Scholarship is most meaningful to me. The scholarship is designed to award undergraduate students who excel in research in science, mathematics, and engineering and who intend to pursue careers in these fields. It is awarded to roughly 300 undergraduates nationally each year. Receiving one confirms to me that I am a competitor in my field on a national level. It gives me hope that I am able to do what I have set out to do and it excites me about the future and all that is in store for me as I continue to do research.

    Who has been influential or had a significant impact on your life? Please elaborate. (Please include individuals at KU as appropriate.)
    First and foremost, I would have to say that my parents have been most influential in my life. They raised me to have a strict work ethic, attention to detail, and respect for God, without which I would not be who I am today. They loved me always and encouraged me to enjoy my studies and pursue my academic interests, wherever they lead me.

    My research advisor, Dave Besson, who also taught my physics 313 course, impacted my life, as that course not only gave me my first glimpse of modern physics, but also lead me to continue studying physics. I must confess that after my first year, I was pondering whether or not physics was interesting enough to merit study. After taking his class, my passion for the field was ignited, as I received a taste of particle physics and quantum mechanics and other tings that were to come if I continued in the field.

    With brevity in mind, I continue. Also influential was my eighth grade science teacher and Science Adventurer Club advisor, Mr. Pelligreen, without whom I would not have had as much fun in junior high science. My sister, Abigail Kleier, without whose friendship and guidance I would be lost for true companionship. My family as a whole, in that they teach me continually what it is to love. My former roommate and close friend, Tara Fritz, who appreciates and approves of me exactly how I am. And, at the risk of sounding a little crazy, but desiring to be true to form and true to myself, I must include that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has been of immeasurable influence in my life in forming me into the person that I am and giving me joy to pursue life.

    Why do you believe it is important to recognize women for their accomplishments?
    I believe it is important to recognize all people for their accomplishments. When humans are recognized for what they have done, they are validated in the effort they have put forth. Such recognition propels them to ever-greater levels of achievement. Specifically for women, when the status quo is not high achievement in the academic realm, it is important to recognize those women who break the mold so that the status quo may be changed.

    What is a most favorite/least favorite memory as a student?
    A most favorite memory of mine must be of sunrise as seen from the courtyard outside Danforth Chapel. I imagine that years from now when I come back to visit this campus, I will fondly recall resting on the benches outside Danforth Chapel after my morning jog and watching the sun rise in all its glory.

    What is your definition of success?
    Success is the achievement of a goal.

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