Maddie Swanson

Maddie Swanson ’24 named a Fulbright alternate

The U.S. Department of State recognized Maddie Swanson ’24 as an alternate for the 2024-25 U.S. Fulbright Scholarship, one of the most prestigious postgraduate programs, which offers recipients an unparalleled opportunity to pursue graduate study and conduct research abroad.

“I’m still extremely grateful I was selected,” Swanson said. “To be an alternate means that if more funding becomes available then they would be able to send me abroad. But I’m super grateful for the opportunity and I’m very flattered they chose me.”

Swanson will graduate from Hamline University in May with a double major in public health sciences and environmental and climate studies, with a concentration on public policy. During her four years at Hamline, Swanson, who currently works in the Student Activities Office as student organizations coordinator, was a member of Hamline University Student Congress for three years (starting as a student representative, then technology coordinator, and finally internal student body president), and a member of the women's lacrosse team for four years, 

Swanson was encouraged by her friend and classmate Mohamed Shukri to pursue the competitive scholarship. She applied to study at Vrije University in Amsterdam, pursuing a masters degree in political science with a specialization in global governance, sustainability and climate change. Swanson was aided in the application process with letters of recommendation from Hamline professors Valentine Cadieux, Alina Oxendine and Kathryn Geurts, with additional support from Suda Ishida.

“They did a lot to get me where I am as a student and hopefully where I’ll be as a professional,” Swanson said of the faculty members.

While Swanson did not ultimately receive a Fulbright Scholarship, being named a Fulbright alternate is a tremendous honor that recognizes her outstanding accomplishments and abilities as a student.

When asked what she thinks stood out to the Fulbright Program about her application, Swanson said she hopes it was her diverse and broad range of experiences as a Hamline student.

“I would hope they recognized I went to a small, private liberal arts school and I was able to be an athlete the last four years, double major in multidisciplinary studies, and be involved in things outside academics and athletics,” Swanson said. “I’ve been a student leader the last four years, I’m also a published photojournalist internationally and I have experience working in municipal government. I would hope they recognized I was a well-rounded student due to my education at Hamline and I owe it all to Hamline.”

After commencement next month, Swanson will begin an environmental health internship with Hennepin County, where she will be involved in water sampling and public outreach and education.

“I’m really interested in working at the regional or federal government level,” she said. “I think this will be a great start to my career.”
Long term, Swanson would like to work for the Environmental Protection Agency, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency or the Minnesota Department of Health.