Beyond the Bluff: Suzanne Swanson ’19

Suzanne Swanson ’19

Major: English
Next Step: M.A. in Viking and Medieval Norse Studies at the University of Iceland

While studying abroad in Cork, Ireland, Suzanne Swanson delved both deeply and broadly into some of the great works of literature. Reading across history and cultures in courses such as “Otherworld Journeys and Saintly Visions in Celtic Literature” and “Of Monsters and Men,” she discovered a passion for Icelandic manuscripts and literature.

After graduation Swanson will be moving from Los Angeles to Reykjavík, Iceland. In August, she will begin an M.A. program in Viking and Medieval Norse Studies at the University of Iceland. Inspired by a single line in the Völsunga Saga, Swanson hopes to research semantics and illustrative details within manuscripts to explore the possibility of a cultural self-awareness related to inherent flaws of heroic society.

The opportunity to participate in professional research is one of the reasons Swanson transferred to Loyola Marymount University during her freshman year. As an undergraduate, Swanson has participated in both the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) and the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP).

“In one such fellowship, I investigated a steel compass held in William H. Hannon Library’s Special Collections and its relationship to John Donne’s compass metaphor in A Valediction, Forbidding Mourning,” says Swanson. “I examined facsimiles of Donne’s Middle English sermons in search of his intention behind the metaphor through libraries and databases at UCLA, along with researching the compass’ practical uses and its depictions in theological and scientific belief.”

Swanson credits Stephen Shepherd, professor of English, and Kathleen McLaughlin, senior lecturer of studio arts, for supporting her with intellectual guidance and inspiring her to pursue her academic and creative passions.

“My liberal arts education opened up opportunities to get firsthand experience with artifacts, critical processes, and one-on-one instruction with professionals in the field,” says Swanson. “This elucidated my research, cultural, and linguistic interests while providing me with a strong foundation for graduate study.”

Seniors at Loyola Marymount University have been preparing for life after LMU all year. In our Beyond the Bluff series, liberal arts seniors reflect on their post-graduate next steps and the experiences that shaped their career plans.