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Get to Know Me: Jenifer Swanson

Saturday, April 03, 2010  
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By Jeff Kolkey
RRSTAR.COM
Posted Apr 03, 2010 @ 04:58 PM

Who is she? A full-time Rockford College student majoring in sociology, Jenifer Swanson, 27, works for Lutheran Social Services. Swanson lives in Rockton with most of her immediate family. She is part of the college’s Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement and a student organizer of Take Back the Night, an international movement held largely on college campuses "to bring awareness and empowerment to women regarding physical and sexual violence.”

Inspired by: I have always been a natural helper, and I have a strong passion for women’s and children’s issues.

Up next: I am helping to organize the Take Back the Night event at Rockford College, which is one of the most exciting things I have done in a long time. It’s at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Rockford College; I am on track to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in December 2011. I am engaged to be married on June 17, 2011; and my other long-range plans include attending graduate school at Loyola University to receive a master’s degree in women’s studies and my master’s of social work.

For fun: I like to cross-stitch and read in my spare time (hard to come by these days).

Favorite place in the Rock River Valley: I enjoy bowling and outdoor activities like hiking, so I like to go to Rock Cut and Lowden State Park.

Motto: Life is too short to be unhappy.

Best advice: Not everyone is going to like you all of the time, so sometimes you just have to suck it up and move on.

If you could take two weeks off from all your responsibilities, where would you go and what would you do? I would love to take a vacation. I have always wanted to go to Florida and New York City, so two weeks of lounging by the pool or beachside, shopping and spa treatments sound heavenly.

What did you want to be when you grew up? The progression is as follows: ballerina-architect-photographer-speech pathologist-social worker.

Funny life experience: When I was about 4 years old, I woke up very early on Christmas morning and unwrapped every present under the tree for all seven of my family members. Once they were all rewrapped, I proudly announced to each family member what the gift was before they were able to unwrap it.

Biggest challenge: At age 25, I changed my life in a drastic way. I got divorced, went back to school, changed jobs and chose a career in social work. I am older than the average student and also entering a field in which the future can look bleak. But helping people is my passion. Now, I have an entry-level job in my field, am three semesters away from graduating and engaged to be remarried. My risk-taking has definitely paid off.

What was your first job? I worked at Culver’s in Roscoe for five years, starting when I was 15.

Pet peeve: Rude people.

Something the Rock River Valley needs: A place for adults to go at night and on the weekends to have fun that is not a bar or bowling alley. Maybe something like Dave & Buster’s.

Compiled by Jeff Kolkey. Have a suggestion for Get to Know Me or story idea? Call 815-987-1374 or e-mail jkolkey@rrstar.com.

This story appeared at http://www.rrstar.com/news/gtkm/x1043115574/Jenifer-Swanson on April 3, 2010.

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