Clarice Swanson

A Women’s History Month Spotlight

Senior Clarice Swanson, a Communication and Media Arts (CMMA) major and Music minor, stands out at USF for a few reasons.

First, the flower. Those who know her know that they’ll rarely see Swanson without a colorful flower pinning back her sandy blonde hair. In high school, a friend told her that the flowers really made her stand out in a crowd, and at that point, her signature hair flower became her trademark.

Secondly, she’s involved in two of the most visible student mediums on campus. When she’s not writing and planning an issue of the Encounter student magazine as editor-in-chief, you’ll see her on screen, hosting the Exploring Joliet cable television show. Exploring Joliet is produced entirely by video and broadcasting students, and is broadcast to the local Joliet community.

“I love both video and print. They have a lot of similar elements, but they’re still so different. I think when it comes to TV, my favorite element of being in front of the camera is doing spotlight interviews with local community members and officials. Then for Encounter, I love talking to students and getting their thoughts on pieces we’re writing. So I enjoy doing similar things for both,” said Swanson.

Along the way, she was told that, to work as a communications professional, one needs to be a storyteller and must be able to work with many different types of media. She’s done just that over her four years at USF, telling the USF story through journalism, public relations, design, video and audio projects… in anything from news to entertainment to opinion pieces.

Her rise to writing success was new to her after enrolling at University of St. Francis. She didn’t write for her high school paper, but always enjoyed writing. When it came time to get involved at USF, she chose the Encounter. Three years later, she’s editor-in-chief, helping the magazine grow and evolve. She has particularly enjoyed seeing the Encounter’s social media and web presence grow, and has felt pride in seeing the publication’s writing style evolve to become more professional each year.

“Things will never be perfect, but I love seeing the growth and change, especially when I know those improvements will continue each year,” Swanson said.

When asked about her favorite written contribution, Swanson recalled an article she wrote last year about the top mental health issues plaguing college students.

“Mental health is something that is extremely important to me, so that has to be one of my favorite things I’ve written,” she recounted. “I hope that article impacted someone along the way to stop and think about their own mental well being.”

Swanson chose the University of St. Francis after witnessing the friendliness and helpfulness of the admissions staff, faculty and students she encountered while discerning her college choice. She felt like people really wanted her to be a part of the USF community. As a person who feels she owes God a great deal of gratitude for blessing her with the tools she needs to be successful, Swanson truly appreciated USF’s faith foundation (and still does). Finally, she could see the many opportunities that would be afforded to her in her future if she became a Saint. That eye on the future prize was an exciting foreshadowing, as Swanson was recently accepted into the Disney College Internsip program in Orlando for this fall.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to work and learn with the company, and being a huge Disney nerd I’m very excited about it. My dream after that is to work with a live performance venue, such as a concert hall or theater, in marketing or event/fundraising planning,” she said.

It’s hard to think Swanson has time to get involved in anything but her academic endeavors, but she has an impressive list of “other” roles at USF including Saints Ambassador, president of the Student Activities Board, vice president of the National Communication Honor Society, vice president of the National Residence Hall Honorary, vice president of the Pro-Life Club and treasurer of the TV Club. She’s also part of the Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and spends a lot of time practicing music in her free time.

“Outside of that, I live off coffee and spending time with friends and my mom, dad, and my brother Zach,” said Swanson.