U.Va. Undergraduate Reedy Swanson Earns Carnegie Fellowship

April 4, 2012 — University of Virginia undergraduate Reedy Swanson is one of 12 students selected nationwide for a research fellowship at the prestigious Carnegie Endowment for International Peace next year. The winners were selected from a pool of about 225 nominees. 

Swanson is a fourth-year politics honors major in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Each year the Carnegie Endowment offers up to 12 one-year fellowships to uniquely qualified students who have graduated during the past academic year, selected from a pool of nominees from nearly 400 participating colleges. Carnegie Junior Fellows work as research assistants to the endowment's senior associates. Applications are judged on the quality of a written essay, related academic study and/or work experience, grades, recommendations and personal interviews. Fellows are paid about $3,000 a month.

Swanson, 22, said the politics honors program, which allows exploration of all the aspects of politics taught at U.Va., was critical to his success as a Carnegie applicant. "The program offers a deep and broad knowledge of politics and its theoretical foundations," he said.

The Carnegie fellowship "will give me the opportunity to apply and develop some of the general knowledge from the honors program, especially in the area of international relations, to the particular challenges posed by developments in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India," Swanson said.

The son of Pam Reeves and Charles Swanson of Knoxville, Tenn., and a graduate of Knoxville West High School, he has been captain for three years of the Virginia Mock Trial team, head Lawn resident and a resident assistant for two years, an orientation leader, a member of the Raven Society and Phi Beta Kappa. He also received a State Department Critical Language Scholarship for Arabic for the summer of 2011.

After his year working in the South Asia program at the Carnegie Endowment, he envisions a law career. "I’d like to continue my work studying the relationship between the judiciary and the other branches of government as well as civil society," he said.

Law professor Toby Heytens, coach of the mock trial team, has known Swanson since he was a first-year student.

"He is smart, hard-working and talented," Heytens said. "He's also the ultimate team player who makes everyone else around him better. I'm thrilled, but not surprised, that he has been chosen for this terrific opportunity and I am sure he'll be a marvelous representative for U.Va. at Carnegie and beyond."

Lucy Russell, the director of U.Va.'s Center for Undergraduate Excellence, said Swanson faced stiff competition for the spot.

"The Carnegie Junior Fellows Program is an extremely competitive fellowship program that provides a great opportunity for recent college graduates to contribute to important work on issues of international importance," Russell said. "Reedy is a wonderful choice for the program, and I expect the experience will be extremely valuable."

"Over his time in our department, we've seen in Reedy a really wide-ranging mind matched with an energetic and friendly presence," said Lynn Sanders, an associate professor in the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics. "For his politics honors thesis, he is using his Spanish language skills to study judicial independence in Latin America. This shows what a virtuoso scholar Reedy is. He is hungry to know more, and undaunted by minor challenges like working in a less-familiar language. Wherever the most challenging political questions are, that's where Reedy wants to be."

Swanson's honor thesis deals with the repeal of amnesty laws in South America over the last decade. "This is a topic that I became interested in after seeing the interest that Hosni Mubarak's trial generated while I was in Jordan last summer," he said.

Deborah Boucoyannis, an assistant politics professor who is his thesis supervisor, said Swanson's commitment to issues of law, international affairs and democracy are evident in his academic pursuits and career plans.

"Reedy is doing outstanding research on the issue of transitional justice in LatinAmerica," she said. "He is broadly educated and very intellectual, with interests that extend to philosophy and jurisprudence."