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Spotlight on Students: Jake Swamp

A member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, Jake lives in the Akwe:kon program house.

  • Affiliation: Engineering Physics
  • Hometown: Madison, Wisc.

Jake Swamp's mathematical ability has been apparent since he was a kindergartner. "I was already figuring out how to multiply without them really teaching it," says the junior from Madison, Wisc. "I was pretty much always in advanced math courses."

He liked physics in high school, as well as working with his hands, so he chose to major in applied and engineering physics. "I like how it's really sort of problem solving," he says. "You start with a few basic ideas and you can find so much out with them."

Jake is on the Engineering Dean's Undergraduate Advisory Council and has helped teach introductory physics as an Undergraduate Learning Assistant. He has also interned with the Argonne National Lab. "I worked with meteorologists looking at the energy going into and out of a prairie to see how agriculture affects the microclimate," he says. "We both improved the methods of measuring and got a nice set of data."

A member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, Jake lives in the Akwe:kon program house, has taken American Indian studies courses, and has been on trips with the American Indian Program. "Being here, I actually got to see our original homeland, what's left of it now, and a lot of the traditional Haudenosaunee dances—things you don't see much back home," he says. "Even going to the Oneida powwows, most of the dancing you see is from the tribes in that region because we were moved by missionaries and they systematically tried to take our culture away from us."

Jake is a co-president of both the American Indian Science and Engineering Society and the Native American Students at Cornell. "It's really important to me to stay connected to my native heritage in whatever way I can, especially where my major isn't really connected with it," he says. "I want our voices to be heard and be seen throughout the community, so if I can help them in any way, I will."

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