Fellow:Nicholas Swanger

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Nicholas Swanger
School (Cohort)
University of North Florida (2022 cohort)
Majoring in
United States


Nicholas Swanger, known by friends and faculty by “Nick” or “Swanger”, is a passionate, energetic, curious, creative, and determined (borderline stubborn) student on the journey of life working to create the first professional endeavor to adsorb him after he finishes his schooling. Currently, though, he is a rising junior at UNF majoring in both finance and accounting with additional minors in leadership and psychology.

Nick grew up in Gainesville, Florida, the youngest of 4 siblings, in a family living on the border of southern charm and city-folk. He grew up with family being at the center of life, so his father’s diagnosis with prostate cancer when he was just in 8th grade shook him to his core. His father fought the cancer for 4 years, but, ultimately, in 2019 during Nick’s senior year of high school, he passed away.

Although extremely stressful, his father’s passing was a turning point in Nick’s life that shaped his ambitions and desires since. It is through his grieving that he creates much of his motivation. He decided to attend the University of North Florida (UNF) to balance his desires to have smaller student cohorts to foster creativity and innovation and remain close to his family. Nick knew he wanted to follow his father into the financial world, choosing finance as his major, but the psychological impacts of his father’s passing led to a burning passion to understand the human psyche and the how to use nutrition, diet, and activity to mitigate his risk of an early cancer diagnosis. Thus, he settled on a minor in psychology and decided to dedicate much of his free time to reading and listening to nutritional and biological academics to create his own “healthy life.”

Starting college during the COVID pandemic was a challenging time, but his one in-person class during his first semester, Introduction to Leadership taught by retired U.S. lieutenant general Rick Tryon, sparked yet another interest that he wanted to further explore. Nick discovered and found a new appreciation the role his father played as a leader in his family and hometown community and decided to add leadership as another minor. He regards his experience with the Taylor Leadership Institute (TLI) at UNF as one of the most life-changing opportunities he has had. He now partners with TLI’s director, Dr. Matthew Ohlson, to organize leadership workshop and hopes to expand the minor into an undergraduate major or master’s program. This program has also heavily influenced his professional desires, leading to a future vision of helping professionals find meaning in their desk jobs and re-discover their work-life balance.

In-between his myriad of pursuits, Nick still finds the time to do a daily run, weight-lift, read, and cook (he is always open for suggestions for the latter two). He also enjoys traveling, spending time with friends, and watching The Simpsons.


  • Featured Leadership Speaker at the Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Gilman Scholar
  • Eagle Scout
  • Phi Kappa Phi Member
  • CFA Society Ethics Invitational Presenter
  • National Merit Finalist

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