Education and career
Swanson is originally from the former Yugoslavia, in what is now Slovenia, and was attracted to mathematics from a very young age. She came to the US as an exchange student in Tooele, Utah in her last year of high school. There, she became interested in Reed College, the alma mater of her host mother, and applied only to Reed for her undergraduate studies. She is a 1987 graduate of Reed, with an undergraduate thesis on functional analysis.
She went to Purdue University for graduate study, completing her Ph.D. in mathematics in 1992. Her dissertation, Tight Closure, Joint Reductions, And Mixed Multiplicities, was supervised by Craig Huneke. After postdoctoral research at the University of Michigan, she joined the faculty at New Mexico State University, and moved from there back to Reed in 2005.
With her advisor, Craig Huneke, Swanson is the author of the book Integral Closure of Ideals, Rings, and Modules (Cambridge University Press, 2006). She is currently an Associate Editor for the Journal of Commutative Algebra.
Swanson is also a creator of mathematical quilts, and is the inventor of a quilting technique, "tube piecing", for making quilts more efficiently.
Swanson was included in the 2019 class of fellows of the American Mathematical Society "for contributions to commutative algebra, exposition, service to the profession and mentoring". In 2018 she was awarded a Fulbright-NAWI Graz Fellowship to work at the University of Graz in Austria.
- Best, Katelyn (March 2016), "The Geometry of Quilting: Prof. Irena Swanson '87 adds a new twist to a mathematical art form", Reed Magazine, Reed College, vol. 95 no. 1, retrieved 2018-11-08
- "Irena Swanson", Women in Maths, June 1, 2016
- "Irena Swanson '87", Faculty Profiles, Reed College, retrieved 2018-11-08
- Irena Swanson at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
- Reviews of Integral Closure of Ideals, Rings, and Modules:
- Some of Irena Swanson's mathematics-related quilts, retrieved 2018-11-08. See also Swanson, Irena (2011), "Quilting Semiregular Tessellations", in belcastro, sarah-marie; Yackel, Carolyn (eds.), Crafting by Concepts: Fiber Arts and Mathematics, A K Peters / CRC Press, ISBN 9781568814353
- 2019 Class of the Fellows of the AMS, American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2018-11-08
- "Irena Swanson | Fulbright Scholar Program". www.cies.org. Retrieved 2018-11-19.