Denise Swanson, Data Manager
Denise Swanson manages the organization, cataloguing, and updating of research materials for BRT. She also maintains the BRT Projects website and works closely with faculty and staff in the production and management of research-oriented documents and assessment materials.
Denise came to BRT in 1991 after a career as a seasonal Park Interpreter with the U. S. Park Service, U. S. Forest Service, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Army Corps of Engineers, and the Illinois Department of Conservation. She graduated from Southern Illinois University with a B.S. in Recreation (emphasis in Outdoor Education).
August 26, 2016
Denise Swanson, BRT’s most senior employee, was one of only five people campus-wide to be awarded a 2016 Classified Star award in recognition of her outstanding service to the University of Oregon.
The Classified Star awards are presented by the Classified Staff Training and Development Advisory Committee in partnership with the Office of the President and Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and are intended to recognize classified employees who go “above and beyond” in their work at the UO.
Denise’s nomination emphasized her leadership role in supporting a positive work environment in BRT as well as her long-standing contributions to the wider UO community through her service to the women’s basketball team and the care with which she helps ensure the BRT offices and the campus as a whole reflect positively on the University. “Denise is focused on doing her job really well and is always willing to step in to help on projects. She is my go-to person when it comes to getting detailed projects that require a lot of coordination done,” explained BRT Co-Director Julie Alonzo. “But what makes Denise really stand out is that she is also deeply concerned with making sure the work environment is supportive and positive. Whether it’s organizing a birthday celebration, hosting a baby shower, helping someone move, or rallying the troops to support other members of the BRT team when they are in need, Denise is always front and center, going above and beyond to help make BRT a really special place to work.”
In the decades in which she has worked for BRT, Denise has worn many hats, all of them well. Before online assessment became the norm, she was responsible for creating scan sheets to support three local school districts in their three-times-a-year assessment of all K-8 students in reading and mathematics and processing the students’ answer sheets quickly and accurately each fall, winter, and spring. When the easyCBM assessment system began to be offered to districts outside the local area, she headed up customer support for years, and she is still an integral part of the customer support team. Most recently, she has accepted the challenge of developing and maintaining websites for her research unit, including the main BRTProjects.org website, which provides an important introduction to the work being conducted.
“Denise is the GOAT [‘greatest of all time’],” enthused Research Assistant Professor Joseph Nese. “She always goes the extra mile to support everyone, both inside and outside the office.”
Research Associate Shawn Irvin added, “She’s simply an amazing colleague and friend—one of the best people at UO or anywhere else.”