Matt Swanhorst: Sports, Engineering and Music

By Bob Grimson
September 3, 2013

Neighbors sparked Matt Swanhorst into considering Bradley. They weren’t alumni or supporters, but a 2008 Fiske Guide at their home listed top engineering schools and led Swanhorst to check out the Hilltop.

Matt’s List of Favorites 

  • Favorite musicals — Les Miserables, The Secret Garden, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat
  • Favorite music — “It depends on my mood.”
  • Favorite reading material — Scientific journals, and the book House and Philosophy, based on the TV show.
  • Favorite movie — Inception “because it really got me thinking.”
  • Favorite sports team/athlete — None in particular. “If there’s a game on, I pretty much enjoy watching any sport.”
  • Favorite school subject —  “I like a wide variety of school subjects. Anything that is complex interests me.” 

“I really had no idea where I wanted to go, but I knew I wanted to go into engineering,” Swanhorst explained about choosing to major in mechanical engineering.

Leaving the nation’s capital for the Midwest doesn’t faze him. He even stayed a night after orientation to attend a Peoria Chiefs minor league baseball game. “That was fun. It will be a change but a good change,” Swanhorst said. 

A person of varied interests, Swanhorst played football and was a member of a state-champion tennis team. He also participated in school musicals after becoming involved with music in third grade. After being away from chorus in sixth grade, he vowed to “never leave music alone since then.”

“I really like understanding other people’s philosophies,” he commented. “Finding out how they think allows me to think more about how the world works and reflect on myself. I review my life and then think about what I did and how it affects others.”

Since his father is a civil engineer, Swanhorst grew up with an engineering influence: “I went to construction sites with my dad, so I became interested in building things.” He spent the past summer helping with an elementary school science course through his high school’s STEM outreach program.

Swanhorst intends to play intramurals and become involved in music and theatre at Bradley. “I hope to inspire others to achieve the highest they can,” he said. “I’ve had many experiences, but I realize there’s so much ahead of me I can’t even fathom.”