The Center for Life Beyond Reed

Division of Student Services

Steve Swanson

Class year: 1984
Major: Mathematics
Company/organization: Elemental Technologies, Inc.
Job title: Principal Software Engineer
Company URL:

I would love to connect with students. In addition or instead of attending the Schmooze, I am available for one:one meetings during the weekend. Drop me an email and we'll arrange a time to meet. I arrive on Thursday.

How did you get where you are? (e.g., education, brief work history, mentors)

After building operating system software for a few years, I went back to school, got a PhD, and taught mathematics for a few years. When I couldn't find a permanent teaching job, I went back into software. This has transitioned from word processing to robotics and video imaging to video streaming.

At times, I have taken on technical management roles.

This journey has brought me back to Portland...I work downtown.

What lessons have you learned along the way that you'd like to pass on to current Reed students?

Do a good job and make yourself invaluable. Even if your current company goes under, there will always be work to do, and good references and word-of-mouth will help you find it.

In what ways you think you can help Reed students?

I can critique resumes and/or career plans. (But this is only in the narrow realm of mathematics/software that I've been involved in.)

What else should students know about you? (e.g., volunteer engagement, avocations, interests)

I am the company team captain for the Bike Commute Challenge, I rock climb, I write reviews of mathematical articles.