Heather Swanson, 33, was awarded a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, June 14.

Swanson, a 1997 Astoria High School graduate, was an intern and columnist for The Daily Astorian in 1997 to 1998.

Swanson’s dissertation focused on the history and politics of salmon fisheries management in Hokkaido, Japan.

To complete her research, Swanson lived and studied in Japan for more than three years. Her interest in salmon began when she participated in Astoria High School’s salmonid biology courses and worked at the school’s onsite fish hatchery.

As an undergraduate anthropology major at Princeton University, she completed an award-winning bachelor’s thesis on salmon in the Columbia River basin.

From 2001 to 2004, Swanson worked as the education coordinator of the now-defunct Sea Resources Watershed Learning Center in Chinook, Wash., and taught environmental science classes for elementary and middle school students in Astoria.

Beginning in September, Swanson will work as an assistant professor at Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark.

Swanson is the daughter of John and Jan Swanson of Lake Oswego, formerly of Astoria.

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