Two years ago, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Not only did she continue her studies, despite surgery and a long recovery, she forged ahead with a dream that involved physical demands and, above all, persistence. “Winning was the best feeling in the world, after all the hard work I’ve put in and all I’ve been through. I tried three times—and finally made it. It wasn’t easy.’
Swanson, 22, is studying psychology at URI. Two years ago, a friend urged her to compete in the Miss Rhode Island USA pageant, saying she looked like Olivia Culpo, who won the Miss Universe pageant in 2012 and is also a Cranston native. Swanson agreed, quickly overcoming her shyness.