Warner School of Education

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Dena Swanson

Dena Swanson

Associate Professor
Counseling & Human Development

LeChase Hall 492
Office Phone: (585) 273-3341
Fax: 486-1159


PhD, Emory University (educational/developmental psychology)
MEd, Georgia State University (counseling/rehabilitation)
BA, Emory University (psychology)

Dena Phillips Swanson joined the faculty in 2005 in the human development program. An experienced counselor, researcher, and teacher, Swanson's experiences, teaching, and research reflect a commitment to adolescents and the environments that shape them, with a special interest in schools, as well as the development of minority adolescents and their families.

Swanson's research focuses on adolescent identity processes, school experiences, and the impact of adult relations on youth's adaptive behaviors. This work, supported by several funded projects while teaching at Pennsylvania State University, is relevant in identifying appropriate strategies and opportunities for adolescents' successful transition into adulthood. Swanson has co-authored articles in such journals as Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, Journal of Negro Education, Development and Psychopathology, and Journal of Comparative Family Studies.

Swanson, a Holmes Scholar, was a postdoctoral fellow and co-director of the Center for Health, Achievement, Neighborhood Growth and Ethnic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania prior to joining Pennsylvania State University as an assistant professor. She also has experience as a rehabilitation counselor and a teen parent counselor.


In the News


ED406 Master's Research Methods
ED425 Minority Youth Development in Urban Contexts
ED429 Theories of Human Development
EDU470 Multicultural Perspectives in Counseling
ED481 School, Family, and Community Relations
ED523 Mixed Research Methods
EDU557 Selected Theories of Human Development
EDU563 Advocacy, Consulting, and Systems Change as Counseling and Human Development Practice