“I don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. If you say no, I’ll find another way.”
When Greg Whalen says he wanted to come to UNH, he means it. Greg applied three times to the UNH Whittemore School of Business before he was finally admitted. When he applied the first time and was denied while in high school, he moved to Durham from New Jersey anyway. He found an apartment on Garrison Ave through a classified ad and began taking classes through the Continuing Education program at UNH. He took 11 credits a semester and classes in the summertime. He applied to UNH for the second time. He was denied. So Greg stepped it up a notch – he became a New Hampshire resident, continued to take classes, and then applied again for the spring. Again, he was denied. By the time Greg’s junior year had rolled around, he had been denied three times. What made him try that one last time? Greg says that he had memories with his family, growing up and spending time in NH, hiking Mt. Washington, and talking with people who had great ideas and who were passionate about politics. It was just where he wanted to be. “I see Thompson Hall as this building that is the pedestal of heaven. I look at UNH as a heavenly school, and New Hampshire as the Northern most point in Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a Dream speech’,” Greg says. “I feel like Thompson Hall goes up into the sky and I just look up at it. When I graduate, I feel like I’m going to be on top of T-Hall, looking down.”
The next begins when Greg was accepted at UNH, but it doesn’t end there – it turns into a “create your own adventure”. First, Greg met Professor Sheila McNamee through Introduction to Communication and was hooked. He developed a great relationship with Professor McNamee and her husband. He loved the small classes he could actively participate in. “I love to participate,” he says. “That’s how I learn.” Greg initiated an idea within the Communication Department to give students an opportunity to have a business application option in marketing.
In addition to his academic endeavors, Greg made time for a personal passion: yoga. Initially, he attended yoga classes twice a week at UNH. The instructor, Ruth Abelmann, suggested that Greg begin teaching yoga in Congreve Hall where he was a resident assistant. So Greg started his yoga instructor career in the lounge of Congreve every Monday and Wednesday night. Word traveled and with each passing week, the crowd grew larger and Greg found himself switching up the class, making it more intense, trying new poses.
In Greg’s less relaxed time, he became a campus representative for Apple Computers. On a whim, he applied online to be a “marketing guru” and was accepted. “I worked with the UNH computer store and set up events,” Greg says. “We teamed up with Nike and developed a successful program.” That successful program you may have seen on campus: sneakers that link to your Ipod Nano. Greg spearheaded this initiative and brought the product to the UNH campus. “I contacted Nike and let them know who I was,” he says. “I told them I had a perfect location for their product.” Nike brought the van with computers, speakers, music and display – Greg provided the venue.
After such a successful experience, Greg decided to “shoot for the stars”, in his words. He applied for an internship at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California. He was told it was never going to happen – the internship was just too competitive. This time Greg only had to apply once; he got the internship. He spent the summer before his senior year in a highly coveted spot in the computer industry, working for Apple Computers. Greg worked on a research project involving the new “One on One” program, consulting and aiming to improve this new initiative which helps Apple owners to better understand their product. One highlight was supervising crowd control at a WW developer conference and making his way to the front row where he had a close up view of his idol, Steve Jobs.
The connections Greg made that summer were priceless - when he graduates this May, Greg plans to move to California and find work in marketing. What else does Greg see in his future? Travel for sure – he says, “You never know. You could call me in a few years, and I could be in Fiji.”