Have you ever bought shoes? Yes, you have. And what happens when you buy cheap ones? The sole falls apart. Stick to quality and your soul will stay together.
*This doesn’t apply to stilettos.
Parker Callahan started playing piano at age seven. When he was in 7th grade, a middle school music teacher introduced him to George Gershwin’s piece, “Rhapsody in Blue.” “And thank god”, he says, “Otherwise I would still be listening to disco and Destiny’s Child.” The rest is history in the making.
The phrase, “It was not meant to be” is how Parker first described his path to UNH. “Everyone in my family went to the same university. UNH was my first musical audition, as a test school, but it changed my mind. Everyone was so friendly and it was such a comfortable atmosphere and campus. It was really beautiful.” Since that audition, Parker has used humor, hard work, and his interest in connecting with others to shape his college experience.
Originally from central Massachusetts, Parker knew that music was his life from an early age. When he got to campus in the fall of his freshman year, Parker was struck by the people and their attitudes on life. Not only did he love working with the faculty members within the Music department, such as Chris and Arlene Kies, but he immediately felt empowered to get involved on campus. During the first week of the semester, Parker auditioned for the improv comedy group Improv Anonymous, and made the cut. A few months later, he knew he wanted to be a Resident Assistant. Fast forward three years and Parker is serving as the Undergraduate Assistant Hall Director in largest residence hall at UNH.
Connectedness and responsibility define how Parker views his world. From day one, Parker has been able to see the bigger picture and connect his experiences and get things done. Whether it’s through music, comedy, academic achievement, serving as a Student Fellow for the College of Liberal Arts, working within communities in Residential Life, working with gifted high school students as a Hall Director for the summer program Project SMART, working as an Orientation leader and Senior Staff Member to welcome new UNH students to campus, or teaching piano lessons and composing music for acapella groups on campus, Parker has used his abilities to leave his mark here at UNH . The connecting thread of all of these experiences is Parker’s genuine interest and care for fellow community members.
Parker credits his family and Tina Fey as inspirations to succeed. Having older siblings always gave him an understanding of what was to come and what markers identified success. “All of my family has been very involved in everything. My parents instilled in us the ability to take advantage of every opportunity and make it the best it can be no matter what; valuing and cherishing every experience you are able to have.”
Work ethic, humor, compassion and human interest have shaped his four years at UNH, as well as set him on his path for the future. Upon graduation, Parker will be spending a year of service in Chicago working with the Episcopal Service Corps, a group that promotes social justice in communities by providing service to underprivileged groups. “I wanted to do a year of service. It was really important as a starting point where service is the focus so I can incorporate that into everything I do. What I want to do is in performance and comedy which doesn’t sound like it has many opportunities for service on the surface. Chicago is the comedy capital of America and I wanted a way to combine the two.”
It’s all about the people when Parker looks back on his time at UNH. Of course, he will remember the beautiful campus and the high quality faculty members with whom he worked, but the best way to describe his time here is through Improv Anonymous. “ Improv is the microcosm of a lot of things; friendships, hardwork, absolute joys, all of the things you experience in college wrapped up in a student organization. In ten years? Maybe it’s not something that I will be doing but how I will be feeling while I do it. I want to feel fulfilled and bring joy into other people’s lives. I also want to be a motocross star.”
It's hard to have a conversation with Parker Callahan that doesn't include laughter. To him, laughter is a key part of life. As he prepares to graduate with a degree in Music Composition, he knows the opportunities that he has had at UNH have helped him find his own voice, not only as a composer but as a leader and a community member. True to his light-hearted character and views on connecting all experiences, Parker offers the following advice to students:
“Don’t be nervous to take an opportunity that you don’t think is applicable to you because it will be applicable to you. And don’t talk in class- unless you’re talking to yourself because you are probably coming up with a good joke.”