by Kim Wall
Hugh Meadows graduated from Milford High School in 2010 and took three years off from school before figuring out what he wanted to do with his life.
Considering a career in nursing, Meadows decided to get his Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA) certification and began working in geriatric care. Going back to the classroom for the LNA re-ignited his interest in learning.
“I was surprised by how much I enjoyed being back in the classroom,” Meadows said.
Soon after getting his LNA, he enrolled in classes at Nashua Community College and began working full-time in a nursing home. He later moved and transferred to Manchester Community College, where he graduated with an associate degree in liberal arts.
Working with patients who had memory loss and dementia, and their families, had a profound impact on Meadows.
“What I saw was the immense stress and devastation Alzheimer’s and memory loss causes the family,” Meadows said. “I also saw a side I don’t think a lot of people see – the joyful moments and the reminders that there is a person behind the illness.”
It’s this experience that inspired Meadows to continue his education.
“I want to research the neuropsychology, biology and psychology behind memory loss and what we can do to improve the lives of people with the disease and the people around them,” Meadows said.
With that career trajectory in mind, he transferred to the University of New Hampshire at Manchester in 2016 to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
“The Manchester campus is highly respected as part of UNH,” says Meadows. “I was accepted to a few colleges and the cost to go to UNH Manchester was so much lower than the others. I pay to go to college on my own, so cost definitely influenced my decision.”
This spring he is doing an internship with the New Hampshire Institute of Art to learn about higher education management, leadership and community building. Community building and the support they provide is another area of interest to Meadows. Having attended three colleges, Meadows says he didn’t feel that he was part of a community until he came to UNH Manchester.
“I feel as though I’m part of a nurturing community of people who are directed toward the future and their goals,” says Meadows. “I’m interested in learning more about how to build this type of community. To build a community that enriches the city and the environment they live in.”
Meadows graduates in May 2018 and plans to pursue a research position at Brigham and Women’s Hospital or Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. His long-term goal is to earn a master’s degree as well as a Ph.D. and focus his career on research.
“We spend so much of our lives working. I want to be in a position where the work I do doesn’t only benefit me, but the work and hours of my labor benefit other people,” Meadows said. “Working in research and developing solutions to problems in our lives would be something I would be proud of doing.”
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