On Their Way: Page 4 of 6
Andrew Minigan '14
Trying out for “funniest man on campus” was on Andrew Minigan’s bucket list, and being a persistent and orderly person, he got it done.
“I was so nervous before,” says Minigan ’14, a psychology major from Beverly, Mass. “This was just an annual competition they have on campus, but it’s tough! I have even more respect for stand-up comedians now. Still it was kind of neat to be out of my comfort zone.”
By comparison, Minigan anticipated that presenting at the Undergraduate Research Conference would be much easier.
Toward the end of his sophomore year, Minigan knew that he wanted to pursue research and after talking with graduate students and professors in the psych department, he found an opportunity to work with Professor David Pillemer. Soon Minigan was deep into the memory research that Pillemer is so well known for.
During his junior year, Minigan worked closely on a research project with Kristina Steiner, a graduate student in psychology along with Pillemer and Dorthe Kirkegaard Thomsen, a scholar from Denmark’s Aarhus University. Last year, Steiner published the academic paper, “The reminiscence bump in older adults’ life story transitions,” in the journal Memory, a study Minigan coauthored.
The paper had strong popular appeal and was covered by major national and international news outlets.
The study found that there was an overrepresentation of major life transitions recalled by older adults that occurred during late adolescence and early adulthood—what’s called a reminiscence bump.
“Older adults frequently recall two major transitional events—getting married and becoming a parent, among other culturally significant life events. These are personal stories people may remember throughout their lives,” says Minigan.
Minigan was motivated to implement his own study during his senior year. “I decided to study Catholic priests who do not necessarily share those typical life experiences,” says Minigan. “I wondered what experiences are salient to them and at what age do those events occur?”
“I kind of like the finicky nature of research and the amount of detail and care it takes,” says Minigan.
Next year, Minigan will pursue his master’s degree in education with a focus in human development and psychology at Harvard University. Yet as Minigan reflects on his time at UNH, he notes that “it wasn’t just ‘here’s a degree’. They really equipped me for the next steps. I will miss all the people here who helped shape me and were a part of my experience at the university.”