One of my students, a woman I had in my U.S. survey course the very first term I was in Michigan and then had in two other courses in years following, won a seat in the state house.
Like many of our students, she was not a traditional student. She was older. She was a nurse. She wanted so much from college. She was always one of my most enthusiastic students, intensely following every discussion and lecture, but also one of the most tentative, at least at first. I pushed her and pushed her in her writing and discussions to take a stand, defend her points, make an argument and it has been a joy to see her lose that tentativeness, a process that has resulted in her election to the house.
I wrote her a few lines of congratulations and she responded with the most generous e-mail. It made me cry. She told me not only how she felt inspired by my classes but played back through the various topics we had covered and how they had helped her stay motivated and talk to her now-constituents during the campaign. And then she closed with this:
You made a huge difference in my life and I hope to do the same for other women.
Today is a good day to be a professor. Lesia, you rock! Do good things!