My professor and mentor died on 9/11 after a 17 year battle with breast cancer. She was an incredible person--strong, smart, inspiring. One of her assets was her beautiful voice. Her lectures were always interesting to listen to, not just because of the content, but because of her delivery. She was a very demanding teacher, but if you earned her approval, she gave it gladly. Her words of encouragement were so precious to me. Since I was making such a dramatic career change, I often second-guessed my abilities. She called me over after the first class I had taken from her and told me how much she had enjoyed having me as a student. I then took a seminar class on literacy with her later that summer; that class solidified my interest in literacy and language.
I knew that she was starting a huge new study, and asked if I could work for her. She agreed, and the next year I was given the opportunity of a lifetime. Working on her study, which was a national study in collaboration with two other universities, I learned so much about research, language disorder testing, and how to create therapy materials. She even gave me an opportunity to lecture to her class about it!
When I started looking for a job, she gave me a recommendation that was so generous that people commented on it. I feel I owe so much of my early career to her support.
I like to think her legacy will live forever in the students like me she sent out in the world to care for the children who will be the future of the world. I will miss her.