posted Dec 3, 2009, 9:49 AM by Jeremy Poehnert   [ updated Jan 15, 2010, 7:02 PM ]
When I first moved to Massachusetts to become a VISTA I had no idea what to expect.  I didn't know the area, or anyone here.  I was lucky that I was able to work with an awesome group of VISTAs, and build some special relationships with them, but they were removed from my day to day work and life.  I was, then, even luckier to work with a really special person who became a friend and a mentor.

Brian worked in the same department I did, and was a friend and powerful influence.  He was incredibly nice, intelligent and insightful, and always encouraging, no matter how frustrating work might be.  He always had great ideas and suggestions.  Even more important, he modelled many of the professional traits and ethics that I live by today.  He always tried to do what was best for students, but he also understood when to confront them and how to set healthy boundaries.  He empowered students, but also created systems that kept programs running.  He was honest and responsible, always trying to do the best he could.  He was committed to being innovative, and his own professional development, constantly improving himself and his programs.

I was lucky to work with and know someone like Brian, who could be a supportive friend and also a professional role model.  His life hadn't been easy, and he struggled with his own issues, but he always worked hard and moved forward, and he was one of the most upstanding and all-around good people I've ever known.