We are composites of the people that we meet and the experiences that we have, and there is great value in taking time to assess and note these major life influencers. It is through others that we are inspired, and if we have been truly impacted, then we are obligated to pass the inspiration and example on to others.
Spanish Department Chair at Davidson College, Magdalena Maiz-Pena’s voice has echoed subconsciously in my head now since my first course with her in 2002, and it is a voice that I am sure will echo forever. Her passion for international humanitarianism could be felt in the air around her in her classroom. It vibrated in her gregariousness as she magically and dynamically engaged students in conversation on activism, cultural commonalities, and human rights. Maiz-Pena made me fall in love with the beauty and power of language. Her words and her compassion have forever changed me as a human being and greatly impacted my own understanding of the need for my voice in the world.
The best thing about inspiration is that we often don’t know the impact that we have. I am certain that Maiz-Pena has no idea to what extent she changed my life through just a few semesters of advanced Spanish Literature classes; I correlate even the ideas of the passion and impact I want my life to reflect to the memory of her intense enthusiasm and authenticity.
Our great inspirations deserve to know their impact. Share your gratitude with the great mentors who have changed you and always remember that you have incredible potential on a daily basis to unknowingly inspire others. The potency of Maiz-Pena’s enthusiasm was contagious enough to be unforgettable to me for the rest of my life; I will count myself blessed if I am able to embody even half of the enthusiasm for others that Maiz-Pena masterfully and magically does. Be inspired, take that inspiration, and be inspiring to others.