Rachel Wetzsteon, a phenomenal poet who had an ease and grace with words like no other, was my first creative writing teacher at William Paterson University and most likely the reason I ended up pursuing writing as a career.
I met her in the earlier part of the decade (I can't remember the year). The way she approached writing and fostered the creativity of her students was like nothing I'd ever experienced. Though my major was in communication, I took two of her writing classes as electives to fulfill my degree requirements, because I loved her teaching style and approach to writing.
At that time in my life, I had abandoned any inclination I'd had previously as a writer/author of fiction. My path was centered on journalism and editing, not creative writing or literature. Her enthusiasm for poetry and the written word was stunning (and I am in no way a fan of poetry). She introduced me to the concept of the writing workshop and taught me to channel emotion and perspective into words and form.