I am an Assistant Professor working with students in my chosen specialty area and at the degree levels that fit my experience and fulfill me greatly all because of Penny Weismuller. I first met Penny in Fall of 2008 when she was my project advisor in the final year of my MSN program. From this first interaction, I was deeply impressed by Penny's commitment to student success…to my success. We had an instant rapport and I knew that this relationship was something special that I needed to take seriously. Rather than steer me to an easier path, Penny encouraged and helped me to dig deep and successfully conduct a small qualitative study. I was amazed that I did it, I felt triumphant and to this day I wish I would have listened to her and tried to publish that work.
As a DNP student I had the great fortune of working with Penny once again as she guided, nudged (and sometimes shoved) me toward the successful completion of my project and movement into my new career as faculty. With her help I was able to publish as a first-time author and win a prestigious writing award. I doubt I would have experienced many of the successes I have had so quickly or seamlessly had I not had the advantage of watching my great mentor demonstrate the behaviors and actions required to be productive and successful. My new saying is that I am channeling my inner Penny. I am watching her closely so that someday I can mentor students as successfully as she has. Like all good mentors, Penny does not take her responsibility as a mentor lightly. She feels invested in the success of her students and mentees. Penny empowered me to develop my strengths, beliefs, and personal attributes. Her greatest skill is helping students, and colleagues, figure out what they need to make decisions and complete projects. I have witnessed her comfort a distraught student and counsel an under-performing student, with compassion, gentility and firmness, displayed almost simultaneously. Students seem to leave with a feeling of being supported, while understanding the consequences. Most recently I have observed Penny expertly fulfill her role as DNP Consortium Coordinator, in the face of scrutiny, upheaval and change with composure and kindness. Penny has demonstrated a tireless dedication to the program and the students. She comes in on the weekends and talks to students late into the night. She is a mentor who always makes herself available. I know that a good mentor is hard to find and I count myself as very lucky to have met Penny. She has profoundly influenced my future and practice. I only hope that one day, students will see me as I see her. Penny is a mentor and a guide who has had a great an impact on the future of the nurses with whom she has come in contact and the profession of nursing as a whole.