Justin Poisson '18: What PBK Means to Me


Wednesday, February 28, 2018
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Justin Poisson in Nice, France

Justin Poisson '18 is a senior who was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in May of 2017, as a junior.

Academically speaking, I wasn’t really the highest performing student in high school. Growing up with my mom as a middle school teacher, there was (very) often a voice in my ear gently reminding me to study or to make sure that ALL of my homework was done. At the time, I needed those check-ins and reminders. When I came to UNH though, something changed. I took it upon myself to really take stock in how I wanted my future to look. Grades and studying  became more important as did seeking out professors during office hours and reviewing concepts on my own. Through all that I found myself becoming more driven and intrinsically motivated.

In my freshman year I made a plan. Having switched from my original major of biology to undeclared in the College of Liberal Arts, it was time to finally decide on a path. I elected to enter into Paul College and major in Economics while also persuing a dual major of International Affairs. Because I’d been an avid language learner since 6th grade I knew that was something I needed to continue, so I’ve since completed all necessary courses to add Spanish and French minors to my degree as well. The international component of all this enabled me to spend four months in France and an additional six weeks in Costa Rica in the Spring and Summer of 2017. I was able to take classes in the target languages, travel all over Europe and Central America and I’m now able to call a 95 year old host grandmother a friend.

It’s such an honor to have been given entry into Phi Beta Kappa because inherently, it includes a degree of appreciation and recognition but it also provides the ability to become part of a community of both UNH and global scholars. I’m very humbled to be a part of this organization and I know being a member will remind me of the importance of academic pursuit and staying curious.

—Justin Poisson