08/08/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Professor Revisits, Reconsiders Plagiarism Case In Essay

She was a bright-faced first year from Hawaii, one of the more alert students in the writing class I was teaching at a university in the middle of Texas, a refreshing curiosity because of where she was from; she had opinions and could share them in class, and, as far as I could tell, was a decent writer. I never figured her as someone who was going to play me for a fool. She was a plagiarist. The first one I caught. The only one I punished.

Six years later, I got a magazine assignment to write about the lives of cheaters. No longer a professor, I tracked her down. How had her plagiarism resonated in her life?

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