For Kaitlin Hoesch, ’10, Montclair State University is more than an alma mater: it’s a family tradition. Kaitlin’s mother Lisa graduated from Montclair State College in 1983 with a degree in Marketing and her sister Jaclyn graduated from Montclair State University in 2006 with degrees in International Business and French. With that kind of Montclair pedigree, we know she’s destined for greatness. We caught up with the recent grad to find out what she’s been doing since leaving the Red Hawk’s nest.
CHSS: What have you been up to since graduating from Montclair State?
KH: After graduating in January 2010, I moved to Washington, DC. I am currently the Executive Administrator and Special Projects Manager for the Pentagon Memorial Fund. We are in the beginning stages of planning and constructing the 9/11 Pentagon Visitor Education Center across from the Pentagon and 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. I really love what I am doing and feel very fortunate to be a part of this project and organization.
CHSS: You majored in French Translation and minored in German. What drove you to pursue study in modern languages?
KH: I knew I wanted to pursue foreign language study while in high school, and French had been what I studied the longest. I loved everything about writing, literature, languages, and different cultures, and I really wanted to use my time in college to open my mind to all there was to learn through studying languages (secret: the learning never ends – that’s the best part!). I started at Montclair State in 2005 and immediately began my French Translation major requirement courses, picking up Italian courses and a German minor along the way.
CHSS: You’ve pursued a career that is not necessarily related to the major you studied in CHSS. How do you feel your time in CHSS has helped you since graduating?
KH: I chose my current path because I felt I needed to experience and grow professionally in other areas while still keeping my love of foreign languages and global communication close to me. In unexpected and delightful ways, I have used my language skills and so many other things I learned through studying languages. For example, I started a blog to channel my love of writing and my love of endurance racing. I have always said that my study of foreign languages has helped me learn so much more than I could have ever anticipated about my native language.
Most importantly, studying languages taught me how to learn and it taught me patience (it’s not a quick process). I have carried those lessons with me through every new challenge and unknown and it’s given me great confidence when faced with something I don’t know. It made me see things as falling in one of two categories: “What I know” and “What I don’t know…yet.”
CHSS: What is your favorite Montclair State memory?
KH: Only one favorite memory? That’s tough! But spending two beautiful summers studying in the Mediterranean (Sicily ’06 and Nice ’08) were the moments associated with Montclair State and studying languages that are most ingrained in my memory, for sure. The professors, the students, the places and culture, the food, the experiences—how can you compete with all of that? The first time I went abroad, I went to Taormina, Sicily, with the most wonderful group of people I could ever imagine. Having only a basic knowledge of Italian at the time, it was the most dynamic and single-most significant time in my life. I grew in so many important ways: mentally, emotionally, intellectually.
CHSS: Do you have any advice for current CHSS students?
KH: First, enjoy the process! Second, if you love something enough, as I still love learning and exploring foreign languages and cultures, it will find its way back into your life. Oftentimes, the way it comes back into your life is not the way you may think it will or should—but it’s certainly no less meaningful or fulfilling. It is not always easy to envision your post-college options while you are still doing the bulk of your studying, so when you can, volunteer or pursue internships that will allow you to see what you like and what you don’t like. I think the biggest and best surprise after college was to find that there are jobs that you may not even realize exist, but that can be an incredible fit for who you are as a person and the skills you possess thanks to your field of study and the experiences you had at Montclair State.