photo of students jumping for joy

Our Recent Graduates

The alumni of the Chinese Minor program graduated from various disciplines (Psychology, Economics, Computer Science, Justice Studies, Biology, etc.). Let’s see below how learning Chinese enriched their college life and how knowing Chinese gave them a competitive edge on the job market and enabled them to shine at work!

If you are Montclair State University Chinese Program alumni and not yet on our alumni email list, please contact!

My name is Jeff Sell. I graduated from Montclair in the fall of 2015 with a degree in Computer Science and a minor in Chinese. I love my field but my Chinese classes were always the most fun. Learning a critical language like Chinese is tricky but it doesn’t have to be a hard slog when you’re making friends in the process. Small class sizes and fun professors make all the difference in Montclair’s Chinese Minor program. You’ll learn to hold a conversation in a language spoken by billions around the world and you’ll also gain an insight into another culture and learn how the real China is much deeper than what you see on the news.

When you’re job hunting after graduation, you’ll find that having studied Chinese sets you apart. After graduation, I landed a job as a software engineer—a very competitive field—in part thanks to my knowledge of Chinese. A Chinese minor can set you apart from other candidates as a person with a flexible mind who isn’t afraid of challenges.

You don’t need to be a professional translator to use your language skills, either. Most recently, my knowledge came in handy when my company hosted an important guest: the biggest re-seller of our products in Asia. I got to put my Chinese skills to work for my company by translating some of our interfaces for him. The translation helped convince him that my company was doing everything possible to make our Chinese users’ experience as fluid as our domestic customers’. We won him over! Thanks in large part to my favorite professors at Montclair State!

My name is John Vincent Petipit and I graduated from Montclair State University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a minor in Chinese. Chinese culture has always been a fascination of mine ever since I was young. Chinese traditional culture is based on a couple thousand years of history. That combined with very little direct contact with the west until relatively recently makes learning about China a whole new adventure. Traditional Chinese culture also gives you insight into other countries through customs and ideas that were exported from China and took root in other parts of Asia. Modern China also adds another facet to China as a whole; exposure to the western world, the fall of the dynastic system through the republic era and into the current state of Chinese communism have all left a mark on the China that we see today.

The experience of going to Beijing in the summer of 2015 was an amazing experience. Seeing the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace were among the unforgettable experiences I got from that trip. Not only did I see the sights and improve my language skills, but it also improved my view and understanding of China. It is difficult to imagine being in a place with a very different political and cultural atmosphere from our own. Not only do you begin to appreciate China but the United States as well. You realize that regardless of our differences we are all the same, people all seek happiness and seeing this within the context of culture and politics was enlightening.

Without the Chinese program at Montclair State University, I would not have had these experiences. Having the opportunity to learn Mandarin is an opportunity I’m glad I did not miss, especially if you have a greater interest in Asian culture as a whole. Mandarin has a reputation of being almost unattainable, however Chinese has no conjugation, no tenses, no gender, no cases and no declensions. Everything is based on word order and, luckily, basic word order in Mandarin is the same as English SVO. Although certain aspects of Mandarin may be challenging, the professors are understanding and patient, they are willing to go at a pace appropriate for first-time learners.

Taking the time to learn Mandarin is definitely worth it, one experience I had at work was with a Chinese couple. They spoke no English but spoke to each other in what sounded like a different Chinese language. I decided to take the chance and asked in Chinese, “Are you Chinese?” The look on their faces was unforgettable, my Chinese is not perfect but you can tell that they were happy to have someone finally talk to them instead of at them. I appreciate everything I learned through the Chinese program at Montclair State and all the experiences and people I met through the program. I hope for an increased interest in the program, as understanding and sharing of cultures between east and west would greatly benefit both sides as well as our future.

My name is Dave Chou and I graduated from Montclair State University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and a minor in Chinese. Currently, I work as a software engineer at Syntel Inc.

The Chinese program at Montclair State is wonderful and has improved my Chinese skills significantly. I enjoyed going to Chinese classes very much. The professors were extremely helpful, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. I attended plenty of extra-curricular activities including class trips to Chinese restaurants. Besides, the Chinese program let me put my interests in music into use and I composed a song for the Chinese program to use as a background music on a Youtube video. It was an extremely happy and meaningful journey of my college years to be part of the Chinese Minor program.

I also had an amazing experience when I studied abroad in Beijing in August 2015. My trip was a total blast: I explored and experienced both ancient and contemporary Chinese culture at the capital and practiced speaking Chinese with the local people. I saw so many of China’s greatest sites such as the Summer Palace, the Great Wall and Tian’anmen Square and I made some great friends with awesome, open-minded individuals like myself whom I still talk to now. I would love to go again!

My name is Malcolm Simms. I have come a long way since I’ve graduated from Montclair State in 2015. My studies in Sociology, Business and Chinese Mandarin have been very useful in helping me land jobs in sales and marketing, business, and most recently, a career as a police officer. Throughout college I never thought that I would end up in law enforcement but, after graduating the academy December 14th 2017, I will never turn back. I enjoy taking on challenges, which is why being a police officer is the perfect career for me and also why I grew such an interest in the Chinese language and culture.

My language abilities developed tremendously at Montclair State. I was able to travel to Shanghai and study abroad for five weeks, where I successfully completed the international studies abroad program. I completed the Chinese minor within the first year it was implemented at Montclair State. I performed at the Chinese speech competition in New York and won an honorary prize (senior division). I have also performed rap in Chinese and danced at talent shows, weddings and the department language party at Montclair State. Thanks to the support of my instructors at Montclair, I continue to push myself forward and achieve great things.

I am currently a patrolman for the police department in Orange, NJ. My goal is to move up in rank or become a detective within the next few years but right now I’ve gotten my foot in the door. Ultimately my goal is to be in a position where I can utilize my Mandarin and continue to learn more, possibly working for the FBI in the future. Wherever my path takes me, I am eternally grateful for Professor Wing Shan Ho and the staff of the language department at Montclair State University.