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Montclair Faculty Earn Inaugural MLA Pathways Step Grant

Team of humanities faculty earns prestigious award to define career pathways in modern languages

Posted in: Humanities and Social Sciences, Press Releases

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A team of Montclair State University faculty is one of 19 groups nationwide to earn an inaugural “Pathways Step Grant” as part of a new initiative undertaken by the Modern Language Association (MLA).

Funded by the Mellon Foundation and housed under the MLA’s new Pathways: Recruitment, Retention, and Career Readiness initiative, the grants provide up to $10,000 to support faculty members with the development of new structures, programs and resources that bolster the recruitment, retention and career readiness of undergraduate students, especially students of color, first-generation college students and Pell Grant recipients.

Led by Professor of World Languages and Cultures Elizabeth Emery, the Montclair team – which also includes faculty members Kathleen Loysen, Wing Shan Ho, Thomas Herold, Enza Antenos and Pascale LaFountain – will use the funds to develop a cocurricular career resources hub, which will offer tools for defining career pathways for students in modern languages.

The recipients of Pathways Step Grants will present their projects at the 2025 MLA Annual Convention, to be held in January of 2025.

“We are honored and delighted to have been selected for a MLA Pathways grant,” says Emery. “The funding will support the construction of new resources, like a language careers calculator to help students understand how best to hone and leverage their language skills in the workplace, and improve communication with partners on campus and in local communities. We are particularly excited to improve the career prospects of multilingual students in New Jersey, a state in which more than 200 languages and dialects are spoken.”

Montclair offers a diverse range of programs spanning 13 languages – Arabic, ASL, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. In addition to language study, students focus on the business practices, journalism, technology, health care, literature, cinema, music, art, cuisine and other cultural aspects of the countries in which these languages are spoken. They can major, minor or even double-major in individual languages, in translation studies or in Montclair’s bachelor’s in Language, Business and Culture program.

“Our World Languages and Cultures faculty are a dynamic and talented group who care deeply about the well-being and future success of our students,” says College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean Peter Kingstone. “This project is a critical part of our effort to help students choose to study languages and see its value in the workplace.”

For more information on World Languages and Cultures at Montclair State University, visit