In celebration of a fervent commitment to the study of world languages, Chestnut Hill Chestnut is proud to be the recipient of the 2021 Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association (PSMLA) Merit Award. Given annually, this award recognizes the dedication of individuals and institutions who have provided exceptional service in promoting and supporting the study of world languages both inside and outside of the classroom.
“PSMLA values the relationship it has with Chestnut Hill College,” said John Grande, President of PSMLA when announcing the award. “The faculty have a passion for what they do, and they do it well. The level of support they have provided PSMLA, as well as world language professionals in our state, is incomparable.”
Since the beginning, Chestnut Hill College has always stressed the importance of the study of world languages, cultures, and global societies. One of the early goals of a CHC education, proficiency in world language, continues to be a hallmark of the College’s mission and foundation today.
“It has been so important to us to maintain a strong language program,” said Sister Mary Helen Kashuba, D.M.L., professor of French and Russian at CHC. “We live in a global society where the understanding of others is paramount. The study of language allows us to learn to think critically and explore cultures and sensibilities. Understanding world languages is the first step to being able to understand and appreciate different cultures and values throughout the world.”
CHC’s longest-tenured faculty member now having taught at the College for 58+ years, Sister Mary Helen has been a staple of the world and foreign language program for decades. Under her leadership, CHC has embraced relationships with many world language societies including the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF), the Modern Language Association of Philadelphia and Vicinity (MLAPV), and the Philadelphia Area Spanish Educators (PASE) to name a few. Including PSMLA, the College has hosted meetings for all of these associations, which have used CHC as a regional home base of sorts. As Sister Mary Helen notes, “language teachers in the state have come to think of Chestnut Hill as synonymous with world languages.”
Striving for a more unified global society as expressed in the College’s mission statement, Sister Mary Helen and the other dedicated and exceptional faculty within the foreign language department have been instrumental in broadening the horizons of students over the years. And while the faculty seek nothing more than to share their ‘love of the languages,’ the recognition by PSMLA is certainly a testament to a job well done.
“It tells us we’re on the right track, that we are recognized beyond just Chestnut Hill, and beyond just Philadelphia,” Sister Mary Helen says. “It is truly an honor.”
- Marilee Gallagher '14