When Lishberny Alcantara '20 came to Salem State in fall 2016, she didn’t think studying abroad would ever be possible. By spring 2019, Lishberny found herself immersed in the culinary hub of Florence, Italy—an invaluable learning opportunity for the aspiring restaurant owner. She credits scholarship support with making this experience—and her entire college career—possible.
“Scholarships allowed me to work less so that I could focus more on academics and not worry as much about finances,” says Lishberny, who graduated with a 3.97 grade point average. “As a result, I was able to study abroad, which was amazing and probably the best experience I’ve ever had. I hold sincere gratitude for all that the scholarship donors have afforded me.”
She feels indebted to the philanthropists who established the Barbara Ann Sogoloff Scholarship and the Richard W. Webbe & Alumni Plaza Scholarship—critical funds that fueled her Salem State experience. These awards enabled Lishberny to graduate debt free, which provides her with some financial security after job loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She was to begin working as an assistant manager at a wedding venue, which remains closed indefinitely because of the pandemic. However, she remains optimistic. “Everything happens when it’s supposed to happen,” Lishberny says.
Ultimately, Lishberny hopes to run her own restaurant. “I would like to open a Dominican-Italian style restaurant because these are my two favorite ethnic foods,” she explains. “I love pasta and Dominican food. Growing up, I would reinvent leftovers and create something new and tasty. The kitchen has always been fun for me to experiment and be creative.”