Skip to main content

Graduating Scholar Highlight: Jessinia Molinari '24

As Jessinia Molinari ’24, an English major, reaches the finish line of graduation at Salem State University, she reflects on all that she has learned here. Being a first-generation college student working full-time as she juggles school, it hasn’t been an easy road for Jessinia. But with the help of dedicated professors, caring staff and vital financial aid, she has found success.

Seeing her friends in high school apply to big schools like Duke and University of Chicago, Jessinia hesitated at first in deciding to apply. However, there were many factors that ultimately led to her deciding to become a Viking.

In the sixth grade, Jessinia visited Salem State on a class trip and fondly remembers the campus tour and exploring the woods near South Campus. At that point, she hadn’t thought at all about college, but remembers thinking, “Wow, that’s awesome. You get to come here and learn.”

As it came closer to making her college decision, her good memories of Salem State coupled with the financial package she received made it the better choice for her, and one that she doesn’t regret making.

“I really feel like Salem State gives you a balance,” Jessinia shares. “You have coursework, and you have amazing professors, but they don’t absolutely overload you. They’re so understanding of real-life events and things that go on that could inhibit you from passing something in on a specific date. They open you up to so many things you never knew existed, that you never knew was even something.”

While Jessinia credits professors like Stephanie Young, Arthur Riss and Kevin Carey with being among some of her favorites, she can’t pick just one, sharing, “There are so many professors that I love, moments that I can recall that I was like, ‘I never thought I’d get to read something like this, I never thought I’d get to feel something like this from learning.’”

The support that the financial aid office provides is another reason Jessinia chose to come to Salem State and persist in gaining her college degree. When her financial status changed her sophomore year and she had to become independent, the financial aid office was there for her.

“The staff helped me so much with making sure that I received all the financial aid that I needed to go to Salem State to continue my studies,” Jessinia says. “They made sure that I had a place to live, made sure that I was eating. They always check up every semester making sure we have everything we need. They take care of their independent students to make sure that we can continue our education, and I appreciate Salem State so much for that.”

Coming into her senior year, Jessinia also received the Richard L. Elia Endowed Scholarship, given to English majors with a demonstrated capacity and special interest in literary study with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and minimum of 30 credits completed, a boost that has helped carry her through to graduation.

“I felt like maybe the universe was giving it to me because they know that I needed it and how much it would help me, and it’s given me a lot of help,” Jessinia says. “I balance school, work, transportation, rent, and the extra money helps everything. It meant so much.”

During her time at Salem State, Jessinia has gotten involved where she can, but spent most of her time focused on her full-time job as a case manager working with people who are mentally or physically disabled or struggling with substance use issues. She has also worked with Raw Arts in Lynn as a visiting artist, which offers a variety of free programming from painting to filmmaking, for kids in grades 4-12, and enjoyed seeing how kids in the program respond to writing groups.

After graduation, Jessinia sees herself continuing with case management, and while she didn’t picture herself going into social work, she feels her college career has helped prepare her for that future.

“Salem State has taught me how to find validation within myself, and how to take my own individual talents and interests, and turn them into gold,” she says. “Salem State has taught me that there isn’t one singular path to success, that there are options. Salem State has taught me that every single person has something unique and of-worth to offer. I don’t think I could’ve gotten a better education anywhere else.”

Alumni Relations
Back to top