Marissa received her BASW from Bemidji State University in Minnesota, and her MSW from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. After graduation, Marissa worked for Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe as an ICWA social worker for three years, and an in-home family counselor for two years. She received her Phd from Arizona State University, and her thesis focused on placement stability for foster children. Marissa chose Arizona State because of her work experience and a high level of support and interest within the program related to Native Americans in social work. This area of interest also drew Marissa to teach with Humboldt State's Department of Social Work.
Since 2009, Marissa has had the experience of teaching each of the HSU Social Work program research courses, from BASW to MSW, both in person and in the DL program at some point in time.