Marisa cares deeply about underrepresented members of our community and translates that passion into work meant to improve their educational experience. Marisa has been a part of a high school and university student collective dedicated to addressing problems of racism and bias in the Capistrano Unified School District where the students either currently or formerly attended high school. The collective represents a hallmark of civic engagement by embodying the principle, "think globally but act locally." Marisa is a very talented individual, and her enthusiasm for working with others and striving for equality, equity, and diversity in education is inspiring.
When I was young, my dad always told me I could be anything; which confused me, because I thought: “of course I can!” When I grew older I realized the gravity of what he told me as I began to understand the significance of racism and patriarchy in my family’s history, my life today and the lives of people in my community. With this realization, I began to work on making change where I could. From fundraising for the education of Sierra Leonean and Ugandan girls and being the president of the feminist club in high school, to co-chairing the Women’s Advisory Group since my sophomore year at Chapman, working as the Latinx Student Assistant, leading in community service and scholarship in my presidency of Mortar Board Senior Honors Society, and engaging in anti-racist research with my professors to promote policy change in my public school district, my commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion has been persistent. Because of my commitment to social justice and my understanding that justice comes through action, I will pursue a career and future in policy-oriented, anti-racist research to uplift the voices of marginalized groups and create a more equitable tomorrow.