Hailing from Virginia, Marisa drove across the country in her Honda Fit to serve as a (2018-2019) CivicSpark Water Fellow at the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA). Situated in the heart of the Inland Empire, Marisa and her co-fellow Brian Keener worked on the Disadvantaged Communities Involvement (DCI) Program. Part of the larger, statewide Integrated Regional Water Management program, the DCI program seeks to better engage underrepresented and structurally disempowered communities in water-related decision-making. The SAWPA DCI program utilized an ethnographically informed technique to gather Community Water Experiences with the goal of developing projects for technical assistance from these insights. Upon wrapping up her service term, Marisa moved to Sacramento and recently accepted a position as a Water Resources Engineer at the Department of Water Resources.
Marisa grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia, graduated from Cornell University in 2015 with a degree in environmental engineering, and worked for several years in the D.C. metro area in the fields of public policy, leadership development, and civil engineering. In her free time, Marisa enjoys spending time outside, playing with her “Nutty” cat, Chestnut, and contemplating how to improve the implementation of collaborative, adaptive governance programs.
Current Fellows can ask her about: ethnographic data collection, collaborative governance, program management, connecting top-down (centralized) and bottom-up (decentralized) initiatives, the intersection of homelessness and water, and the East Coast.